Pence urged to continue supporting Ukraine
Former Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday in Des Moines that America must continue to support Ukraine despite growing opposition from some members of the Republican Party.
“I must tell you that the war in Ukraine is not a territorial dispute. This is a Russian invasion,” Pence said. “And I believe the United States of America should continue to demand that of the free world as well.”
About 1 in 5 GOP senators and 1 in 4 GOP representatives voted against aid to Ukraine, according to the Congressional vote on aid packages to Ukraine.
Pence participated in a forum in Des Moines at the Bastion Institute, a new foreign policy think tank. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also spoke on Saturday, with the event moderated by Sen. Joni Ernst and opened by Rep. Zach Nunn.
Throughout the discussion, Ernst and Pence stressed how important it is for America to be a world leader and how the Biden administration is showing signs of weakness towards its adversaries.
Pence said the US can support democracy abroad as well as deal with issues at home.
“I know some people are saying we can’t make sure we get our economy up and running again, secure our borders, take care of things here at home,” Pence said. “But this is a rather narrow view of the greatest nation on Earth. We could do both. We could rebuild this country. Protect this country. Prosper in this country.”
Concerns about spending, trading
Spectator Rich Evenson of Indianola said he shares some Republicans’ skepticism about big spending in Ukraine.
“Well, I’m not a big fan of spending as much money as we do in Ukraine,” Evenson said. “I think there should be some accountability and I think Europe should take the lead because that’s their backyard.”
Other forum attendees included House Majority Leader Matt Windshield, Rep. Eddie Andrews, and David Oman, former government chief of staff. Bob Ray and Terry Branstad.
Oman has expressed concerns about trade under a Democratic administration. “We have to show that we are willing to do what we need to do to make sure our security is maintained and that we are allowed to have a good trade relationship,” Oman said. “[The Biden administration] is going to jeopardize all of this if the Chinese continue the sustainable approach they are taking in the Asia-Pacific world.
Former President Donald Trump in Iowa last week referred to his administration’s accomplishments, including his imposition of duties on Chinese imports. Pence on Saturday also touted the trade achievements of the Trump-Pence administration, pointing out that impossible priorities for the Trump administration, such as a trade deal with the United Kingdom, were possible non-priorities for the Biden administration, hurting the American people. .
Hogan pointed to the impact of global engagement at the state level.
“You know, there are foreign policy decisions that are made in Washington by our federal leaders, but every governor in America is deeply involved and affected by the decisions that are made on foreign policy,” Hogan said. “So we’re actually doing those things on the front lines in our states that are impacting our economy and investing in a number of jobs in our state.”
Hogan also stressed the importance of trade in foreign policy and said that America needs to completely shift its trade from adversaries like China to allies including Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Japan.
Ernst expresses concern about land acquisition by foreign authorities
Ernst highlighted concerns about China’s land ownership, a topic that is gaining momentum in Washington and Des Moines.
Both Hogan and Pence agreed with Ernst that foreign ownership of vast tracts of land was too far away for other nations in America. Many Iowa legislators, both at the state and national levels, have sponsored or introduced bills to prohibit foreign, especially Chinese, ownership.
Ernst cited the Chinese company’s purchase of real estate near the North Dakota air base to highlight the need for increased security.
Pence also focused not only on Russia and China, but also on the Middle East. He said that the strategy used during the Cold War with the Soviet Union should be the same as with Iran.
“Just like Ronald Reagan during the Soviet Union and 40 years ago this month called the Soviet Union an evil empire,” Pence said. “We must make sure that this message continues to reach the Iranian people, that we are with you in your call in your hope for democracy, and we are ready as soon as you drop these tyrants and mullahs in Tehran. We are ready to support you and build a free, democratic and non-nuclear Iran.”
However, Pence said that China was America’s biggest threat, and that peace by force, as in the Reagan era, was the best strategy.
This article first appeared on the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner on the State News Network.
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