All that matters for Washington is that the pendulum doesn’t swing toward normalized relations and rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia.
American motives, expressed in Antony Blinken’s speech, are clear: From the point of view of U.S. interests, Ukraine should be a deterrent to Russia.
However, even if the United States doubles military assistance to our country, it will not be enough to change the Armed Forces of Ukraine qualitatively and to rearm them. Just compare the amount of military aid to Iraq and Afghanistan with the amount that is allocated to Ukraine and everything will become clear. The United States allocates to Ukraine exactly as much as necessary to fulfill this geopolitical mission: to be a deterrent to Russia, neither more nor less.
It is important for the United States for the pendulum not to swing toward normalized relations and rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia. It is a position of which Blinken made no secret before he became secretary of state and one to which he will adhere from now on.
Therefore, Ukraine is just a beneficial tool in U.S. hands. If Ukraine had a different mission — for example, to become a showcase for Eastern Europe — then we would witness, at the very least, American companies investing in new industries in our country and the economic modernization of Ukraine. To a large extent, it is we who are to blame for this kind of attitude: Asking for money has become too much of a habit with us. Again and again our Western partners, responding to this request, felt cheated in not getting what they had hoped for.
In any case, we will not witness any drastic changes any time soon in the volume and nature of assistance to Ukraine that would have a systemic effect on the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the economy of our country. Alas, Ukraine is still a peripheral issue for the United States.
It is easy to guess exactly how strengthened support for Ukraine by the U.S. will manifest itself. We are talking about the doubling of the amount of Washington’s military assistance to Ukraine. It has long been said that military assistance received by our country does not lead to any changes — not in the strategic balance or the correlation of forces in eastern Ukraine. Even the Javelin missiles that the U.S. gave us are kept far from the front line.
At the same time, we should not expect that increased support will be manifested by U.S. participation in the negotiation process for settling the conflict in the Donbass region and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. There does not seem much likelihood for that to happen. For a long time and more than once, the United States was invited to join the Normandy Format, but these offers did not strike a chord with the United States. Participation in such negotiations implies a certain responsibility; that, obviously, does not figure in the U.S. plans. They already have enough influence in the situation but, essentially, without any responsibility.
Therefore, we should not expect Washington to take any concrete steps to return Donbass and Crimea to Ukraine’s jurisdiction. They won’t do what they are definitely supposed to do: The United States will not fight for Ukraine.
The author, Andrii Zolotarov, is a political scientist, head of the Third Sector Analytical Center.