New York Post

Mitch’s Next Mission

Taking aim at isolationi­sts

- ISAAC SCHORR Isaac Schorr is a staff writer at Mediaite.

MITCH McConnell has spent his 17 years as Republican­s’ leader in the Senate frustratin­g — even tormenting — his Democratic counterpar­ts. The elder statesman from Kentucky is the chief architect of the Supreme Court’s originalis­t majority, and his deft navigation of treacherou­s political waters has served both conservati­ves’ policy goals and his colleagues’ electoral ones well.

He’s also delighted in his ability to thwart his bitter progressiv­e opponents’ agenda, gleefully embracing the nickname “Grim Reaper.”

But as he finishes his final year as leader and prepares to spend his final few as a regular Senate member, McConnell’s focus has shifted.

In a Monday interview, he said he’d spend his last leg of public life confrontin­g the advocates of a more laissez-faire American foreign policy. “I’m particular­ly involved in actually fighting back against the isolationi­st movement in my own party and some in the other as well,” declared McConnell. “And the symbol of that lately is: Are we going to help Ukraine or not? I’ve got this on my mind for the next couple years as something I’m going to focus on.”

Even as some question the 82year-old’s capacity, his new pet project indicates a mental and moral clarity his younger peers should envy.

“The prime minister of Japan said that if you want to send President Xi a message, beat Putin. That’s the view of the South Koreans, the Taiwanese and the Australian­s. This is a worldwide problem for democracie­s. And they need our leadership, and we need their partnershi­p,” he submitted.

McConnell ascended to Congress’ upper chamber during the Reagan era — and it shows. The Gipper taught his party — and for that matter his country — quite a lot.

For example: Although serving as the leader of the free world comes with costs, taking up that mantle without reservatio­n is far preferable to the alternativ­e of America’s enemies acting with impunity.

And for another: Although lazy attempts to blame domestic problems on foreign involvemen­t might reap short-term political benefit, they are ultimately discrediti­ng.

For a long time after Reagan left office, conservati­ves treated the propositio­ns that peace can only be achieved through strength and American leadership on the world stage is indispensa­ble as incontrove­rtible truths to be acted upon, not myths to be scoffed at.

Yet many in today’s Republican Party do scoff at them.

More members of McConnell’s caucus voted this year against a foreign-aid bill for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan (26) than for it (22).

And influentia­l younger members of that caucus, such as Ohio’s J.D. Vance, have made it clear coaxing the GOP into abandoning the Reagan Doctrine is their raison d’être.

Vance has even explicitly identified leaving Ukraine out to dry as one of his most dearly held objectives in the Senate. That’s a frightenin­g prospect given the fact Donald Trump is reportedly considerin­g picking Vance as his running mate.

Uncertaint­y, death and destructio­n have been the unmistakab­le consequenc­es of President Biden’s weakness on the world stage.

Hamas butchered innocent men, women and children in Israel.

Iran’s mullahs and their proxies are emboldened, wreaking havoc wherever and whenever they can.

The Taliban have reestablis­hed their medieval regime — and haven for terrorists — in Afghanista­n.

And Russia embarked upon a bloody expansioni­st war against Ukraine.

How is it some Republican­s can survey the wreckage of the Biden presidency and conclude the answer is doubling down on his failed approach?

If the isolationi­st right commandeer­s the GOP’s helm, it will spell disaster for the party, country and world.

Democrats may be playacting as Russia hawks because of their relatively newfound hostility toward President Vladimir Putin, but that tack has an expiration date and doesn’t appear to extend to America’s other adversarie­s.

If the United States is to remain Earth’s preeminent power and the planet is to continue enjoying the fruits of its righteous leadership, it will be because American conservati­ves continue to heed the lessons Reagan taught Mitch McConnell.

So let’s hope the Grim Reaper can kill at least one more bad idea.

 ?? ?? A steadfast friend of freedom: McConnell (left) with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Capitol Hill in Washington in December 2023.
A steadfast friend of freedom: McConnell (left) with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Capitol Hill in Washington in December 2023.

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