Send for Agent BoJo! Boris Johnson dispatched to Texas to shore up Republican support for Ukraine – POLITICO

GettyImages 1461128424 scaled.jpg
GettyImages 1461128424 scaled.jpg

DALLAS — Britain may need fallen out of affection with Boris Johnson. However Ukraine’s allies within the U.S. reckon the charismatic ex-prime minister continues to be the proper messenger to shore up help for the struggle in wavering Republican heartlands.

Professional-Ukraine assume tankers on Monday introduced Johnson to a personal lunch in Dallas, Texas, to satisfy two dozen of the state’s main conservative figures, together with politicians, donors and captains of business.

The message Johnson was there to ship was easy: America should keep the course in Ukraine.

“I simply urge you all to keep it up,” Johnson advised these seated within the grand, wood-panelled eating room in downtown Dallas, the place POLITICO was additionally in attendance. “It’s going to repay massively in the long term.”

The previous U.Ok. prime minister flew to Texas as a rising variety of conservative lawmakers, candidates and activists have began to query the dimensions of the U.S. help bundle for Ukraine because it makes an attempt to struggle again in opposition to the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022.

Political tensions over the struggle are anticipated to rise additional because the 2024 U.S. election attracts nearer.

The 2 most high-profile potential candidates for the Republican nomination — former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — have each voiced skepticism about America’s unwavering help for Ukraine. Trump has pledged to chop a “deal” to “finish that struggle in someday,” whereas DeSantis dismissed it as a “territorial dispute” which doesn’t contain America’s “very important nationwide pursuits — although later partially backtracked.

However Johnson advised Texan Republicans on Monday: “You might be backing the proper horse. Ukraine goes to win. They will defeat Putin.”

The lunch was not the primary time Johnson has lobbied U.S. lawmakers on Ukraine’s behalf. He visited Washington in January, the place he publicly urged the U.S. administration to present Ukraine fighter jets, and privately met Republican lawmakers on the identical journey.

Following that go to, the Middle for European Coverage Evaluation (CEPA) — a bipartisan, Ukraine-supporting assume tank based mostly in Washington — determined to enlist Johnson’s help for a broader mission.

The group wished him to take his energetic, pro-conservative case for the struggle out of metropolitan D.C. and deep into Republican territory.

“We wished to make that case exterior of Washington — the place all of us reside in a bubble — and to actually take it to the heartland, to locations like Texas, to get extra help for Ukraine, and make the case to people who find themselves skeptical about that help,” mentioned Alina Polyakova, CEPA’s chief govt.

“In some ways Dallas and Texas are the middle of the Republican debate,” she added. 

Texas will likely be a key battleground within the 2024 Republican presidential major. Trump held his first presidential rally within the Lone Star State in March, whereas DeSantis and former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley have additionally been courting votes in Texas. 

Johnson is “very a lot seen because the architect of the Western coverage” on Ukraine, Polyakova mentioned, including that “as a result of Trump had good issues to say about him when he was the president,” it additionally provides Johnson “lots of credibility as effectively with the bottom of the Republican Occasion.” 

In addition to the personal lunch with Republicans in Dallas on Monday, Johnson additionally met with former U.S. President George W. Bush, who lives within the metropolis together with his spouse Laura. Johnson is because of meet Texas Governor Greg Abbott in Austin on Tuesday.

Unusually, the previous U.Ok. prime minister, who raked in nearly £5 million from talking charges within the first six months after leaving workplace, was not paid for Monday’s lunchtime talking engagement. Nevertheless, he did organize the Dallas journey as a stopover en path to the SCALE International Summit in Las Vegas, a fintech convention the place he will likely be paid an anticipated six-figure sum for a scheduled speech. 

Man on a mission

Johnson has stored Ukraine on the high of his public agenda since being compelled to resign as PM final July over a string of non-public scandals, together with his attendance at COVID-19 lockdown-busting events at his Downing Avenue dwelling and workplace.

In energy, Johnson had solid a robust private bond with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and performed a number one position in early Western efforts to arm Ukraine. His allies even mooted the concept of him turning into a proper envoy to Ukraine following his abrupt Downing Avenue exit, although the concept by no means got here to fruition.

That hasn’t stopped Johnson persevering with his private lobbying push, nevertheless. He visited the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in January 2023 — regardless of now not being a frontline politician — and has continued to talk in help on a number of events.

On the Dallas lunch on Monday, Johnson insisted Western backing for Ukraine needn’t be indefinite, telling these current he had “each hope that the Ukrainians will have the ability to ship a really substantial counterpunch this summer time,” and that he believed there was “a prospect of an entire Russian army collapse.”

And addressing considerations in Republican quarters that the U.S. must be focusing its consideration on China slightly than on a land struggle in Japanese Europe, Johnson mentioned victory for Putin could be “horrible in its ramifications for south-east Asia, for the South China Sea, for all of the areas of potential battle between the nice powers within the many years to come back.”

Against this, he added, Western solidarity on Ukraine had already despatched a transparent message to China.

“From Beijing’s viewpoint, they’re taking a look at this and so they’re considering this has massively elevated the strategic ambiguity and the danger surrounding a enterprise in opposition to Taiwan,” Johnson mentioned.

One businessman current pressed Johnson on corruption in Ukraine, which he mentioned he had heard was “actually dangerous once more.”

However the former prime minister insisted the $50 billion spending bundle agreed by President Biden would show “worth for cash.” The U.S. is getting a “enormous, enormous increase for international safety for a comparatively small outlay,” he mentioned.     

And Johnson being Johnson, he couldn’t resist a swipe at his previous rival Emmanuel Macron, whom he has reportedly referred to in personal as “Putin’s lickspittle.”

“I feel it was my French buddy and colleague Emmanuel Macron who mentioned ‘Putin should not be humiliated,’” Johnson advised the lunch social gathering, adopting a fake French accent to softly mock the president.

“I feel it takes an terrible lot to humiliate Vladimir Putin, frankly,” Johnson went on. “I don’t assume it’s our job to fret about Vladimir Putin’s ego, or his political prospects, or developments in his profession.”

Whether or not Johnson retains the populist credentials to win over essentially the most ardent Trump supporters Stateside stays to be seen, nevertheless.

In an interview with Nigel Farage on GB Information final month, Trump mentioned that whereas Johnson was a “great man” and “a buddy of mine,” he had been upset by his time in workplace.

Johnson had gone “a bit on the liberal aspect,” Trump famous sadly. “In all probability in a damaging approach.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



1800x1200 senior man receiving eye exam other.jpg

Geographic Atrophy: An Expert’s Perspective

the last drive in with joe bob briggs season 4 featured.jpg

Joe Bob Briggs’ 3rd Annual Drive-In Jamboree to be held in Las Vegas