Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson engaged in a fiery debate with Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner Wednesday night on whether the United States should send additional troops to Ukraine to defend the country from Russian aggression.
Turner was a signatory to a letter to President Joe Biden urging his administration to increase assistance to Ukraine, an ally of NATO. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia has left more than 90,000 troops on its border after recent training exercises.
“May I just ask really quick – so the lesson of 20 years in Afghanistan, and the tragic and cowardly and counterproductive exit from Afghanistan, is that we need more troops in Ukraine?” Carlson asked Turner, who cited Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal as a reason to be tough on Russia. “Why should the average American care about the territorial integrity of Ukraine? Sincerely.”
“Ukraine is a strategic import of the Black Sea, most of the reports that you’ve been seeing of Russia being aggressive with our ships, being aggressive with our planes, are in the area of the Black Sea, which is an important area for us and our NATO allies,” Turner answered. “We’ve not asked anybody to go to war with Russia or to send troops to Russia for Ukraine for the purposes of going to war with Russia, but it is incredibly important that they be providing lethal weapons, that they be providing intelligence -”
“But why is it incredibly important to Americans?” Carlson interjected. “I know from a Ukrainian perspective it’s incredibly important, but why is it important enough to risk American lives to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine, when by the way our own territorial integrity has been flagrantly violated by a million foreign nationals coming in over the past ten months.”
“Why would we take Ukraine’s side and not Russia’s side? Sincere question, if you’re looking for the American perspective, why?” Carlson continued. “Who’s got the energy reserves? Who’s the major player in world affairs? Who’s the potential counterbalance against China which is the actual threat? Why would we take Ukraine’s side?”
“Ukraine is a democracy. Russia is an authoritarian regime that is seeking to impose its will upon a validly elected democracy in Ukraine, and we’re on the side of democracy,” responded Turner. “That’s why people were chasing those planes in Afghanistan and wouldn’t be chasing Russian ones. We’re for democracy, we’re for liberty … Russia isn’t showing up on the border with ballot boxes, they’re showing up on the border with tanks.” (RELATED: Russia Cuts Ties With NATO, Suspends Mission, Closes Office)
Carlson proceeded to argue that Russia could be a useful partner in countering China: “Our interest is in counter-balancing the actual threat, which is China, and the only other country with any throw weight that might help us do that with Russia, and our continuation of the Cold War pushed Russia toward China, and that does not serve our interest in any way, does it?”
The Biden administration has not clarified what further steps it will take to aid Ukraine against Russia. The president has accused Russia of manipulating oil prices, thereby driving up prices at the pump for Americans. However, the administration did allow Russia to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, undermining the position of Ukraine and increasing European reliance on Russian gas.