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Opinion

Putin’s War Should Prompt a Reassessment of Our Domestic Politics 

This article was prepared or written by John Mattox in their personal capacity as an independent supporter or member of The SAM Party. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The SAM Party or Serve America Movement

Putin’s unprovoked and lawless invasion of Ukraine presents a critical moment for collective introspection.

With this crisis raging, Americans should be concerned about their elected leaders’ reactions. With countless examples as precedent, many will fear that their officials – chosen to promote the common welfare and provide for the common defense – will yet again elevate their party’s over-informed and unified policy.

That’s a problem because, overnight, an autocrat’s delusional and reckless quest for a 21st-century Russian empire has overturned the geopolitical order. With his czarist blitzkrieg, Putin obliterated the paradigm under which western liberal democracies had operated over the past three decades. The old playbook is out; the United States and its allies must quickly write a new one.

And bear in mind, this moment holds more than Ukraine in the balance. Another authoritarian regime, China, seethes at Taiwan’s of sovereignty. But unlike Ukraine, the ties between the United States and Taiwan are more direct, with tacit agreement that the United States would come to Taiwan’s aid if invaded. China thus will be sizing up the United States today to make its strategic calculations tomorrow.

With this reality set before us, only a class of honorable lawmakers and politicians committed to the best outcomes–whatever they are–will do. Partisan hacks and those shackled by entrenched party ideology have no place in this historical hinge. 

We need lawmakers and leaders whose undeviating objective is to protect the United States, our interests, and those of our allies. We need leaders who will engage every ounce of their education, experience, reason, and morals and who, with a dose of humility, relentlessly seek resolution to the current conflict and a long-term, freedom-building strategy for the future.

We don’t need a backward-looking blame game and grandstanding politicians thinking only of their next reelection bid. We need thought leaders and deep thinkers.

We must have representatives, senators, a president, and a cabinet–together with their staff and advisors–who roll up their sleeves and do the hard, anxiety-inducing work of policymaking. They must answer the questions without a ready answer: How does the United States (and NATO) respond to Russia now? Are sanctions enough? Do they go far enough? Should the United States intervene at all militarily—bearing in mind that it just ended the longest and possibly costliest military conflict in its 246 years? How is Putin liable to respond when he is out of options? What is the probability of nuclear conflict? 

We need our legislators to interface with the professional intelligence and military communities as partners to collect and process information. More to the point, we need legislators who ask and plead for more briefings so that they can become fully informed before spouting off inane impracticalities. We don’t need our elected officials shirking their critical responsibilities to hold another fundraiser or gladhand another donor.

At this moment, like many others, we need committed policymakers; not vote-getting, base-pleasing politicians. We don’t need soundbites and unproductive criticism; we need a unified pro-democracy message from all of our elected officials. 

Despite the need, we can no longer trust the partisan duopoly, strangling our country’s political system, to deliver the real problem solving necessary for this crisis and the greater ones that will inevitably come. Indeed, how can we expect the two-party system whose demonstrated interest is nothing less than winning power, for power’s sake?

SAM offers an alternative. Committed to real problem-solving, substantive policymaking, and collaboration with Americans of every political ilk, SAM seeks to free politicians, lawmakers, and voters from the chains of hyper-partisanship. The 21st century, whether domestically or internationally, cannot afford ideologues; it demands true leaders dedicated to solving the country and world’s most difficult and consequential troubles. 

We believe that most Americans agree. To you we say, join us! Let’s make a difference in your state, our United States, and the world.

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