U.S. Congress raises issue of stopping aid to Ukraine for the first time – Georgy Bovt

First of all, one should not exaggerate the significance of the “information attack” from that part of the Republican Party (RP) that belongs to the “hard Trumpists”.

Capitol

Capitol

Ivan Shilov © IA REGNUM

Firstly, the status of this initiative is a “non-binding resolution”, which the House of Representatives passes a lot, but they only reflect certain moods of legislators, nothing more. Moreover, the lower house of Congress traditionally “does not rule” in foreign policy – this is the prerogative of the Senate.

For example, last autumn the House of Representatives adopted a similar (non-binding) resolution calling for Russia to be recognized as a sponsor of international terrorism. The White House successfully ignored her.

Secondly, even such a document is unlikely to be adopted by the chamber as a whole.

Congress is clearly not yet ready for such a turn. And it is set to “continue the war.”

This move by the “Trumpists” can rather be regarded as the first “red swallow” that has flown out of the nest of the RP (its party color is red), which has yet to – and this is far from a fact – transform into a formidable “elephant” (symbol of the RP), who will trample on the blue “democratic donkeys” (the donkey is the symbol of the Democratic Party, and its party color is blue).

Among the “Group of 11” are the most radical, far-right supporters Donald Trump in Congress.

By the way, they resisted the election of the former leader of the Republican minority as the speaker of the House for quite some time. Kevin McCarthy. And they can also get on his nerves, because the majority of the Republican Party is very shaky. So somehow they can force themselves to be reckoned with, especially by insisting on “tighter control” over how the funds allotted to Ukraine are spent.

Trying to justify his initiative, Congressman Matt Getz slightly distorted a quote from one speech Joe Biden in March last year. According to Getz, “Biden must have forgotten his forecast from March 2022, which suggested that arming Ukraine with military equipment would escalate the conflict, all the way to a “third world war.”

Matt Goetz

Matt Goetz

© picture alliance/Consolidated/TASS

In fact, Biden had something else in mind: that NATO intervention would lead to a “third world”, and therefore, they say, it is necessary to arm Ukraine. However, the voter (right-wing Republicans in this case) hears the first and will not remember the second.

To what extent do the sentiments reflected in the Trumpist draft resolution correspond to the sentiments in American society as a whole?

So far not very consistent, but the Republican right hopes to ride the emerging trend of diminishing enthusiasm for continued support for Kyiv indefinitely. The number of those Americans who say that the US is giving too much support to Ukraine is growing, albeit slowly.

About a quarter of those polled (26%) now say the US is “too much support for Ukraine,” 31% say America is giving what it needs, and 20% would like the US to increase aid. According to a January 18 Pew poll, the proportion of adults who think the United States is helping Ukraine too much has increased by 6 percentage points since last September and by 19 percentage points since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine.

This shift towards skepticism has more to do with growing sentiment among Republicans, who say the US is “too much in support of Ukraine.” This is the opinion of 40% of the supporters of the Republic of Poland, compared with 32% in the fall, this is much higher than the 9% who held this view in March last year.

But there has also been a rise in the proportion of Democrats who say the US is “too much in support of Ukraine.” True, there are only 15% of them, compared with 5% in March last year.

Curiously, the partisan divide has widened over whether the military conflict in Ukraine poses a “serious threat to US interests.”

In March last year, Republicans and Democrats were about equally likely to say yes, they were: 51% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats thought so.

United States Congress Room

United States Congress Room

© EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/TASS

Now, the proportion of Americans who see the ongoing conflict as a “serious threat to US interests” has declined in both parties, but to a greater extent among Republicans (29% versus 43% for Democrats).

The fall in the “relevance” of the conflict for America itself is important and may affect the future, but not immediately. It only has an immediate effect when American soldiers begin to die abroad.

In general, “pro-Ukrainian” sentiments are still strong in American society.

According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in December 2022, 65% of Americans said they were in favor of at least continuing to supply arms to Ukraine, and 66% said they supported sending money. Worse, almost one in three Americans supported the idea of ​​sending American soldiers directly to Ukraine.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 43% of Americans say they approve of the Biden administration’s policies on the conflict in Ukraine (roughly in line with his overall approval rating), but about a third (34%) disapprove. 22% are undecided.

And those proportions have barely changed since May 2022, when the question was last asked.

As for the amount of assistance that the “Trumpists” want to stop, they mention the amount of $110 billion that the United States has allegedly allocated to Ukraine since February 2022, and which covers military, financial and humanitarian assistance, as well as 27, $4 billion “to strengthen security” in general.

To all appearances, we are talking not only about approved appropriations, but also about promised ones, not all of which have already reached the destination and not all of them have yet been formally allocated.

More accurate numbers look like this.

They are also huge and, if it goes on like this, will soon be comparable to the costs of the Vietnam War, which cost the United States about $138.9 billion from 1965 to 1974. In today’s dollars, that’s about 1 trillion.

So far, for the whole of 2022, the United States has allocated assistance to Ukraine in the amount of about $50 billion (they have already been spent). About half of that money, $24.9 billion, went to military spending.

American MLRS HIMARS supplied to Ukraine

American MLRS HIMARS supplied to Ukraine

© EPA/VALDA KALNINA/TASS

By comparison, U.S. military aid to Israel—the longtime largest recipient of U.S. military aid—has been averaging $3.5 billion to $3.8 billion a year recently.

$9.6 billion was released to Ukraine for “non-military purposes”, for example, for medical care and food.

For comparison, under approximately this item (“foreign aid”) in 2021, Kyiv received only $343 million from Washington, which at that time covered both military and economic assistance.

Currently, the American ruling elite as a whole is set not only to continue helping Ukraine, but proceeds from the fact that such a policy will last for many years.

So, if the majority of the appropriations already approved today are designed for spending until 2025, then there are already such programs, expenditure items and funds that are calculated until 2030. Many weapons have yet to be ordered and manufactured.

For example, factories producing NATO-standard 155 mm shells are planning to expand production in order to reach new monthly volumes of 90,000 instead of the current 14,000 in two (sic!) Years. Approximately the same for the production of HIMARS and other weapons.

These are the planning horizons of the American military-industrial complex. That is, for years. And in the modern history of America, there is no case when the political class would go strongly across the interests of the military-industrial complex of its country.

So, in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, to which, as polls show, the American society is slowly “getting used to” in its current form, something must happen so that both the current public sentiments and the dominant sentiments in the political class break down.

So far, 11 “trumpists”, alas, do not make the weather. But the fog is already catching up.

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