Rep. Tom Cole
Rep. Tom Cole
By U.S. Rep. Tom Cole

Our nation is certainly experiencing challenging times. Inflation, food and goods supply chain issues and gas prices are hurting pocketbooks and putting stress on families. Felt across the country and in Oklahoma, this crisis puts a microscope on where our nation spends its money and resources.

This week, the U.S. announced another military aid package to Ukraine, which concerned some due to our nation's existing economic challenges. Our country faces an out-of-control inflationary crisis, and this continues to be one of my own primary concerns. At the same time, we have a vested interest in confronting unjustified aggression perpetrated by adversaries who seek to weaken the cause of freedom and democracy in the world.

Indeed, as the world's last remaining democratic superpower, our country is the lighthouse that the nations of the free world look to for strength and leadership. We, in partnership with many allies, have the economic and military capacity to confront this unjustified aggression, which has already plagued Europe with large-scale war for the first time since World War II, destabilized world food and energy supplies and killed thousands of innocent people. And Russia, if left unchecked, should not be expected to stop in Ukraine. Other European nations and allies are vulnerable to Putin’s expansionist designs.

Ukraine is merely a testing ground for Vladimir Putin. Remember, this is not the first time Putin has attempted to expand his territory. In March of 2014, Russia violated Ukrainian sovereignty by sending troops to invade and occupy the Crimean Peninsula. As Putin continues to test the limits, American-supplied weapons and supplies play a critical role in Ukraine’s self-defense.

As we continue to watch the brave Ukrainian people defend their country from this tyrant, this serves as a reminder that Western support for the freedom of Ukraine cannot waiver or falter. Indeed, it is further uniting free democratic nations around the world to stand united against tyranny. Additional nations contribute to the effort in various ways, and some now even seek to formally join NATO. Vladimir Putin bet against the will and accord of free people, and he was wrong.

While we navigate this economic crisis, we must not forget that when America pulls back, bad actors step in. This international crisis is a test from our adversaries, and we cannot appear weak on the international stage.

Americans have always prevailed through our determination to win and help each other through these difficult times. We have a duty to defend freedom for people everywhere so that it may persist for another generation. As we approach our national Independence Day, let’s remember freedom and liberty are worldwide aspirations, and the United States will never shrink from the fight.