Ro Khanna against embroiling US military in needless conflict

Indian American lawmaker says he’s opposed to misguided wars, but not opposed to just wars like the one to defeat ISIS

Indian American lawmaker Ro Khanna has joined fellow Democratic Bay Area House member Barbara Lee in leading a movement to not embroil the US military in needless conflict over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both Khanna and Lee, according to San Francisco Chronicle, say they intend to keep President Joe Biden to his word that American troops will not be sent to Ukraine to fight Russia as lessons of past US entanglements are more important than ever.

But they also say the politics of war have changed considerably over the past 20 years against entering conflicts, with the American public and its representatives more wary of committing forces.

Read: Indian American lawmakers condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine (February 25, 2022)

In 2001, Lee was famously the lone vote in Congress against an authorization to go to war days after the Sep 11 terrorist attacks, the Journal noted. “Now she’s a leading voice of a broader movement to repeal those authorizations and limit new ones that has grown to include Khanna.”

So far, Biden has made clear he has no intention of sending troops into Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. But some experts fear that Putin could try to escalate the situation or provoke the West, the Journal reported.

The day after Biden was inaugurated as president, Lee co-led a letter to Biden with key House committee chairs laying out the parameters they believe should limit any future authorization of force.

Khanna has also advocated for reducing defense budgets and has helped build broad coalitions in Congress to pull US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has caused humanitarian disaster, the Journal noted.

That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t support any military action, but that activism like his should keep the US focused on only necessary conflict, Khanna told the Chronicle.

“I am opposed to misguided wars but I’m not opposed to just wars, such as World War II or the war to defeat ISIS,” Khanna was quoted as saying.

“We have to be prepared militarily, obviously, to defend our NATO allies. … That is very different than some of the endless wars that the US was involved in that were not in our interest.”

Khanna said the US pulling out of Afghanistan last year, though it had its strategic and humanitarian failings, ultimately has freed the US military to be able to address real threats in the future.

He, according to the Journal, hopes that progressives who share his views about unnecessary war see that, as well.

Read: Ro Khanna: Ukraine Will Be Russia’s Afghanistan (February 25, 2022)

“I think progressives have to be very clear-eyed on the threat that Putin poses to the international order, or the threat of an expansionist China and the persecution of the Uyghurs,” Khanna said.

“We need to have a 21st century national security strategy that is focused on what it will take to keep us safe from these two threats. And, frankly, our not being bogged down in Afghanistan or Iraq will allow us to focus on the real national security challenges.”

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