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SALT LAKE CITY — Former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien praised Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Tuesday, comparing him to American folk hero Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
"We're watching something that you don't see very often in history with President Zelenskyy," O'Brien said. "This is like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, or a Hector of Troy type of moment. ... He's an inspiration to all of us around the world."
O'Brien's comparison of Zelenskyy to Crockett, the frontiersman-turned-congressman who joined 100 of his Texan troops to defend the Alamo against hundreds of Mexican troops, helped paint a picture about what is happening in Ukraine. O'Brien, speaking at a virtual town hall about Russia and Ukraine Tuesday night, recalled visiting Ukraine several years ago, and described the people of Ukraine as "good, decent, church-going folks."
"What's happening to them, we haven't seen since 1938 when a European country has been attempted to be conquered by a neighbor for no other reason other than one country is bigger than the other and wants to take its territory. It's a devastating thing, but the people of Ukraine have a spirit of courage, and they're fighting against a country three times their size that has nuclear weapons and a massive military," said O'Brien, who served as national security adviser under President Donald Trump from 2019 to 2021.
Following his praise of the Ukrainian people, O'Brien said the American people can help the situation by no longer consuming Russian oil.
"On the home front, one of the things we can do is increase our oil supply ... by rebuilding the Keystone Pipeline which was canceled," he said. "We need to let the oil companies know that we will renew leases on federal land … that will drive the price of oil down, and will deprive (Russian President Vladamir) Putin of the revenue he is using to fund his war machine," he said.
"We all want green energy, we all want a green future, we're all conservationists, but right now this is not the time to experiment with these things. We've got to drive the price of fuel down to help Americans who are suffering from inflation, and also to cut off the supply of cash that's going to the Russians and Iranians."
O'Brien said it's important that Sweden and Finland join NATO to "build a stronger NATO." He said that it is also important to "keep in mind that China is watching."
"China wants to see how the West responds … as they contemplate on whether they should invade Taiwan," he said.
"If the Chinese see the Russian economy entirely cut off by the world — which is something the Chinese don't want because they are an export-driven economy … this is something that will deter them — if they see NATO stronger," O'Brien said. "How we handle this crisis will hopefully help us avoid a crisis in the future."
Both O'Brien and Utah GOP Rep. Chris Stewart, who hosted Tuesday's town hall meeting, spoke about the United States being in a unique position to help Ukraine and the world at this time.
"This land is a special place," O'Brien said." "I believe what Abraham Lincoln said, which is that this is the ''last best hope on Earth.' ... We need to rally around the president. We need to pray for the president and his advisers. ... We need to pray that they make the right decisions, and that they're inspired and do the things that will keep our country safe, and also bring peace to Ukraine and the world."