Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has sharply broken with Republicans who are determined to defend Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, saying in a statement made public on Monday night that protecting the European nation’s borders is not a vital U.S. interest and that policymakers should instead focus attention at home.
The statement from Mr. DeSantis, who is seen as an all but declared presidential candidate for the 2024 campaign, puts him in line with the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination, former President Donald J. Trump.
The venue Mr. DeSantis chose for his statement on a major foreign policy question revealed almost as much as the substance of the statement itself. The statement was broadcast on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” on Fox News. It was in response to a questionnaire that the host, Mr. Carlson, sent last week to all major prospective Republican presidential candidates, and is tantamount to an acknowledgment by Mr. DeSantis that a candidacy is in the offing.
On Mr. Carlson’s show, Mr. DeSantis separated himself from Republicans who say the problem with Mr. Biden’s Ukraine policy is that he’s not doing enough. Mr. DeSantis made clear he thinks Mr. Biden is doing too much, without a clearly defined objective, and taking actions that risk provoking war between the U.S. and Russia.
Mr. Carlson is one of the most ardent opponents of U.S. involvement in Ukraine. He has called President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine a corrupt “antihero” and mocked him for dressing “like the manager of a strip club.”
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness with our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Mr. DeSantis said in a statement that Mr. Carlson read aloud on his show.
On September 27, 1938 Neville Chamberlain spoke in similar tones about Czechoslovakia and Nazi Germany: "How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing. It seems still more impossible that a quarrel which has already been settled in principle should be the subject of war."