Mike Pence, former vice president, expressed deep concerns over Russia and Ukraine’s ongoing conflict. In a comprehensive town hall-style interview with NewsNation, Pence articulated his belief that if Ukraine fails to repel the Russian invasion effectively, it could potentially lead to a situation where Russia might challenge the boundaries of NATO member countries. This, in turn, could necessitate the involvement of U.S. military forces under the obligations of the NATO Treaty.
Elaborating on this, Pence emphasized that the Ukrainian military’s inability to counteract the Russian invasion might pave the way for the Russian army to cross into territories under the protection of NATO. Given the collective defense obligations of NATO member states, such an action would inevitably draw U.S. troops into the conflict. This is particularly concerning considering the geographical proximity of NATO members like Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania to Ukraine. All these countries share borders with Ukraine and are integral parts of the NATO alliance.
An attack on one NATO member nation is considered an attack on the entire alliance, according to Article 5 of the NATO treaty. This mandates that all member nations rally to defend the attacked country, taking whatever measures they deem necessary.
In the same discussion, Pence also addressed comments made by Former President Donald Trump, who had previously asserted that he could swiftly end the Russia-Ukraine conflict within a mere 24 hours. Pence expressed skepticism about this claim, suggesting that the only way such a rapid resolution could be achieved would be by capitulating to the demands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has consistently maintained that his military actions in Ukraine aim to demilitarize the country and support pro-Russian factions in the eastern regions. He also desires for Ukraine to remain neutral and not join the NATO alliance.
However, Pence offered a contrasting viewpoint, asserting that Putin’s actions indicate a broader ambition: to reestablish and expand the former Soviet sphere of influence across Eastern Europe.
In order to resolve the current conflict, Pence proposed a peace plan emphasizing Ukraine’s continuous arming. Pence believes it’s possible to contain and eventually repel the Russian forces by providing the Ukrainian military with the resources and weapons they need. He argues this strategy aligns with the interests of global peace and security and serves as a deterrent against further Russian aggression.
Reflecting on the past 18 months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Pence noted that most of the conflict has been localized to Ukraine’s eastern regions. Despite this, NATO countries, including the U.S., have been actively supplying Ukraine with various military equipment, from anti-tank weapons to fighter jets.
Pence also took the opportunity to critique the approach of the current U.S. administration under President Joe Biden. He expressed concerns over the sporadic nature of military aid provided to Ukraine, suggesting that it has been insufficient and inconsistent.
Furthermore, Pence highlighted the broader geopolitical implications of the conflict. He warned that even a partial victory for Russia in Ukraine could serve as a catalyst, encouraging China to pursue its territorial ambitions more aggressively, especially regarding Taiwan. In Pence’s view, strong and decisive support for Ukraine could act as a deterrent against China’s growing ambitions in the Asian Pacific region.
Concluding his thoughts, Pence suggested that the waning U.S. support for Ukraine, especially among certain Republican factions, is more a reflection of their lack of confidence in President Biden’s leadership capabilities than an endorsement of an isolationist or non-interventionist policy.