Throughout the course of history, we’ve learned that whenever tyranny rears its ugly head, an uprising of freedom will face it down. Our constitutional republic is built upon freedom, and every free nation across the world is as well. Thousands of miles away in Europe, freedom is facing an onslaught, and the whole world is bearing witness.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came without provocation, and it sent the international community into a tailspin. The weight of this unprecedented display of aggression falls upon the shoulders of the entire world, and we must rise to meet this moment. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines.

The footage and intelligence reports streaming out of Ukraine are harrowing – with residential buildings and homes being shelled, underground train stations being turned into makeshift shelters for women and children, and the malice being leveled at everyday citizens who are rising together in defense of their homeland. However, we have seen something else, and something that possesses more power than any bomb or ammunition round: the resolve of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people.

Even in the face of Russia’s scourge of despotism, they have not blinked. They have shown the world how rock-ribbed and unyielding they truly are. This is a teachable moment for President Biden, and one that he cannot afford to leave unheeded. As he closed his State of the Union address last week, he remarked that, “Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time.” This rallying cry came too little too late.

It came after America’s reliance on Russian autocrats was strengthened after the long-awaited permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was revoked and thousands of good-paying American jobs were kneecapped with the stroke of a pen. It came after sanctions were waived on the Putin crony who led the development of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Europe. It even came after America’s own exports of liquid natural gas (LNG) suffered a crippling setback thanks to self-destructive climate policies of this administration.

President Biden’s failure of leadership is only magnified by the displays of heroism, vigor, and selflessness that we have seen from the Ukrainian people. Their uncompromising posture proves that love of country, and acting in the interests of its citizenry, come before anything else. President Biden would do well to emulate and learn from their level of patriotism.

That requires a bias for action that puts American interests first instead of waging a war on our own capabilities and strengths. Our prominence on the world stage demands strength, and not imprudent acts of desperation like upping our reliance on known adversaries.

Freedom always faces the threat of extinction, but when there are people who rise to its defense, and remain uncompromising in doing so, generations to come will experience its unbridled brilliance. The same can be said for American exceptionalism right here at home. If it is not kept under a watchful eye, it too will fall to despotism.

Mr. President, read the room before it’s too late.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is the Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor.