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Joel Rubin
Democratic Congressional Candidate (MD-6), Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Obama Administration)

From Israel to Ukraine, Congress Must Back Allies

American national security policies that serve our nation’s interests are being relentlessly challenged by increasingly strident voices here at home. To succeed, we must ignore these voices.

Specifically, the arguments of a growing isolationist movement on the far right are being echoed by those on the far left. They are two sides of the same coin, calling for a reduced American role in the world in the name of American interests. Nothing could be further from the truth. The result of their calls is having an immediate impact in Congress, with military aid to our ally Ukraine being blocked while the United States is being called upon to abandon and isolate our Israeli ally. 

If we were to listen to these voices, our interests would instead be undercut.

It’s at moments like these, when there’s significant domestic political turmoil on foreign policy, that America must reinforce our global leadership. This means that rather than turning our back on the world, we must double down on the core values that have provided our country with unparalleled prosperity and security since the end of World War Two.

These values include a rock-solid commitment to the survival of our allies; to advancing democracy and human rights; and to protecting the American homeland from external attack.

These values shouldn’t be tossed aside lightly, as the extremists in our politics want to do. For if this were to happen, the United States would be weaker and the world less safe. Russia and Hamas would be grateful. But not the United States.

How do we know this? Just take a look at the crises of the past two years. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine in January 2022, our NATO allies begged us to intervene to save them from the assault. We did, and Ukraine thankfully continues to exist as an independent country, providing a bulwark of security for Europe. But now, American funding for Ukraine’s defense is running out and our allies fear for their lives. 

If Russia were to prevail in Ukraine, who would be next? Europe, for starters, and our nation’s physical and economic security would be rocked.

The same goes for Israel. When Hamas attacked it on October 7th, all of our allies were watching to see if American security guarantees were real. Our nation rose to the occasion that day and gave the Israeli people the confidence that they were not alone. Our allies breathed a sigh of relief. 

Now, we must work with Israel to help it chart a post-Hamas future for the Palestinians, something we could never do if we were to shun Israel. Alliances are two way streets.

If one thing is clear from the past two years of global conflict, it’s that America is needed now more than ever. But instead of having a Congress that backs up that principle, we have a dysfunctional Congress that seeks headlines instead of solutions, listening to the loudest voices, but not necessarily the wisest. The result is that we have a Congress that, rather than standing up for American values and allies, is undercutting them.

This is not what the American people either want or deserve. We Americans need a Congress that secures the peace; one that stands up for our allies and for our national values. This is called standing up for the United States, our security, and our interests. 

It’s therefore past time for Congress to step up to the plate and, for starters, to pass the national security supplemental funding bill that it’s been sitting on. Doing so will provide critical security funding for our allies in Ukraine and Israel, will restore global confidence in our leadership, and will show the American people that security abroad means security at home.

But right now, because of political paralysis in this Congress due to pressure from the extremes, that leadership is an open question. We must make sure that it is not.

About the Author
Joel Rubin is a Democratic Candidate for Congress in Maryland's 6th District. National Security Expert, Democratic Strategist, and Jewish Political Leader. The President of Washington Strategy Group and a Partner at Democracy Partners, he is a former Obama Administration Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, was the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, served as the Jewish Outreach Director for 2020 Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, and was a Foreign Policy Volunteer for the Biden-Harris Campaign.