April 25, 2024

Ukraine Aid Bill

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was immediately rushing badly needed weaponry to Ukraine as he signed into law a $95 billion war aid measure that also included assistance for Israel, Taiwan and other global hot spots… Biden immediately approved sending Ukraine $1 billion in military assistance, the first installment from about $61 billion allocated for Ukraine. The package includes air defense capabilities, artillery rounds, armored vehicles and other weapons to shore up Ukrainian forces…

“House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., delayed the aid package for months as members of his party’s far right wing, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, threatened to move to oust him if he allowed a vote to send more assistance to Ukraine.” AP News

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From the Left

The left supports providing additional military aid to Ukraine, and criticizes the fact that the bill was not passed sooner.

“As American aid resumes, the Ukrainians should be actively encouraged to pursue the asymmetric warfare that they do best. The air and naval drone campaign that pushed the Black Sea Fleet away from their coastline, the raids on Russian gas and oil facilities thousands of miles from Ukraine, the recruitment of Russian soldiers, in Russia, to join pro-Ukraine Russian units fighting on the border…

“The Biden administration should also heed Johnson’s suggestion that the United States supply more and better long-range weapons so that Ukrainians can hit Russian missile launchers before the missiles reach Ukraine… This war will be over only when the Russians no longer want to fight—and they will stop fighting when they realize they cannot win.”

Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic

“Far from indicating that Ukraine can’t win, the lack of any big 2024 counteroffensive attempt should be part of Kyiv’s theory of victory. Because by next year, if all goes well, it can have used the time to regroup, replenishing its personnel, air defenses and ranged artillery, while taking on board the F-16s and other high-end hardware that it will need to establish credible, long-term deterrence against future attack. For Russia, meanwhile, the costs of continuing the invasion would grow increasingly painful.”

Marc Champion, Bloomberg

“U.S. alliances endure, but the stage is set for a recalibration of their terms. This is not necessarily a bad thing, if the result is to place these commitments on a more sustainable basis, politically and financially. U.S. allies in Europe and Asia can indeed contribute more to their own defense; Israel can take concerns about the war in Gaza’s human costs more effectively into account…

“Thanks to the votes the House just took, however, the chances are better that tough conversations among allies occur in the context of a U.S. commitment — at least in this crucial U.S. election year. Beyond that, the outlook is cloudier. Whatever happens, U.S. leadership cannot succeed without the quality Mr. Johnson just demonstrated: political courage."

Editorial Board, Washington Post

Yet, “Before House Speaker Mike Johnson basks too deeply in the praise he’s received for bringing the security assistance bill to the floor, where it passed by a predictably wide margin, we should recall that the bill would have passed six months ago had it not been for Johnson’s cowardly submission to the pressure of former (and possibly future) President Donald Trump…  

Had Johnson acted like a leader back in October, when President Joe Biden proposed the bill, fewer Ukrainians would have died, less Ukrainian land would have been ceded to Russian soldiers, Russia would not have gained the momentum it’s picked up in this long and grueling war, and the United States would not now be seen by some… as a less-than-reliable ally."

Fred Kaplan, Slate

From the Right

The right is divided about whether the US should continue to provide military aid to Ukraine.

The right is divided about whether the US should continue to provide military aid to Ukraine.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) writes, “We have two choices; we can either keep the aggressive Russian Army where it is, or we can let it murder tens of thousands more Ukrainians and position itself on the borders of four NATO countries. There are no other choices. There is no magical third option in which we get ‘peace’ or Europeans can support Ukraine without American help. Putin won’t agree to peace as long as he thinks he can keep advancing…

“The ultimate question, then, is this: Which one of those scenarios is more likely to draw American forces into war? It is the scenario in which Putin takes Ukraine, realizes the West has given up, and continues his aggression against our NATO allies in the Baltic states. This is the scenario that brings us to the brink of a shooting war… This isn’t about lofty claims to be ‘defending democracy’ or ‘standing up to dictators.’ This is about stone-cold American self-interest.”

Dan Crenshaw, National Review

“For the price of about three weeks’ worth of Social Security payments, or, if you prefer, slightly less than three months’ worth of Apple sales, we are significantly bolstering Ukraine’s ability to keep Russia’s military at bay, enabling Israel to keep crushing (if the president will only let it) Iran’s terrorist proxies, and supplying valuable reinforcements for Taiwan’s defenses against communist China.”

Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal

Others argue, “‘$61 billion will not change the outcome of this war,’ [Professor Nicolai Petro] told The American Conservative. ‘In order to change the outcome, much, much more money is needed. Just how much more? We know, because just talking about it is one of the things that got the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny, fired in February. In an interview in December 2023, Zaluzhny pointed out that a mere 61 billion USD would not suffice to liberate all of Ukraine. That, he said, would require five to seven times that amount, or $350-400 billion.’…

“Even if the money was sufficient, it would not provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs because the weapons are not available for purchase… And even if the West could produce the weapons, there is the question of whether they could deliver them to Ukraine on time… For all these reasons, the $61 billion aid package will not provide the promised victory. The one thing it will do is prolong the war and continue the loss of Ukrainian life and land.”

Ted Snider, American Conservative

“Republican voters did not support any of this… It’s increasingly clear a majority of Republican voters believe the U.S. is spending too much on the conflict. [There was] a Gallup poll from two weeks ago and a CBS poll from April 15. The Associated Press found similar results last month. All the way back in November, Fox News found only 35 percent of Republicans supported continuing aid to Ukraine.”

Emily Jashinsky, The Federalist

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