Skip to content

No, Sen. McConnell, Israel And Ukraine Are Not Intertwined

It's time to bring the Russia-Ukraine conflict to an end.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters after a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol October 24, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • President Biden has requested $106 billion in emergency funding, with a significant portion earmarked for Ukraine, Israel, and other international allies
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell supports substantial financial aid to Ukraine
  • The situations in Israel and Ukraine are not closely interconnected, and the U.S. must reconsider the funding priorities
  • The U.S. should prioritize full funding for Israel and work towards ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict rather than increasing funding for it

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the 81-year-old Republican Leader, is the GOP's strongest voice to send funds to Ukraine. 

According to the New York Times, McConnell said on Tuesday, "The threats facing America and our allies are serious, and they're intertwined. If we ignore that fact, we do so at our own peril."

He was referring to President Biden's emergency funding request to Congress after his Oval Office address. In the package, Biden asked for a mammoth release of $106 billion for national emergencies.

The breakdown was: 

  1. $61.4 billion for Ukraine's military and economic assistance, including government and soldier salaries and pensions.
  2. $14.3 billion for Israel's air and missile defenses, including the Iron Dome.
  3. $9 billion for humanitarian assistance in Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine (we do not know how the money would be divided across these three regions).
  4. $7.4 billion for Taiwan and Indo-Pacific allies, including the Philippines.
  5. Total: $92.1 billion

Oh, and yes, there was also money for the United States: $14 billion for border security, a significant part of which would go to supporting the 7 million illegal immigrants who are already here. 

By our calculation, 87% of Biden's national emergency spending request - the kind that is typically asked of Congress when a natural disaster hits America or if America is attacked - is for sovereign nations external to the United States. In the 69-page letter to Congress by the Office of Management Budget Director Shalanda D. Young, the word "Ukraine" appears 127 times. Some authorizations requested will allow the Pentagon to spend funds in Ukraine in 2026, indicating that America will be involved in Ukraine for at least three more years.    

Like his peer President Biden, who is also about the same age and grew up in the clubby halls of the United States Senate during the Cold War and its immediate aftermath, McConnell has been an ardent voice of support in sending money to Ukraine in a no-questions-asked aid package. So united are the two men that they disagree about nothing in the Biden emergency funding request to Congress. McConnell, to win more GOP votes to his side, has proposed even more border security money but has steadfastly supported Ukraine funding, saying in a weekend interview that it would help America rebuild our military-industrial base.

Biden and McConnell are two peas in a pod. They lack a vision for how to end the war. President Biden's 'As Long As It Takes' policy is a polite way of saying that he has no clarity. A recent I&I/TIPP Poll showed that the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with Biden's efforts to find a settlement.

McConnell's position is so flawed that we do not know where to start. But let's try.

Israel and Ukraine are not intertwinedPeriod. Israel has been America's ally since Israel's founding in 1947. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel has been America's ears, eyes, and hands in the oil-rich region. Israeli science and technology permeates American industry. The Jewish cultural experience in America is as old as America itself. During the first Gulf War, when President Bush 41 was organizing an Arab coalition to defeat Saddam Hussein, Israel wisely respected America's wishes and declined to respond to Saddam's scuds that landed near Tel Aviv suburbs.

When America was attacked on 9/11, Israel was America's partner in the war on terror that the U.S. unleashed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. When Hamas mercilessly killed and maimed Israelis on October 7 (Israel's 9/11 moment), it is natural that America should support Israel. 

Besides, we could be attacked here. Thanks to the Biden administration's disastrous border policies, hundreds of people on terror watch lists are already in the United States, some of whom may be Hamas sympathizers. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, is said to have a presence in Mexico, so fighters from there may already be living in America's cities.  

Speaking to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the threat potential for an attack against Americans has risen to a new level. The director did not say that the threat level from Russia's military to America has increased. 

So, how, Sen. McConnell, are the Israeli and Russian situations intertwined?  

America is primarily to blame for Ukraine's problems. America's involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war was one of choice. Worse, America helped trigger the conflict by forcing Ukraine to side with the West and sign security guarantees, a red line that Russia had warned since 2008 that it would not tolerate. In an August editorial, we cataloged how America has meddled in Ukraine since 2008. Oliver Stone's "Ukraine on Fire" documentary in 2014 shows how America played a crucial role in the overthrow of Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow sympathizer. 

If America had engaged in aggressive diplomacy with Russia, the war could have been avoided altogether. When Russia invaded, the Biden administration saw a golden opportunity to unite Europe and make it even more dependent upon America than before. With London, Berlin, Paris, and Brussels taking orders from Washington, America expanded NATO to include Finland, falsely pushing the notion that Scandinavian countries were somehow at risk from a Russian invasion. 

America has spent more than $120 billion to help Ukraine fight the Russians. While there has been some progress, Russia continues to occupy about 21% of Ukrainian territory, the energy and agriculturally rich regions of the east. With the Ukrainian counteroffensive failing, the war has created untold suffering for the brave Ukrainians, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands, displacing over 11 million citizens, and impoverishing much of Europe. 

We noted recently that only 60% of Ukrainians want to continue the fight, so why does McConnell wish to send more money there? Make many more sacrificial lambs of the fatigued Ukrainian soldiers? 

Enough is enough. Speaker Johnson is right. Let's fund Israel fully with a pay-for by not hiring additional IRS agents. 

And let's pull funding from Ukraine so that we can spare those poor souls their lives. They have fought bravely for 19 months. It is time to bring that war to an end, so America can focus on the Middle East and China.

Related Infographics