After World War II, Americans across the political spectrum agreed on one key principle: that maintaining American leadership on the world stage was necessary to preserve the rules-based liberal international order and prevent this brutality. who had defined 19.Th And 20Th Centuries

While U.S. foreign policy has not always embodied this ideal — especially under former presidents who took a more isolationist approach — it is still the standard to which we should strive, now more than ever. Far more.

Today’s axis of evil—Russia, China, and Iran—is an existential threat to world peace, security, and freedom. These oppressive and totalitarian rulers silence free speech, punish opposition and speak out against the values ​​on which America was founded.

Unfortunately, like most other US affairs today, America’s role in leading the defense against global sovereignty has been politicized — even at this critical time, when Russia commits war crimes against a sovereign nation. is committing

Interestingly, the far right and progressives have come together under the banner of rejecting American international leadership. This small but increasingly vocal minority is calling for the US to step aside and essentially allow Vladimir Putin to secede from Ukraine along with everything else.

A recent opinion piece by Jordan Brunauentitled, “Vote for peace, not perpetual war on Election Day.“, argues that the West should give in to Russia’s demands under the guise of making “peace” with the murderous dictator Putin, because war is too expensive, unpredictable and dangerous.

By doing so, the US would basically justify everything Putin has done up to this point: killing innocent civilians, bludgeoning the international community with threats of nuclear war, using energy as a weapon, and most of all An attempt to violently subjugate a sovereign nation.

Moreover, it would send a clear message to other autocrats — especially those in Beijing and Tehran — that the U.S. will bow to the will of foreign powers that go to such horrific lengths, as in Taiwan. It will suppress sovereign states and nations around the world. , in danger.

Moreover, we can be sure that the buck will not stop with Ukraine for Putin. This is one battle in his grand struggle to restore Russia to Soviet-era hegemony, and if we hand him that victory, there is no telling what he will do next.

The author essentially makes the case for appeasement, claiming that Americans “don’t care deeply about what flag is flying in Donbas” and that the fate of eastern Ukraine is “a mountain to die on.” do not have.”

The piece also argues that JD Vance — the right-wing Republican in Ohio’s Senate race — is the type of leader voters should elect if they want “peace” in Ukraine. It’s worth noting that when asked about the battle, Vance recently said: “I don’t really care what happens in Ukraine, one way or the other.”

While Vance — and others like him — probably don’t care about Ukraine, Americans do a lot.

Americans overwhelmingly agree that “the United States should support democratic countries when they are attacked by undemocratic countries” (70%) per a recent Ipsos poll.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters (73%) believe the United States should continue to support Ukraine despite Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons. And by a factor of more than 2-to-1 (69% to 31%), Americans would be more likely to support a candidate in the midterms who promises to continue military aid to Ukraine.

Americans clearly do not see the war in Ukraine as a distant European conflict that does not concern us. People recognize that it is not just Ukraine that is being attacked, but the ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights.

As a pollster for more than 40 years, it’s hard to see such broad-based support for anything in today’s political climate — let alone a war in Europe that already has significant economic consequences. There have been consequences, and possible nuclear consequences – rare and cannot be ignored. .

An important note: This does not mean that America should act recklessly. Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, and there’s no telling what Putin might do if he felt himself in it. We should take their threats seriously, but not panic before them.

It is important to draw this fine line. In addition to avoiding overzealous rhetoric and action, the Biden administration should prioritize keeping NATO as united as possible – a challenging task, given the very real possibility that Europe will survive the winter without Russian energy. could be forced to stay – while making it clear that any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a crushing response.

For his part, President Biden has so far largely demonstrated the kind of leadership this crisis calls for. It has admirably provided billions of dollars in aid – humanitarian, economic and military – and rallied the West to the cause of Ukraine, refrained from harming US troops, and despite the escalating energy crisis. Europe is largely united against Russia.

Right now, the world finds itself at one of the most dangerous moments since World War II – and perhaps in history, given the power of today’s weapons. A nuclear-armed dictator is threatening catastrophic violence if he is unable to subdue a sovereign state. Other autocrats are watching closely, gauging the reaction of the free world, wondering if nuclear blackmail might succeed in their future conquests.

Of course, there are risks in standing up to dictators, especially when nuclear weapons are involved. But we must remember what Ronald Reagan said nearly 58 years ago today: “The great danger lies in complacency.”

Douglas Schoen is a longtime Democratic political consultant.