February 18, 2024 - 3:10pm

Republican senator J.D. Vance today claimed that Donald Trump was “maybe the best president at deterring Russia in a generation”.

“The only time Russia has not invaded a foreign country in the last 20 years were the four years Donald Trump was president,” said the Ohio Senator. “It’s interesting that so many people accuse me or Trump or others of being in Putin’s pocket and yet the person who Vladimir Putin says wants to be the next president is not Donald Trump — it’s Joe Biden because he’s more predictable.”


Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Vance argued that Europeans had misunderstood Trump’s recent comments about “encouraging Russia to do whatever the hell they want” to Nato countries which do not meet defence spending guidelines. “Trump isn’t going to abandon Europe,” said the senator. “He’s issuing a wake-up call that Europe has to take a bigger role in its own security […] The problem with Europe is that it doesn’t provide enough of a deterrence on its own because it hasn’t taken the initiative in its own security.”

Vance told the Munich audience that the “future of America foreign policy” was in East Asia and that Europe needed to “wake up” and provide more defence spending. A critic of new US funding for Ukraine, the senator warned that America did not have enough munitions to sustain conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East and “potentially East Asia”. “The problem of Ukraine is that there’s no clear end point,” said Vance. “Fundamentally the limiting factor in support of Ukraine is not money: it’s munitions. “

The GOP senator also argued that the $95.3 billion foreign aid package, currently mired in Congress, wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground. “I hear a lot of self-congratulation about how much bigger our GDP is bigger than Russia’s GDP,” he said. “But you don’t win wars with GDP or euros or dollars — you win wars with weapons, and the West doesn’t make enough weapons.”