GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared that China, Russia, and Iran make up a new “axis of evil” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and allegations that Iran is backing Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel.
The senior senator from Kentucky made the comment while contrasting how he sees the $1.5 trillion deficit with the more isolationist view expressed by his fellow Kentucky senator Rand Paul during a Fox News interview.
“You have to respond to conditions that actually exist that are a threat to the United States. The Iranians are a threat to us as well. And so, this is an emergency. It’s an emergency that we step up and deal with this axis of evil — China, Russia, Iran — because it’s an immediate threat to the United States,” McConnell said, lumping in China because “We know which side they’re on.”
“In many ways, the world is more endangered today than it has been in my lifetime,” McConnell said.
McConnell was critical of Biden for the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, which the senator claimed showed weakness that emboldened Putin to invade Ukraine.
However, he also echoed Biden’s words from the president’s October 19 foreign policy address by connecting the conflicts to a “big power competition from China, Russia” that begs the question, “Is America going to lead?”
McConnell claimed, “[i]f the Russians aren’t defeated, they’ll go into a NATO country next,” similar to what Biden warned in his address to the nation.
McConnell also claimed that leaders of Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, want to see the U.S. defeat Russia in Ukraine in order to send a message to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
“The prime minister of Japan said if you want to send President Xi a message, beat the Russians in Ukraine,” McConnell said. “The South Koreans, the Japanese, the Taiwanese are all interested in what’s happening over in Ukraine because they know President Xi is watching that. President Xi recently declared that they had an endless friendship with the Russians. What more do you need to know about how relevant Ukraine is to Asia and to the Middle East?”
McConnell also made arguments resembling those Biden presented last week about the economic benefits of supporting Ukraine.
“One of the best things about this, from a U.S. point of view, is when we give older equipment to the Ukrainians, for example, we are rebuilding our industrial base in this country. There are jobs being created by the help that we’re providing Ukraine in 38 states,” McConnell said.
“And [we are] rebuilding our industrial complex for the more serious big power threat in Asia,” McConnell added, alluding to a coming conflict with China. “So the notion that our assistance for Ukraine is not helpful to us is something not factual.”