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Minnesotans Maria Doan and several representatives from Stand With Ukraine MN are traveling to Washington, D.C., to join more than 500 advocates from 45 states to lobby Congress on backing Ukraine in its existential fight against Russia. In meetings that run through Tuesday, they'll try to meet with Minnesota's congressional delegation as part of the Ukraine Action Summit, which is advocating that the House match the bipartisan Senate vote to allocate about $60 billion that is so desperately needed for Ukraine's survival.

That need is reflected in an analysis recently published in Foreign Affairs by Dara Massicot, a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Russian advantages in manpower, materiel, and defense production have grown in the past year, whereas U.S. ammunition deliveries have been throttled and are at risk of being curtailed almost entirely because of an impasse over funding in the U.S. Congress," Massicot wrote. That view was amplified on Wednesday by the top general for U.S. forces in Europe, who told Congress that in just a matter of weeks Ukraine will be outgunned by a 10-1 margin.

Doan, the policy and outreach director for Stand with Ukraine MN, which was formed right before Russia's full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022, told an editorial writer that "it's important to emphasize the fact that we're talking about national security, we're talking about global security, we're talking about the fact that a Ukraine victory is going to enhance NATO security, American and allies' security. It's utterly important that this bill passes; failure to do so will have drastic consequences."

But sadly, foreign policy debates on Capitol Hill these days seem to be more about domestic politics than the geopolitical stakes Doan rightly describes. That's because House Republicans have hyper empowered members such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist turned Republican representative from Georgia, to threaten House Speaker Mike Johnson's job if he proceeds with a vote on funding Ukraine.

Gone, it seems, are the days when politics were supposed to stop at the water's edge and the GOP was resolutely resistant to Soviet expansionism and Russian revanchism. Instead, Greene's reckless rhetoric on Russia and Ukraine, which is echoed and amplified by several hard-right representatives, reflects Russian propaganda that has "infected a good chunk of my party's base," Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a recent interview with Puck News. McCaul also called out "some more nighttime entertainment shows" on conservative cable outlets where "it's almost identical" to Russian propaganda. Not stopping there, McCaul added "these people that read various conspiracy-theory outlets that are just not accurate, and they actually model Russian propaganda."

McCaul isn't the only prominent House Republican reckoning with rhetorical echoes from the Kremlin. Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, concurred with McCaul, saying on CNN's "State of the Union" that "We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages — some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor." This makes it more difficult to rightly position the war as "an authoritarian-vs.-democracy battle" said Turner, who added that "Ukraine needs our help and assistance now, and this is a very critical time for the U.S. Congress to step up and provide that aid."

Doan, a native Ukrainian who is now a U.S. citizen, said, "The only thing that Ukrainians are asking for are the tools to help them."

And in turn, for the U.S. to help itself. "Strongmen like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," Doan said, "are not going to be stopped just simply by negotiations."

Doan added that Stand With Ukraine MN will also remind representatives and senators that most of the expenditures for weaponry are invested in the U.S., including in Minnesota, and that most profoundly, geopolitics beyond Eastern Europe are at stake. "China, North Korea, Iran — they're all watching the United States' response in Ukraine; it's going to affect the way adversarial countries are going to behave in the future."

Allies are alert, too. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed his "strong support for Ukraine" during a state visit to Washington on Wednesday, adding that "Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow."

Minnesota's congressional delegation should hear Stand With Ukraine MN's reasonable appeal instead of the rants of Greene or others spreading Russia's message.

Then, in what will be a career- and character-defining vote, they should indeed stand with Ukraine and approve the funding before even more Ukrainian territory — and, most importantly, lives — are lost.