Boots & Sabers

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0750, 07 Dec 23

Republicans Willing to Trade Border Security for More Ukraine Funding

This is a positive development. Even the squishy Republican Senators are drawing a hard line here.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the advance of a $110 billion (£87 billion) package of wartime funding for Ukraine and Israel as they pressed their demands for tougher immigration measures at the Mexico border.


The vote, a 49-51 tally that fell short of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for moving ahead, came just hours after President Joe Biden said it was “stunning” that Congress has not yet approved tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance for Ukraine.


His administration warned of dire consequences for Kyiv – and a “gift” to Russia’s Vladimir Putin – if lawmakers don’t act.


The vote was along party lines, with every Senate Republican voting “no” along with Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who generally votes with Democrats but had expressed concerns about funding Israel’s “current inhumane military strategy” against Palestinians.

The bleating from Biden that the war in Ukraine is a “battle for freedom,” or something, has worn thin. He has not articulated what our pressing national interest is, and he has not articulated what the out strategy is. Meanwhile, Ukraine has suspended elections, suppressed speech, and generally turned into yet another dictatorship. Do we really care if a Ukrainian dictator or a Russian dictator lords over that part of the world? How much more American treasure and, potentially, American lives are worth it?

Furthermore, it is clear that the Ukrainian War has ground to a stalemate. Lines have not moved substantially for most of the year despite the big Ukrainian summer offensive. Russia will continue to push and has more resources than Ukraine. The only thing that will change the dynamic is a massive influx of arms and, probably, foreign soldiers to change the power balance. But there is no appetite in Europe or America to spend more, risk their lives, or widen the war with Russia.

Given that’s the case, America would best serve the world by using our power to bring the war to a close as quickly as possible in a negotiated settlement. It will mean that Russia “won” the war by seizing several large parts of Ukraine by force of arms. But Ukraine will survive as a smaller country. And the bloodletting of a generation of Ukrainians and Russians will stop. At this point, that is the best foreseeable outcome for Ukraine and the longer they wait, the less likely it will be.


0750, 07 December 2023


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