America’s Isolationism Is Killing Ukraine

Ending the imperialism of the Kremlin has become of secondary importance to Republicans. Domestic issues are more pressing. The result will be disastrous.

America’s isolationism has ended tragically for the world many times, as it did during the interwar period. The rejection by Congress of President Woodrow Wilson’s policy of intervening in Europe’s security paved the way for way for Adolf Hitler to unleash World War II.

Today, there is a growing risk that the same thing will happen with Russian imperialism. Vladimir Putin is preparing his country for a long, ruthless war. Next year, he wants to allocate one-third of the country’s budget — around $110 billion — for military spending. The White House plans to respond by supporting Ukraine with $60 billion, which constitutes just 0.2% of the U.S. national income.

And yet, there are indications that approving this expenditure will be difficult. Until a few months ago, one out of every four Republican members of Congress was skeptical about further support for Ukraine. Today, they are all standing up against Joe Biden’s proposals.

Officially, Republicans are demanding that the U.S. link aid to Kyiv with a radical plan to limit immigration from Mexico and a comprehensive White House strategy for the war in Ukraine. However, the logic behind these actions is important. This is “America First,” the assumption that despite such a dramatic situation like the one taking place on the Ukrainian-Russian front, domestic matters take priority in decisions made in Washington. This will have disastrous consequences not only for Ukrainians. How much will Israel, Taiwan and other U.S. allies of the U.S. be able to rely on America if they see it abandon Ukraine in its hour of need?

A sign of how the geopolitical system will change as a result of this is the shift of foreign policy in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both petromonarchies and, until recently, faithful U.S. allies, welcomed Putin on Wednesday. They believe that engaging with the Kremlin will strengthen them economically and politically enough to become independent to a certain extent from their American ally.

Zelenskyy Cancels Speech to the Senate

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy unexpectedly canceled a speech via video link to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. He concluded that the dispute between Republicans and Democrats was so deep there was no chance of reaching an agreement. This bodes ill for the vote on Biden’s proposed aid package. Athough Republicans are a minority in the Senate (49-51), it will take 60 votes to pass the aid bill.

And even if it passes, the bill will have a harder time in the House of Representatives where Republicans hold a majority, albeit a small one. The GOP is under growing pressure from Donald Trump, who has cast an extremely isolationist overtone on the immigration proposal. The clear favorite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Trump controls the party with an iron fist. If by some miracle aid to Ukraine makes it through Congress, Trump’s return to the White House would certainly mean a radical reduction of the U.S. support for Ukraine. According to Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office who was in Washington on Wednesday, it would mean Kyiv’s defeat in the war with Russia.

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