President Joe Biden, who is now sending tanks to Ukraine, warned in March that doing so would result in World War III.
Biden announced last week that the United States would send 31 Abrams M1 main battle tanks to Ukraine in what amounts to an escalation of American support for Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. Biden said:
With spring approaching, Ukrainian forces are working to defend the territory they hold and preparing for additional counter offenses to liberate their land. They need to be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term. They need to improve their ability to maneuver on open terrain, and they need an enduring capability to deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long term.
Biden’s decision to send the equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion of tanks contrasts with his decision in March not to send 28 Soviet MiG-29s fighter jets. He argued that sending fighter jets and tanks would escalate to a global conflict.
“The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III,” the president explained to a group of House Democrats in March.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) pointed out the apparent about-face in a tweet on Tuesday:
“Deploying offensive weapons against a nuclear power is a terrible idea,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wrote.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) asked rhetorically on Monday if the American escalation would prompt Russia to attack the United States.
He asked, “Given that (1) we’re giving Ukraine weapons to use against Russia, (2) Russia has an abundance of nukes, and (3) Russia is increasingly expressing hostility toward us, at what point should we worry that our arms deliveries might prompt Russia to attack us?”
He then questioned if Congress would need to authorize arming Ukraine and if the War Powers Act could be triggered through America’s arming of Ukraine.
He asked, “Should the answer to the first two questions determine whether a declaration of war or a congressional authorization for the use of military force is necessary for the U.S. to continue giving Ukraine weapons to use against an increasingly hostile Russia?”