Vladimir Putin points his propaganda towards the West. Photo credit: Illustration by WhoWhatWhy from Jae Rue / Pixabay, President of Russia / Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0 DEED), and DmitriyGuryanov / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

Nearly a quarter of Americans now believe that the US should not live up to its NATO obligation to supply aid to alliance members attacked by Russia.

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In recent years, an increasing number of Republican officeholders, including Donald Trump, have begun echoing Vladimir Putin’s talking points on issues ranging from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the need to assist the latter in this conflict, and support for NATO. 

In Trump’s case, this makes a lot of sense. After all, Russia did all it could to get him elected in 2016. While the former president likes to claim that there was no proven collusion, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Putin’s regime has tried to get him into the White House, as several investigations have found.

Just this week, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) told right-wing agitator and soon-to-be prisoner Steve Bannon that Russia has no interest in taking over Ukraine. 

“[Putin] doesn’t want Ukraine, he doesn’t want Europe,” said noted international affairs specialist former football coach Tuberville. “He’s got enough land of his own. He just wants to make sure that he does not have United States weapons in Ukraine pointing at Moscow.”

Tuberville then went on to describe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a “dictator” who was not constitutionally elected. 

Those notions were dispelled by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who essentially said Tuberville does not know what he is talking about. 

“Sen. Tuberville’s analysis really misses what Putin is all about,” Graham told Face the Nation on Sunday.

While Graham claimed that Tuberville is an “outlier,” that is not what it looks like. 

Several right-wing Republicans have sounded more like Russians than US lawmakers when it comes to the issue of providing weapons to Ukraine, which has significantly delayed military aid to the embattled country.

And that viewpoint has had an effect on how Americans feel about Russia’s aggression and a potential US response to a degree that would have been unfathomable when Ronald Reagan, their pre-Trump hero, was president.

According to a new poll, nearly a quarter of US voters said the United States “should not promise military help” if a NATO country like Great Britain, France, Germany, or Poland were attacked. 

Somewhat surprisingly, that number is virtually identical among Republicans (25 percent) and independents (26 percent), while it is a bit lower for Democrats (14 percent).

Mind you, the US is bound to provide assistance to its NATO partners.

According to Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty, an attack on one member country is considered to be an attack on all. 

Experts believe it is this clause that has prevented Russia from trying to invade NATO countries in eastern Europe, particularly small ones like the Baltic nations.

While the United States is by far the most powerful NATO member and spends the most on defense, it is also the only country that has ever invoked Article 5. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the US asked other NATO members to assist in its invasion of Afghanistan.


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