Cheney: U.S. Cannot Stay Out Of Russia/Ukraine Conflict; Isolationism Does Not Work

Liz Cheney strongly disagreed with those who have said the U.S. should stay out of the Russia/Ukraine conflict: "We've been down that road before. We've seen isolationism in both parties and it's always been wrong and it's always been dangerous."

Ellen Fike

March 01, 20226 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney disagreed with officials who have called for the United States to stay out of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, saying isolationism rarely works well for the United States.

During an appearance on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Cheney offered her thoughts regarding some Republican politicians, particularly U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Ohio congressional candidate and author J.D. Vance, who have said they do not care what happens to Ukraine and that the U.S. should not intervene.

Cheney, however, told host Margaret Brennan she disagreed.

“We’ve been down that road before. We’ve seen isolationism in both parties and it’s always been wrong and it’s always been dangerous,” Cheney said.

“American cannot defend and maintain our own freedom and security if we think that we’re simply going to withdraw from the world and not lead,” she said. “Anyone who thinks that U.S. freedom and security is going to be maintained if we take a step back and don’t lead, you simply need to look at what’s happening in Ukraine and recognize that those who fill the void when the U.S. steps away are people like the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians.”

“The idea that the world will be safe, that America will be able to (be) safe and free with an isolationist approach is wrong,” she said.


Ukraine was invaded by Russia late last week, generating strong reactions across the globe. Russia and many of its products, including vodka, are being boycotted or outright banned in some countries due to the invasion.

Cheney also called for the U.S. to stop importing Russian oil, and to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian oligarchs and their families.

“I’d like to see the oil industry affected,” she said. “I’d like to see very clear that…the United States ought to be looking at ourselves frankly, as an arsenal of energy for the world, in the way that in World War II, we were an arsenal of democracy. We ought to be an arsenal of energy, so we ought to be unleashing our own energy resources.”

She added that the United States needed to make it “very clear” that it stands with Ukraine during this invasion and conflict, as well as to be clear that the U.S. won’t be intimidated by Russia and these tactics.


Brennan pointed out that former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial in January and February of 2020 was triggered by a complaint from a U.S. intelligence official who said Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine in order to win political favors. Brennan asked if Cheney regretted voting not to impeach Trump then. Trump was acquitted.

“I don’t regret my vote,” Cheney said. “I think any impeachment vote has got to be one that is based very clearly on the evidence. I think that we certainly have learned a lot from that first impeachment trial that we are using as we move forward in the Jan. 6 committee.”

Cheney noted that Trump spent much of his presidency attacking the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but pointed out how “crucially” important the alliance is.

“One thing that President Trump got right was increased spending for the military,” she said. “It is very important for us…as we look at Putin’s nuclear threat, we cannot adopt policies like a no-first-use nuclear policy. We can’t accept defense spending that is insufficient to defend our interests. We have to make sure we are recognizing here at home what is important and necessary to defend ourselves.”


Cheney’s praise of Trump was just one example of political enemies coming together in a time of strife.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said during a “Meet the Press” appearance on Sunday that Putin’s moves have actually strengthened NATO and Congress.

“He thought this [invasion] would divide NATO,” Portman said. “In fact, it strengthened NATO and brought us together in ways we haven’t seen in years.”


Cheney’s congressional competitor Denton Knapp also voiced his support for Ukraine over the weekend.

“Wyoming and the United States support Ukraine and condemn the Russian invasion. God’s hands guide us to peace,” he said.

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman told Cowboy State Daily late Monday that Putin’s “continued illegal assault” on Ukraine was a crime against the peace-loving world and has already cost too many lives.

“We must use every sanction at our disposal, which is why it is extremely disappointing to see President Biden refuse to hit Putin where it hurts most – Russia’s energy industries,” Hageman said. “But Biden knows that if he impeded Putin’s ability to sell oil, natural gas, and coal, he would have to allow American energy production to increase to compensate. The radical environmentalists who run the Biden administration won’t let him do that, so ultimately it is the climate activists who are making our foreign policy decisions.”

But at the same time, Hageman objected to Cheney’s criticism of calls to stay out of the dispute.

“It’s also alarming to see that Liz Cheney simply can’t resist falling back into her interventionist ways. In her remarks, she came awfully close to calling for American military intervention, which would be extraordinarily dangerous and something that I strongly oppose,” Hageman said. “We must do whatever we can to support the Ukrainians, but inserting American troops squarely into the conflict would be a horrible idea.”

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Ellen Fike