Espreso. Global

Termination of military aid to Ukraine would be fiasco for Biden administration 

4 October, 2023 Wednesday

Termination of military aid to Ukraine would be a political fiasco for the current US presidential administration, so Democrats will fight to keep it at the current level or even increase it.

The United States is trying to convince its European allies that military aid to Ukraine will continue despite the fact that the 45-day temporary US budget, which was passed as a result of an agreement between Democrats and Republicans, does not include any money for this aid. Axios emphasises that representatives of the US presidential administration and the State Department are now talking to their counterparts in European countries and NATO member states that are not on the European continent, and are reassuring them that there is no threat to aid to Ukraine.

Earlier, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, gave public assurances that assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression would continue. However, it is clear that for the US allies, it is not only the words that can be heard during the US president's public speeches that are important, but also the explanation of how the United States is going to work to continue such assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Representatives of the US presidential administration say that they are working on agreements with activists of the Republican Party to achieve solutions that would allow Democrats and Republicans in Congress to vote jointly on budget resolutions that would take into account the views of both political forces on how to allocate state budget funds. It is obvious that both Republicans and Democrats have their own areas of interest that can be negotiated fruitfully.

Moreover, it is worth recalling that both Democrats and the majority of Republican representatives in the US Congress are in favour of continuing to provide assistance to Ukraine. Thus, it is only necessary to overcome the resistance of that part of the Republican faction that is guided by the former President of the United States and the likely Republican presidential candidate in the 2024 elections, Donald Trump. And this, of course, seems to be the most difficult of tasks, because according to the agreements reached with this group of Republicans by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, he cannot take their interests lightly, because any congressman now has the opportunity to raise a vote of no confidence in the Speaker, and thus McCarthy may be left without the support of the Republican majority and lose the position of House leader (at the time of the recording of the video blog on which this column is based, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was still in office). And as we can see from Kevin McCarthy's actions, he is doing everything possible to stay in office at least until the end of the term of this House convocation. Therefore, with each passing month, the degree of election campaigning will increase, and with each passing month, it will become clear to most Republicans that former US President Donald Trump is the person who enjoys the support of the vast majority of those who will vote in the primaries, which will determine which of the representatives of the Republican Party will run in the 2024 elections. 

The Trump effect is already showing itself, if only because even those candidates who are trying to compete with Donald Trump for the nomination are, let's face it, very unsuccessfully trying to copy not only the behaviour but also the political views of the former American president. Thus, there is no possibility that whoever wins the Republican nomination - even if we assume that legal problems will prevent Donald Trump from running for the presidency of the United States - will have different views on helping Ukraine than those currently advocated by the former American president.

In addition, it is quite dangerous if the Ukrainian factor becomes a significant part of the US election campaign, and the Republican presidential candidate will constantly remind us of how the administration of the current president and the likely Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden distributes US budget money.

In this difficult situation, those American politicians from the Republican camp who are now sincere supporters of helping Ukraine will also be affected. We can already see how carefully they dose their statements in support of Ukraine and the need to continue military assistance to our country, and how they try to preserve their values on the one hand, and on the other, so to speak, "not to fall out of the mainstream" and remain a significant part of the Republican Party. This has happened many times before, both when Donald Trump ran for the presidency of the United States and when he took office and began a real struggle with the Republican establishment, because the leaders of this party did not even think of competing in their political views and approaches with the current American president.

Thus, it will be quite difficult for Joseph Biden's administration to reach any real agreements with the Republicans in the House of Representatives, but according to the assurances that Ukraine's European allies hear from the US presidential administration and the State Department in the White House, there are tools that will allow them to find opportunities to continue military assistance to Ukraine. Let's not forget that the termination of such military assistance, or at least its significant reduction, will be a problem not only for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but will be, by and large, a political fiasco for the current administration and will affect the chances of a democratic candidate in the 2024 presidential election. Thus, what the Republicans will oppose in order to reduce aid to Ukraine will be exactly what the Democrats will defend in order to keep it at the appropriate level and even increase it. We are in for a fierce political struggle.


About the author. Vitaly Portnikov, journalist, Shevchenko Prize winner

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

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