The House on Thursday evening passed a nonbinding resolution reaffirming its "unequivocal support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an alliance founded on democratic principles," and calling on President Biden "to use the voice and vote of the United States to establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO headquarters," to underscore the alliance's "support for shared democratic values and committed to enhancing NATO's capacity to strengthen democratic institutions within NATO member, partner, and aspirant countries."
The resolution passed 362 to 63, with all 63 no votes coming from Republicans, as Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) noted on Twitter.
Weakening or destroying NATO is believed to be one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's top goals, and Pascrell called the vote evidence the GOP "truly is Putin's Party." Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a former U.S. Army commander in Europe, softened that allegation, suggesting that "perhaps this divisiveness in the U.S. government remains one of Putin's strategic goals that hasn't yet been defeated."
William Saletan, writing at The Bulwark, argues that even if the end result of GOP efforts to block U.S. and NATO actions against Russia's Ukraine invasion are "a gift to Vladimir Putin," the stated motives are a little more complicated. Since Russia attacked Ukraine, 21 Republicans "have opposed, or at least sought to constrain, aid to Ukraine or sanctions on Russia," having "swallowed a cocktail of isolationism, defeatism, partisan paranoia, and Russian disinformation," he writes, and he summarized what he sees as "the main pillars of their reasoning" on Twitter.
Why did so many House Republicans vote against the NATO resolution?
Here's a dismaying report on what some of them have argued:
1) NATO provoked Putin's invasion
2) America has no responsibilities in the world
3) Russia is no worse than Canada or the US. https://t.co/h7keSqfA9r
— Will Saletan (@saletan) April 6, 2022
"The other side of the equation is the near-unanimity of support among Democrats, even from very progressive members, for standing up to Russia," Saletan observes. "Leftist Democrats generally oppose armed intervention, yet nearly all of them voted for sanctions against Russia and military aid for Ukraine," even "the Squad," simply "because they recognize the war as a showdown between right and wrong."
The 21 Republicans who evidently disagree make up "a group three times the size of 'the Squad,' which Republicans claim is in control of every aspect of Democratic policy," Saletan writes. "Imagine how much power those 21 Republicans would wield in a GOP-controlled House," not to mention the 63 who voted against the NATO resolution.