BORIS Johnson has made a special visit to America, meeting former President George Bush and rallying Republicans in Texas to further support Ukraine.
Johnson’s visit comes amid growing division in the Republican party, with far-right pro-Putin conspiracy theorists such as Qanon-promoter Marjorie Taylor Greene flooding Twitter with bizarre anti-Ukraine tropes and calls to stop funding Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign nation against Russia’s brutal ongoing invasion.
“I’m here to say thanks, but also stick with it,” Johnson said during a stop at The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he continued. “If we don’t do this now, [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin is going to do worse things.”
Johnson’s Dallas trip included a visit with former President George W. Bush in which the two talked about the war in Ukraine before a lighter conversation about art, one of Bush’s post-presidency passions.
Today he is scheduled to meet with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Austin, where the two will discuss economic development.
The former prime minister also led a Monday lunch discussion sponsored by the Center for European Policy Analysis, where he was joined by Sen. John Cornyn and former NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison. The CEPA was formed to “ensure strong transatlantic alliances” rooted in democratic principles.
At the Crescent Club luncheon, Johnson said defeating Russia in Ukraine was important to stop future assaults on democracy, including fears that China will invade Taiwan.
“Putin’s conquest’s of Ukraine, had it happened, would have sent an immediate signal around the world that we’re not prepared to stick up for democracy,” Johnson said at the lunch. “It would have been terrible in its ramifications for Southeast Asia, in the South China Sea, for over the areas of attention and potential conflict between the great powers in the decades to come.”
Johnson said because of help from the U.S., Russia would fail in Ukraine.
“Putin has failed, and he’s going to be defeated,” he said. “The message I want to get over to you today … is that you’re backing the right horse. Ukraine is going to win.”
Since the start of the war, the U.S. has appropriated at least $113 billion for military and humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.
“All that remains is to make sure that we do not lose that sense of urgency, that we do not get Ukraine fatigue, that we have the strategic resolve to stick with the Ukrainians for as long as it takes,” Johnson said at the lunch.
After the lunch, Cornyn told The News that it was important to continue aid to Ukraine.
“I’ve heard from my constituents back home in Texas who are deeply concerned about what these costs will mean here at home,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor on the anniversary of the invasion. “The point that keeps getting lost in this war is that a Ukrainian victory is in our national interest. … The most effective way to keep American troops out of the line of fire is to help the Ukrainians stop Putin now, before his conquest moves even further west.”
At both stops Johnson told a story about how as a reporter he tried to get Bush, then the Texas governor, to give him a scoop about a presidential run.
As Johnson tells it, he was wearing his wife’s watch, which contained a picture of the late Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
“He said that in Texas they took a very dim view of communism,” Johnson said. “I was so flustered by this brilliant remark that I lost my train of thought and I didn’t get the scoop.”
Johnson told The News that he was interested in seeing the sights of Dallas, including those featured in the famous TV show.
“I want to see the place where they shot J.R.,” he said.
The former Conservative Prime Minister’s next stop is Las Vegas, as he continues his whirlwind tour of America drumming up support for Ukraine.