US Should Take Moderate Approach to Russia-Ukraine War: Former Trump Strategist

By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a reporter for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. and world politics.
and Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Jan Jekielek
Senior Editor
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, "American Thought Leaders." Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."
February 3, 2023Updated: February 3, 2023

While neoconservatives favor a “deploy everything possible” approach to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the opposite camp prefers that the United States not get involved in the war, Sebastian Gorka, former Trump strategist, advocates a moderate solution.

Neoconservatives, who typically advocate the promotion of democracy in foreign policy by all means possible, including military force, call on the American government to send Ukraine battle tanks and “deploy everything possible,“ asserting that the conflict is “the ultimate test of Western civilization,” Gorka said in a recent interview on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.

Epoch Times Photo
US Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (R) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) (L) speak to members of the press during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, on Sept. 14, 2022. The senators held a news conference on designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Gorka considers Senator Graham (R-South Carolina) a neoconservative for his strong advocacy of sending military aid to Ukraine.

Graham has urged the Biden Administration to provide advanced weapons to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war. In an April 2022 op-ed, Graham called on the United States and the Western world to provide Ukraine “with additional lethal aid and capabilities such as larger Switchblade drones, fighter aircraft, more sophisticated missile defense systems, and tanks.”

Graham has also expressed his support for the $40 billion package of weapons and economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine passed by Congress in May 2022.

During his January visit to Ukraine with two Democratic senators, Graham said at the press conference in Kyiv, “Putin is trying to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms. World order is at stake,” according to his statement.

After the visit, Graham lauded, in a statement, the decisions of the United States and Germany to send advanced tanks to Ukraine.

“We cannot let Putin’s bluster and threats determine the course of freedom for the 21st century,” Graham said in the statement. “It is in America’s national security interest for Russia to be defeated in Ukraine because Russia’s ambitions are to rewrite the map of Europe, and China is watching.”


The opposite camp, that Gorka called “neo-Buchananites,” believes that the United States should not get involved in international conflicts as they are irrelevant to the country.

Epoch Times Photo
Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks during 2022 FOX Nation Patriot Awards in Hollywood, Florida on Nov. 17, 2022. (Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

In Gorks’ opinion, Tucker Carlson, a host of FOX News Channel, expresses the neo-Buchananite viewpoint.

Carlson said at the 2022 FAMiLY Leadership Summit in Iowa, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I don’t really care one way or the other [what Putin does] because he’s not my president; he doesn’t preside over my country.”

“What he does in Ukraine—while I think historically significant, certainly significant to Ukrainians—is not more significant to me than what gas costs. In fact, it’s not even in the same universe,” Carlson said.

Moderate Way

Neo-conservatives and neo-Buchananites represent two extreme approaches to the issues of national security and foreign policy, but Gorka would like to apply to these issues “slightly more sophisticated thinking.”

The Russia-Ukraine war, lasting almost a year, “is very important to America,” Gorka said, “because Putin, who has been leading Russia for about 20 years and is also a KGB colonel, has been saying that: ‘not only Ukraine, but Poland, the Baltic states are illegitimate, fake nations that have no right to exist.’”

“On the flip side, sending tens of billions of dollars to Kyiv with zero accountability in practice is also not strategic,” said Gorka, host of America First.

“Sending unaccountable pallets of cash to any country is dumb. … A) it’s not good geopolitics and B) it smacks of corruption.”

Polish MiG-29 planes
Two Polish MiG-29s fly over the air base in Malbork, Poland, on April 29, 2014. (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images)

America should not be involved with troops or any other massive military involvement in the conflict, Gorka said.

He proposed that America can instead assist some NATO member-states, like Poland or Hungary, in supplying Ukraine with Soviet-era military equipment.  Poland, Hungary, and some other NATO Allies in Eastern Europe used to be members of the Soviet-led military pact, known as the Warsaw Pact, and can still possess Soviet armaments.

Such a proposal was once on the table, but it was shut down by the Biden Administration, Gorka added.

“Ukraine needs weapons it knows how to use. It doesn’t need Patriot missile, batteries that nobody in Ukraine knows how to handle, so they can fight for themselves,” Gorka said. “Give them ammunition because they need ammunition.”

Gorka also advised providing Ukraine with intelligence target sets from American satellites to allow the Ukrainian military “to extract the most damage on the invading forces by targeting them effectively.”

The former strategist also pointed out the need for a nuanced discussion about how the invasion of European countries on each other impacts America.

Is NATO a threat to Russia?  

Flags wave outside the Alliance headquarters ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 21, 2021. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

The narrative that the NATO expansion eastward is a threat to Russia was used to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine somewhat.

Russia considers NATO’s enlargement after the end of the Cold War a threat to its national security. “The eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border” is the fundamental threat for Russia, said Putin in his speech on Feb. 24, 2022—the day Russia invaded Ukraine—according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1999, eight years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, some former member-states of the Pact, Czechia, Hungary, and Poland, acceded to NATO. Further expansion took place in 2004 when seven other European countries, including three former Soviet republics, joined NATO.

Gorka is a son of a Hungarian activist who was imprisoned and persecuted for organizing an anti-communist movement in Hungary. His father was liberated by the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and escaped to the UK. Although Gorka was born in the UK, he said that his ancestry gives him a certain perspective on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Gorka argued that the West cannot be likened to the East, and the North Atlantic Alliance cannot be likened to the Warsaw Pact.

On the surface, the Warsaw Pact was established “for friendship and cooperation,” Gorka said, but in reality, its members were satrapies of the Soviet Union. “These were captive nations.”

In 1955 when the Warsaw Pact was formed, countries like Hungary and Poland did not have the option of not joining the Pact, Gorka said. The Baltic states were swallowed up by the Soviets in World War II, so they automatically participated in the Pact.

On the contrary, NATO is a “voluntary association,” Gorka said. “It’s like joining a club. You can apply for NATO membership, but any nation that applies must demonstrate to the North Atlantic Council, to the extant members, that they bring something of value to the collective defense of the club.”

“Since when is it our job to say, ‘Nations like Hungary or Poland should not have been allowed?,’”Gorka asked rhetorically.

“That’s not the encirclement of the Russian Federation”—a country spanning from the Baltic Sea to the Chinese border with 11 time zones and nearly 4,500 nuclear warheads in its military stockpile, Gorka said. “It’s ignorance, a woeful ignorance of geopolitics..”

Moral Aspect

Gorka also brought up the moral aspect of the United States’ involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine inherited the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. Only Russia and the United States possessed larger nuclear stockpiles. The United States convinced Ukraine to give its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for a promise made by the U.S. and British governments to vouchsafe Ukraine’s security, Gorka said.

In 1994, an agreement was signed, by the United States, the UK, Russia, and Ukraine, also known as the Budapest Memorandum, that formalized that accord.

Ukraine put its trust in the United States, so the American reputation is on the line, Gorka said.

“Here’s this tragic reality. There never would’ve been a Russian invasion if Ukraine still had those nuclear missiles. We told them to get rid of them, so we bear a moral burden, as well.”