Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
August 13, 2023
It is a good question for Biden: what US is ‘trying to achieve’ in Ukraine? It is not too late, but if the question was posted to Biden before the proxy war even got started on February 24, 2022, that would make more sense. Because many innocent lives and billions of dollars could have been saved as Biden would not have a real convincing argument and justification of the cost for the proxy war. Another important question for Biden was his exit strategy? Or did the US ever have a realistic goal for the proxy war?
It is proper for the US Congress to express US frustration on this proxy war: Americans are tired of funding endless wars and want policies that not only help restore fiscal sanity in Washington, but also put America and American citizens first. Unfortunately, the US allies, or the leading democracies of the world, all jumped in with huge amount of cash and hardware “donated” to Ukraine, are also stuck right now. Their people have the same frustrations as the US congress, but sadly they are not in the driver’s seat because “America and American citizens interest” is always first.
Progress of the long-waited Ukraine Counteroffensive is not a real issue. Because the counteroffensive, at its best, is to recover some Ukraine lands held by Russia after the proxy war. It may enhance Ukraine’s position at the peace bargaining table, but it will never a “knock-out” win so that Russia will beg for peace.
Ukraine’s attacks targets inside Russia are irresponsible. Because it is an unnecessary escalation and provocation that may create a direct military confrontation of Russia against NATO. It is a sign that the west is losing control of the proxy war. Maybe it is Zelenskyy’s only hope to end this proxy war with a World War III!
Ohio Republican demands Biden ‘explicitly’ say what US is ‘trying to achieve’ in Ukraine after funding request
Fri, August 11, 2023 at 10:32 AM PDT
An Ohio Republican is demanding President Biden “explicitly” say what the U.S. is “trying to achieve” in Ukraine after the White House’s latest funding request.
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, led a letter with 11 of his colleagues to Biden calling on the president to be transparent on what the $13 billion appropriations request in Ukraine will be going toward.
“We are writing to express our strong opposition to your most recent supplemental appropriations request of $40 billion, including $24 billion for Ukraine,” Davidson and the Republicans wrote. “This request exacerbates your administration’s out-of-control deficit spending and circumvents the bipartisan debt ceiling agreement.”
Davidson and the Republicans wrote that before “Congress can responsibly finance the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine,” the Biden administration “has an obligation to explain, explicitly and officially, what the U.S. is trying to achieve in Ukraine.”
The lawmakers called on the president to “withdraw” his multibillion-dollar appropriations request until he provides “Congress with a comprehensive strategy and mission for U.S. involvement in Ukraine.”
They also warned that without “a defined mission, there is no way to develop clear objectives, allocate the proper resources, conduct rigorous oversight, or hold officials accountable for success or failure.”
“By requesting a supplemental appropriations package, you are putting [the] U.S. on a path toward a government shutdown by violating the debt ceiling agreement,” the lawmakers wrote. “On June 3, 2023, you signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which suspended the debt ceiling through January 1, 2025.”
“In addition, this law established new discretionary spending limits for the next two fiscal years. For FY2024, these spending caps were set at $886 billion for national defense and $704 billion for non-defense programs,” they continued.
“You cannot bypass the law you just signed,” the lawmakers wrote. “This request should have been included in the President’s FY24 Budget Request and put through the traditional appropriations process.”
Davidson and his GOP colleagues called on Biden to “rescind” his multi-billion-dollar request “and adhere to the spending limitations established by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.”
An administration official told Fox News Digital there was an understanding that the spending caps did not preclude emergency legislation and referred to Biden’s request as emergency legislation.
The Biden administration is requesting Congress spend six times more on supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia than on the border and fentanyl crisis plaguing the nation, according to a new emergency spending request submitted Thursday.
The additional spending request comes after Congress approved $48 billion in funding for Ukraine in December, prior to Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives.
Approval of the funding is expected to be an uphill battle in the House, where McCarthy has promised he would not bring a supplemental Ukraine funding bill to the floor. Many conservatives have been vocally opposed to giving Ukraine more money without more accountability.
Is Ukraine’s counteroffensive turning out to be a bust?
Drone attacks hit Moscow, but Russian defenses continue to hold on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine.
Senior White House Correspondent
Thu, August 10, 2023 at 1:05 PM PDT
In recent days and weeks, Ukraine has launched drone attacks deep inside Russia — including at Moscow itself. The attacks have rattled Russians, who, for the most part, have been accustomed not to have to think about the war that President Vladimir Putin launched almost 18 months ago.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said that his only goal is to reconquer territory that Russia has illegally taken in its two invasions of Ukraine, first in 2014 and then, on a much larger scale, in 2022.
“We are not fighting on their territory,” Zelensky said in the late spring of 2022. “We have the war on our territory.”
Attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles carrying explosives are a low-risk but potent effort to bring at least some of the pain back home to Russia. But they are also something of a sideshow, some say, when the counteroffensive now taking place in eastern Ukraine is far more important for the country’s future.
Attacks deep inside Russia
Drones can be tools, or toys. They can also be “kamikaze” weapons, sent remotely to explode over distant targets. Although Ukraine has used drones since the start of the war to harass Russian forces close to the frontlines, as well as military installations inside Russia itself, it has lately been making incursions deep into Russian territory. (Russia has kamikaze drones of its own, sent by Iran.)
This week, drones struck both of Moscow’s airports and, in a separate attack, a Russian ship in the Black Sea. Russia said it shot down two drones apparently intended to hit Moscow, as well as 11 headed for the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
In recent weeks, drones twice hit a Moscow skyscraper.
“Those who work in Moskva-City towers are the privileged class of government officials and business people,” a Ukrainian official said of the skyscraper attack. “They saw with their own eyes that Russian authorities are incapable of and cannot protect even their social group. There is no air defense, air raid alerts, bomb shelters for them.”
Drones even reached the Kremlin itself in May.
“In some ways it’s more effective than what Ukraine can do in the counteroffensive,” Michal Baranowski, managing director of the German Marshall Fund East, recently told The Hill. “Ukrainians are basically trying to show the Russian elites that look, there is a cost to what Putin is doing.”
Some criticize Ukrainian tactic
Some argue that while the drone attacks may satisfy supporters in the West, they don’t further the goal of winning back lands conquered by Russia.
“Thus the first serious war of the third millennium must be fought on the ground — quite a comedown from the ‘post-kinetic’ cyber and information warfare that had been confidently predicted by both Western and Russian generals,” writes the historian Edward Luttwak. “This is a war that must be fought by sheer, grinding, attrition, just like the First World War on the Western Front.”
A rare condemnation of Ukraine also came from the United Nations, most of whose members have stood against Putin’s aggression. “We are against any and all attacks on civilian facilities, and we want them to stop,” a U.N. spokesman said earlier this week.
Counteroffensive drags on
The fate of Ukraine will be determined by what happens on the battlefield in the country’s eastern regions, where a long-planned counteroffensive has tried to break through Russian defensive lines.
The counterassault has been slow because Russia spent months preparing, digging and installing antitank barriers. Zelensky has acknowledged that the pace and extent of progress have not met expectations either at home or abroad.
The danger is that Western allies’ impatience and Ukrainians’ frustration could set in, especially as another winter of war approaches. “Our expectations were higher,” a 36-year-old woman in Kyiv whose partner is fighting on the frontlines told the Washington Post. “If it’s going on, it’s going slow.”