Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Newsmax on Wednesday that Ukraine remains a strategically important part of the United States' long-term plans and interests.
When asked by "The Chris Salcedo Show" why the non-NATO country is vital to the U.S., Shaffer responded: "This is of interest to the United States because the Ukrainians do hold an important place in global security and global economy: they produce a great deal of wheat, of resources that are consumed, they also are a growing producer of oil and gas."
Shaffer continued, "They were eventually going to equal or eclipse Russia's production. So this is a big deal.
"The idea that Russia," the retired lieutenant colonel continues, "can kind of waltz into another country and take it over or take over their areas, which are of interest economically, is not something we should stand for."
According to professor John Mearsheimer, an international relations scholar, Russian President Vladimir Putin's primary goal in the Russia-Ukraine war is to break up the neighboring country, so that it functions as a bulwark against NATO expansion.
Speaking to the CRUX news platform, Mearsheimer said, "Putin thinks what is going on in Ukraine, with regard to Ukraine's moving toward joining NATO, moving toward joining the [European Union], and cozying up with the West, is just unacceptable from a Russian security point of view.
"And [Putin] is determined to either turn Ukraine into a neutral state and if he can't do that, turn it into a dysfunctional rump state. And if you look at what is happening now, he is, in effect, turning it into a dysfunctional rump state," added Mearsheimer.
The professor added that ever since NATO's call for Ukraine to join the organization in 2008, the Russians viewed that as a "bright red line" which should not be crossed.
Still, Shaffer said America needs to keep serving Ukraine's economic needs. The retired Army colonel also lamented Russia being aligned to communist China.
"It is in our interest" to aid Ukraine, said Shaffer, "because Russia is more aligned with China ... and what the Chinese are trying to accomplish than they are with the EU, which is our allies or more importantly, NATO, which opposes aggression."
Shaffer then, speaking vaguely, said that the conflict in Ukraine could become "focused on NATO, so this may not be a popular position, but I think it's one that the American people need to understand."
On Wednesday, during a joint press conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would send $45 billion in aid to the country.
Before promptly exiting the stage, Biden added that Ukraine is "not looking to go to war with Russia and not looking for a third World War; and I think it can all be avoided by making sure that Ukraine is able to succeed in the battlefield."
During his part of the Newsmax discussion, Mearsheimer added, that while the notion of Russia deploying nuclear weapons in Ukraine is "not likely," it is "possible."
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