Espreso. Global

Republicans are still inclined to block any decisions on aid to Ukraine. Vitaliy Portnikov's column

18 January, 2024 Thursday

Secretary of State Antony Blinken's assurances of continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine are important as the situation in the U.S. Congress is currently unstable


During a discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that he does not see even conditional prospects for a long-term truce in Ukraine. Blinken also said that the Russian Federation still has significant potential to continue its aggressive war against Ukraine, and at the same time emphasized that if Russia agrees to negotiations related to compliance with the principles it violated with its invasion of Ukraine, it will find Ukraine at the negotiating table and the West that will facilitate such a negotiation process. However, it is clear that for the head of the American diplomatic corps, the prospect that the Russian political leadership will actually be willing to reconsider its approach to the war with Ukraine looks rather illusory.

Moreover, during the panel discussion at which these words were voiced, the U.S. Secretary of State had to talk about several wars at once, both the ones that have already begun and those the start of which is perceived as a complete disaster in the United States. Blinken had to answer questions related to the war in the Middle East, how the United States views Israel's operation against the Hamas terrorist movement in the Gaza Strip, and, of course, the prospect of a military solution to the Taiwanese problem, which is being discussed against the backdrop of the presidential election that took place on the island and resulted in the victory of a representative of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which Beijing considers a separatist organization.

Antony Blinken emphasized that a military solution to the Taiwanese problem would be catastrophic for the global economy, and would affect 50 percent of that economy. Thus, he recognized what observers always say when commenting on the likely consequences of a war between China and Taiwan - that this confrontation could lead to stunning results for the world economy.

Amid expectations of new conflicts and attempts to resolve those that have already begun, Russia's war against Ukraine looks like just one of the important challenges for the United States. The Secretary of State explicitly acknowledged that the world has never had so many challenges at the same time, and we have not yet mentioned them all.

It is worth noting that on the sidelines of the Davos Forum, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke at one of the plenary sessions of this representative conference, met with Blinken and U.S. Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan. Little is known about the actual details of the talks that Zelenskyy held with the two American representatives - protocol reports say that both Blinken and Sullivan assured Zelenskyy that the United States would continue to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression. This is an important reassurance, as congressmen from the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States still cannot reach a compromise that would unblock the possibility of allocating $60 billion in American aid to Ukraine, which President Joe Biden insists on. The U.S. president is to meet with congressional leaders to discuss again the compromise that must be reached for Ukraine to receive this aid.

However, it is clear that, for now, Republican congressmen are more likely to block any decisions related to aid to Ukraine. Even the issue of a stable budget for the United States is currently in the process of being negotiated between Democrats and Republicans, and when congressmen from both parties reach an agreement to temporarily keep government agencies functioning, it is already perceived as a huge cross-party compromise. And then there is the successful result of former U.S. President Donald Trump in the Iowa primaries, which further mobilized his own supporters in the U.S. Congress and created serious problems for those Republicans who would like to find compromises with their Democratic colleagues on how to resolve the issue of assistance to Ukraine and Israel. Because everyone is well aware that such a compromise, if reached contrary to the former American president's ideas, could create serious career problems for many Republican congressmen, especially those who are up for election to the U.S. Congress this year.

Thus, the words about the need for the United States to support Ukraine sound like a very important promise from Blinken when he speaks in Davos, but in order to make this promise concretized, it is necessary not only to state that the Russian Federation still has a lot of resources to continue its war of aggression against Ukraine, but also to look for ways to help Ukraine, which is trying to resist this war of aggression, to defend its territories from the enemy, and to try to liberate the Ukrainian regions that are currently under its control.

The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, made Russia's true intentions absolutely clear when he said that the Russian Federation intends to destroy the Ukrainian state itself, and that the very existence of Ukrainian statehood is a reason for endless wars in the post-Soviet space. Moreover, Medvedev recognized the true goal of the Russian state in its attitude toward Ukraine: it is not about protecting the Russian-speaking population, or about the idea of oppressing the Donbas people or other regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, but about the very idea of the Russian elite's rejection of the existence of the Ukrainian state.

The belief that the Ukrainian state should be destroyed by force, when Russian leaders openly express their aggressive goals, should lead the civilized world to think about how to mobilize resources to prevent these ambitions from being realized. Otherwise, the number of challenges that exist today for the United States and other countries of the civilized world will increase many times over. 

About the author. Vitaliy Portnykov, journalist, laureate of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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