This week, following his April trip to Poland, Lithuania and Ramstein Air Base in Germany, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., spoke on the Senate floor about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and outlined the three actions the United States must take to respond to the war and define America’s commitment to supporting NATO allies and preserving democracy.
Scott said the following:
At the end of April, I had the honor of traveling to Germany, Poland and Lithuania to meet with American service members and hear from high-level government officials on the state of democracy in Europe as Russia wages war against Ukraine. I returned to the United States with the reassurance that the commitment of our partners and allies to defending freedom and defeating tyranny has only grown stronger. I also returned with three important takeaways that I believe must be central in America’s response to Russia’s murderous invasion of Ukraine, and must define our commitment to supporting our NATO allies and preserving democracy.
First, America and our freedom-loving partners across the world must renew our commitment to “Never Again,” support the massive humanitarian efforts underway to aid Ukrainian refugees and those who are helping them, and forcefully condemn the genocide occurring at the direction of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.
In 2005, my wife, daughters and I spent two days visiting the Auschwitz memorial and museum in Poland. Anyone who has had the opportunity to walk the grounds of that place will tell you how overwhelming it is to confront the horrors that occurred there. It is out of these horribly dark places that the phrase, “Never Again,” was born.
Following the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, the world pledged to “Never Again” allow genocide to take the lives of innocent people. But today, Putin is choosing that path.
When I returned to Poland last month, I had the solemn honor of participating in a Holocaust memorial ceremony, alongside U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski in what was formerly the Warsaw Ghetto, and laid a wreath there to honor the Jewish people who fought the Nazi occupation.
I also visited a refugee center serving the thousands of Ukrainians forced from their homes and who have been welcomed with open arms by the Polish people.
During the ceremony, and as I walked through the refugee center, my thoughts constantly turned to the atrocious attacks on Mariupol. The leveling of that city and the mass graves found there and in Bucha cannot be ignored or dismissed as part of the war. These are crimes against humanity.
Children are dying, families are dying precisely because they are Ukrainian and won’t do what the dictator Putin wants them to. This is genocide.
World leaders promised “Never Again,” but they are failing.
I thank God for the incredible hospitality of the Polish people to welcome these Ukrainian families. I am grateful, too, for what other European countries are doing to help them.
We must do everything in our power, using our voices, actions and resources, to support these humanitarian missions and forcefully condemn Putin’s genocide in Ukraine.
Second, we must continue to show full support to Ukraine and do everything in our power to help it win this war. That includes approving delivery of the MiG-29 fighter jets that President Zelenskyy has been requesting for months. President Biden’s blockade of these aircraft is an act of weakness and makes no sense.
If we want to prevent putting American men and women on the battlefield, we need to give Ukraine every military and intelligence resource it needs to fight, and win this war. Most of our NATO allies agree with this, but Joe Biden insists on standing in the way and is actively helping Putin maintain dominance in the skies.
Vladimir Putin is a murderous thug. His unjust war intentionally targets civilians and has taken thousands of innocent lives. This is genocide. The Ukrainians have shown they are willing and able to fight this war themselves and can defeat Putin – we need to let them do it.
When the war is over, accountability must be demanded and secured. Putin and his thugs in Russia and Belarus must be tried for their crimes in a war tribunal. They should never see another day of freedom as long as they live.
Third, and finally, we must recognize the importance of energy and industrial independence from tyrannical and genocidal regimes like Russia and Communist China.
I have long advocated for American businesses to decouple their operations from Communist China. In March, I appealed directly to American business leaders and urged them in an open letter to begin the process of cutting ties with Communist China, end our dependence on its supply chain, and realign American business with U.S. values. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine shows exactly why decoupling from evil regimes is so important–and Europe now understands this better than anyone else.
That’s why we should applaud businesses that have taken steps to end their relationships with these regimes and applaud nations like Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, which have taken aggressive action to end their reliance on Russian energy. Lithuania has also boldly stood up to Communist China and supported Taiwan. Their bravery is exemplary and deserves our support. These nations are the exception to the rule in Europe, but their leadership in forming partnerships with democratic neighbors, like Norway, has proven critical to freeing them from the Kremlin’s threats of withholding resources.
To protect democracy and sovereignty from the influence of evil leaders like Putin and Xi, we must commit to preferring to do business with fellow democratic governments as much as possible. That’s why I’ve been demanding that Biden take immediate steps to put America back on the path to energy independence, stop his appeasement policies with the world’s dictators and end all trade talks with Venezuela and other evil regimes.
I recently secured a commitment from Energy Secretary Granholm that United States would not import any oil from Venezuela or Iran. She said so in an open and public hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. President Biden needs to publicly reaffirm that commitment.
Our attitude should always be America first. But if it can’t be made in America, it must be made by a democratic partner or at the very least one who seeks mutual benefit with us instead of our downfall.
Decoupling from Russia and Communist China and other tyrannical regimes will not be easy for many businesses or governments, America included. This move won’t occur overnight, but it is absolutely necessary as these despots advance their plans for world domination and continue to carry out assaults on sovereignty and democracy in Europe and Asia, as well as support dictators in Latin America like Maduro, Ortega and the Castro/Díaz-Canel regime.
If America and our freedom-loving partners are going to truly stand for democracy, we cannot do so while lining the pockets of those who seek to actively destroy liberty and independence wherever it exists.
Whether we like it or not, we need to recognize the evil in our world. It exists in the governments of Communist China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Russia. They want a different world, one where the enemies of democracy, human rights, and sovereign nations issue the orders and the United States and our allies do what we are told. They will bully and crush anyone in their way if they are allowed. I for one, and I know I am not alone, will not accept this.
Out of this terrible conflict, America has an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the security and independence of democratic nations, strengthen our energy and industrial independence and partnerships with fellow democracies, and stop genocide, renewing the promise of “Never Again.”
We cannot allow this moment to pass without creating this needed change. The survival of democracy and the United States depends on it.
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