Written by Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher
US President Joe Biden should cut aid to Ukraine to support his country’s economy instead, retired Colonel Douglas McGregor wrote on X (formerly Twitter). His voice is just the latest to echo that the Biden administration needs to end all funding for Ukraine, with other voices becoming especially louder and projected following the announcement of Israel’s war against Gaza.
Faced with a weak economy and lower prices on Direct Treasury bonds, the Biden Administration and the “Washington ‘uniparty’” on Capitol Hill really have two options, wrote McGregor, a current political analyst in numerous media outlets.
The first option is to “cut U.S. and Allied losses in Ukraine, reduce discretionary spending, and focus on domestic emergencies at the Southern Border and in America’s largest cities,” the commentator highlighted.
The specialist was referring to the dramatic rise in crime in US cities, governed mostly by Democratic politicians, and the unstoppable increase in illegal migrants that has been recorded in recent months on the border with Mexico, which has even caused Biden to break a campaign promise after he approved the construction of a 32-kilometre wall in Texas to try to stop migratory flows.
As a second option, McGregor ironically suggested de-escalating the conflict with Moscow. “Make Peace You Fools!” his post concluded.
In early October, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in a presentation to the Valdai Club plenary session that the halt in US support for Ukraine was due to budget problems but that they would eventually find money or print more. Congress approved almost $45 billion in aid for Kiev in December 2022, funds intended to last until the end of September. Despite the money and military equipment delivered, Ukrainian troops have not progressed in their counteroffensive against Russian forces.
However, Putin’s warning to the West was made before Israel declared war on Gaza following a brutal attack by Hamas on October 7, which completely shifted the world’s attention from Ukraine and changed the dimensions of aid.
Discussions in Washington have now gone in three directions: aid for Ukraine and Israel, aid only for Israel, no more foreign aid.
At the same time, the Republican failure to select a new House speaker risks complicating White House efforts to send billions of dollars in additional US military aid to Israel and Ukraine as lawmakers prepare for a third week of chaos in the Capitol.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the president had clarified that he would ask Democratic and Republican legislators to support a new financing package for Israel and Ukraine. He explained that the proposed package’s value would be “significantly higher” than the $2 billion previously reported.
“The number is going to be significantly higher than that, but it will, as I said, certainly include the necessary military equipment to defend freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine, and to help Israel defend itself as it fights its terrorist threat,” Sullivan said.
The White House intends for both aids to be voted together in the same initiative to overcome the growing opposition in Congress to continue financing Kiev after the failure of the counteroffensive and the multiple allegations of government corruption in Ukraine. Biden’s problem, though, is that many Republicans have already said they would not back any Israel aid package also containing aid for Ukraine.
Axios reported on October 16 that “Four House Republicans walked away from conversations with House GOP speaker nominee Jim Jordan under the impression he’ll allow a floor vote on linking Ukraine funding with Israel funding if he wins the gavel.”
The new candidate is legislator Jim Jordan, from the state of Ohio and close to Donald Trump, a charismatic leader of the party and current favourite to obtain the former president’s nomination for the 2024 electoral process when the US votes for its president again. The lawmakers have not yet obtained the 217 votes necessary to keep the position. Due to this, it is not known when the US can send funds to Israel and Ukraine again.
At the beginning of October, Congress approved a law to avoid the closure of the government, with which it financed the operation of the public administration for 45 days, but without including in the agreement extra money for Kiev after they did not approve Biden’s request to send an extra $20 billion.
For its part, Israel already receives $3.8 billion a year in financing from the US, the second largest recipient of US economic aid after Ukraine, but the Biden government has promised to allocate more funds to finance the war that the Jewish state has launched against Hamas and Gaza. We will likely begin seeing a decline in military aid for Ukraine as we see an increase in Israel.