I don’t know if Ukraine will win the war with Russia. That wasn’t even a possibility I considered at its commencement. Today I have to and so should the administration.
If it wins it will still have much of its infrastructure and housing stock destroyed. I’m getting way ahead of myself here but I don’t see Russia paying for the needed rebuilding. What will be needed is a 21st century version of the Marshall Plan. Perhaps a bit of a history lesson is needed here.
The Marshall Plan is named after General George Marshall (a Republican) who largely was responsible for getting it funded and implemented under then-President Harry Truman (a Democrat). It rebuilt much of the war damaged Europe (primarily Germany) in the wake of World War II. My regular readers know I am a disciple of Sun Tzu who taught us that most battles are won before they are fought. Hence, my theory that the (Truman-Marshall led) West won the Cold War via the Marshall Plan. Over time the Iron Curtain was penetrated sufficiently for the masses to see that Western Europe was much better off being rebuilt than Eastern Europe was as a collection of largely exploited Soviet satellite states.
While Washington wasn’t nearly as partisan in the 1940s as it is today, a bipartisan approach was still needed on a project this massive and expensive. It was not that many years later that the Interstate Highway System (another huge expenditure) was kicked off under the bipartisan effort led by then-President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, and Democratic Tennessee Senator Al Gore, Sr.
If we rebuild Ukraine we can all but assure it will remain a buffer against Russia if not a flat out ally. Much like Turkey, it occupies a unique strategic geography. Especially the youth of Ukraine identify much more with American and Western European ways than with those of an authoritarian Russia!
I have total confidence in Joe Biden’s leadership on this issue. The question is who can he tap as a much needed Republican partner. The only person I can see is Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney. While I disagree with Romney on many policy issues I do not question his patriotism.
The reality is that a 21st century Marshall Plan will be a tough sell in a fiscally tight fisted Congress. Bi-partisanship is a must! Neither party will be able to pass it without some people crossing the aisle. Romney has long been suspicious of Russia. I have to admit that he was more correct about the treat of Russia during the 2012 campaign than many of us (including me) gave him credit for.
Romney certainly has the respect of most congressional Democrats and I hope, that having been their 2012 standard bearer, many Republicans.
Romney is up for reelection in 2024 and will be 77 by that Election Day. There is a good chance he wouldn’t run for a second term which if he served it to completion would make him 83. He is very much a wealthy, accomplished and family man. Does he really want to work the schedule of a Senator into his 80s? I can’t see a Democrat winning a Senate seat in Utah in the near future so his replacement will not change the balance of power in that chamber. If he were to leave early his immediate replacement (named by Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox) would certainly be another Republican.
Today’s Republican party is such a mess that my only question is: Does Romney have enough clout within it to pull off his part of the “bargain”? Looking at it from the Democratic side: If not Romney then who?
There is a plethora of ways the war in Ukraine could end. With a call to Mitt Romney isn’t a bad one.
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