Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 5, 2023
It is not surprising that less people around the world is interested in financing the Ukraine proxy war now than when the war started. It is not only that the proxy war has lasted more than 20 months, but:
- All the money and firearms supplied to Ukraine has not produced any visible result.
- The cost or suffering of this proxy war is passed along to everyone: the global economy is in bad shape.
- No one, not even President Biden or President Zelenskyy, has any exit strategy. They only insist that they will “win” at “the end.” But there is no clear definition for winning and when.
- They reject any notion of a “cease fire” and settle the grievances with Russia through negotiations.
- The US and many allies will have general elections sooner or later, funding the proxy war will be an issue. Should Ukraine hold an election or public referendum on war vs peace soon? Are we fighting for democracy? Give the Ukrainians a chance to express their will!
Fewer Americans support arming Ukraine: Poll
Thu, October 5, 2023 at 12:13 PM PDT·
The share of Americans across the political spectrum who support sending arms to Ukraine has dropped, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey released Thursday.
The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, showed only 41 percent of respondents said they agreed that the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine, down from 65 percent of respondents who said the same in a June 2023 survey.
That decline in support for sending weapons to Ukraine extends across parties. Democratic support dropped from 81 percent in June to 52 percent in October.
Republican support dropped from 56 percent to 35 percent in the same period. Independent support dropped from 57 percent to 44 percent.
The decline in support comes after Congress passed a continuing resolution Saturday to extend government funding until Nov. 17 that did not include funding for Ukraine. Many members have vowed to pass separate legislation to provide more aid in the immediate future, however.
President Biden has made an additional request to Congress for more assistance for Ukraine, and the White House has warned of potential consequences of not passing more aid.
The issue has also become central in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, as a more isolationist view of foreign policy has dominated hard-right flanks of the party.
The latest poll showed support for sending financial aid to Ukraine to be even lower than that for sending arms. In the October survey, 37 percent of respondents agreed that the U.S. should provide financial assistance, including 51 percent of Democrats, 26 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independents.
Another recent poll showed a larger share of Americans backing both types of aid for Ukraine, however. In a poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released Wednesday, 61 percent of respondents supported sending economic assistance to the country and 63 percent supported sending arms and military supplies.
Though that survey found support to be higher across the political spectrum, it also showed a partisan split, with 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents supporting economic aid and 50 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents supporting military aid.
Cracks deepen in Ukraine’s support with US discord, Europe elections
Wed, October 4, 2023 at 3:00 AM PDT
The U.S. and European coalition supporting Ukraine is showing significant cracks nearly 20 months after Russia’s invasion, worrying officials in Kyiv and its backers that Russian President Vladimir Putin could succeed simply by waiting out the war.
Ukraine aid is at the center of partisan spending fights in Washington, with a majority of House Republicans voting against additional funding in votes last week. Polish officials anxious over elections are lashing out at Kyiv. And in NATO ally Slovakia, a party headed by a pro-Kremlin politician came out on top in recent parliamentary elections.
Ukraine’s backers in Washington are scrambling to shore up support to fulfill President Biden’s request to deliver on $24 billion in new economic and military assistance for Kyiv.
“Time is not our friend,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.
“We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs but we need Congress to act to make sure there is no disruption in our support.”
And Biden was put in the awkward position of having to reassure allies in Europe, Asia and NATO on a phone call Tuesday morning that despite the chaos in Congress, the U.S. was steadfast in its support for Kyiv and commitments to allies.
Ukrainian officials and their supporters downplayed the immediate effects of the D.C. spending battle and schisms in Europe.
And in a signal of support, European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell held an extraordinary meeting in Kyiv with representatives of the 27-member bloc, including at least 23 foreign ministers.
“By coming to Kyiv, the European Union’s foreign ministers sent a strong message of solidarity and support to Ukraine in the face of this unjust and illegitimate war,” Borell said.
The growing tensions over Ukraine aid, and mounting fatigue among Kyiv’s partners, isn’t surprising to close observers.
“I think it would have been naive to think that there would have been this easy-going, constant flow of unquestionable support,” said Luke Coffey, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington focused on national security and foreign policy.
“We’re entering the 20th month of this large-scale invasion and we’re knocking on the door of two years. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, a lot of domestic political changes in the European countries, unfortunately we have our own issues we’re debating here in the United States,” he added.
In America, Republican voters are growing increasingly pessimistic about continuing U.S. support for Ukraine, while Democratic support has ebbed but remained relatively strong, according to recent polls.
In Europe, war fatigue and domestic strain is playing out at the polls, with voters in some countries choosing leaders that are increasingly turning away from Kyiv.
“Europe has not stopped aiding Ukraine, but if you look at these elections one by one, the Ukraine and foreign policy and European policy elements to it are actually becoming stronger and stronger,” said Tara Varma, a visiting fellow in the Center of the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.
“And they are part of the reasons why citizens are voting for what used to be splinter, marginal parties and now who are gaining more ground in the mainstream debate.”
In Slovakia, Robert Fico, the head of the populist SMER party, came out on top in polls Monday following a campaign where he called for cutting off military aid to Ukraine, opposed EU sanctions on Russia and pushed for a peace settlement between Moscow and Kyiv.
Ukraine’s supporters, which also expressing a desire for peace, say pushing Ukraine into negotiations will only serve to solidify Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian territory. They say Russia should end the fighting by withdrawing its invading forces.
While Hungary has taken in Ukrainian refugees, Budapest has maintained economic ties with Russia, refused to provide military support to Kyiv, slow-walked Sweden’s accession into NATO and raised the prospect of blocking Ukraine’s bid to join the EU.
And Ukraine is also a central issue in Poland’s elections set for Oct. 15. The ruling government, which has been a stalwart ally in Ukraine’s war, in recent weeks has fueled anti-Ukraine positions in an apparent bid to motivate voters.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted with fury last month when Poland said it would block Ukrainian grain shipments into the country in order to protect Polish farmers. And the Polish prime minister followed that by saying that Warsaw would not send military assistance beyond already established agreements.
Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, reportedly skipped out on traveling to Kyiv with his EU colleagues over ill health and because of a “period of decline” in Polish-Ukrainian relations.
“There are a lot of speculations whether Poland is taking this position very opportunistically as we’re moving towards election day,” said Varma, of the Brookings Institution.
“But at the same time, these declarations are made by the prime minister, the foreign minister; they’re made by people who have quite a lot of sway in Poland right now,” she added. “And they are a bit scary, because then suddenly you don’t have just one member state being an outlier but you have several member states going in one direction.”
Ukraine is working to guard against waning support by increasing its own capacity to develop weapons that are likely to dry up among allies, hosting an international defense industry conference in Kyiv late last month.
Zelensky, in an opening address, said the more than 250 military companies and 30 countries represented at the forum showed a readiness “to build the arsenal of the free world together with Ukraine and in Ukraine. A modern and powerful arsenal that will leave no chance for any aggressor.”
Coffey, of the Hudson Institute, said the concerns and challenges to solidarity and support for Ukraine were to be expected over the long-term. But he said overall support “remains, and I think it will remain for the foreseeable future.”
“It just requires statesmen and stateswomen to step up to the challenge and navigate us through all these challenges going into the future.”
This is where the future of Ukraine aid stands amid a House without a speaker
Thu, October 5, 2023 at 7:09 AM PDT
The removal of Kevin McCarthy from his role as House Speaker has cast a dark cloud over the debate in Congress over financial aid for Ukraine, as its counteroffensive against Russia grinds on with little change to the frontlines.