However, for the moment, he is more concerned about domestic challenges.
The pandemic is now in its third year and the Brookfield, Wisconsin native, 62, struggles to keep his business afloat amid a shortage of staff. It is difficult to maintain basic supplies such as to-go containers, when the supply chain is disrupted. Yee is most affected by the inflation-driven rise in prices, which makes everything more costly. Yee would love a full day off.
Yee, a Republican, finds Russia's invasion in Ukraine a distant problem because of the ever-present headwinds. Yee is not exempt from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s norm-breaking efforts to overthrow a neighboring democratic government, threatening civilian lives in the process. His own persistent obstacles are more important to him.
Yee stated that the invasion was not a top priority. "I'm just sort of, sortof -- you know -- getting by."
Yee isn't the only one in America's most divided state. Interviews with voters from all political and demographic backgrounds suggest that there was a wide focus on domestic issues, especially the economy, in more than a dozen of the interviews. Although Democrats expressed concern about the Ukrainians more quickly than others, they were cautious about becoming too involved in an international conflict.
Harshman Sihra (18-year-old Democrat) said he wants everyone to be healthy and safe.
He said, "But we're really worried about American citizens first." "So that's great. But we first."
This sentiment presents a challenge to Democrats in an election year. The President Joe Biden has described Putin's aggression in a "contest between democracy & autocracy." However, if his party is to win November, he must continue to talk about issues that are more tangible for voters.
This is especially true in Wisconsin, where there are closely watched races to be elected governor and senator this year. Biden will be making his first trip outside of Washington following next week's State of the Union speech. He is scheduled to visit Superior, Wisconsin to highlight the real-world impact of his infrastructure spending legislation.
As many Americans are skeptical about foreign entanglements after decades of failures abroad, such as the Iraq War and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the president must balance the competing priorities. According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 26% believe the U.S. should play a significant role in the Russian conflict.
While Democrats were more likely to believe the U.S. should be a major player in the conflict than Republicans (32% to 22%), they were still strongly opposed.
Brookfield, like many other communities across the country, is in constant change and growing. It's navigating through a crisis that used to seem impossible. It was once the political center of Republican-heavy Waukesha county. But it has been changing as more families relocate here from Milwaukee and other parts of Wisconsin to take advantage the schools, housing, and healthcare.
This has made the area more attractive for Democrats who have taken over state legislative seats and eroded GOP margins in statewide election.
Many residents of this diverse, thriving suburb closely follow developments in Ukraine, regardless of their political beliefs. Lorika Hintz, a small-business owner of 40 years old who does not identify with any political party, is perhaps the most attentive. She is a result of her experiences as a teenager living in Kosovo's street warfare for three years.
"People should be worried. It's not far from us, I know. It's going to be terrible. Hintz, a mother of a 5-year old daughter who will vote in the U.S. elections for the first time this year, said that she is most concerned about her children.
Anne Leggio, a Democrat and interior designer, sees the crisis as a primary concern that reminds of the events of World War II.
She said, "I almost feel like my stomach is churning when the news comes in,"
Some Republican residents, however, took a more rigid view.
"I am more concerned about the United States. Although it sounds selfish, I am more concerned about what is happening in America," stated Republican Dina Bernotas (35), who owns a Brookfield bar-grill. "Inflation and the lack thereof of border control and police presence. I care more about keeping America safe, our cities safe, and our communities safe -- and our people safe -- that what's going on overseas.
Bob Chapman, a retired Milwaukee police officer, was moved by the idea of his grandsons wearing uniforms.
Chapman, a 72 year-old Marine veteran, said that he didn't want anyone to go to Ukraine because of what he knows. He was overcome with emotion.
Almost everyone agreed that the Americans would ultimately feel the effects of the invasion, regardless of how much the U.S. gets involved in the conflict.
Another retired Milwaukee police officer Gary Post said that he expects market instability due to the war to reduce his retirement spending power.
Post, 62, said that it was "like the stock market" and flies a flag in support of former President Donald Trump right in front his house. "We've seen how things can be disrupted," Post said.
Hintz, an immigrant from Kosovo who fears for the wave of desperate Ukrainian refugees heading to America, is worried.
She stated that there will be humanitarian consequences at home that people don't fully understand.
Yee, the Chinese restaurant owner, admitted that he was more concerned about his own financial issues than the invasion of the U.S.
Before he returned to the kitchen, he stated that "Everything is connected." "Sooner than later, it will bite us in our butt."