WASHINGTON/ KYIV: The words “as long as it takes” have become a rallying cry for American officials as they support Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion, signaling an open-ended commitment to help Kyiv.
US President Joe Biden put it bluntly on Tuesday when he said in a speech that the United States and its allies will “not tire” of backing Ukraine, a message seemingly directed at his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Since Russia launched its assault a year ago, the US has provided billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, which experts say is necessary not only to back Ukrainians but to advance US national interests.
Despite opposition from some US politicians, Washington should be able to maintain this level of support to Kyiv in the long term, analysts argue.
“This policy is definitely sustainable,” said Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Miles told media that, while the assistance seems significant in terms of the dollar amount when put in the context of the entire US government budget, the numbers are “not overly large pieces of the whole pie”.
“The amounts of money we’re talking about are, I think, a pretty small price to pay if you look at what the alternative is, what it would mean for Vladimir Putin to succeed, for not just the United States and its place in the world but in fact for the entire global commons.” Washington marked the first anniversary of the invasion on Friday by announcing new aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, the two main tools it has used to back Kyiv. “The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements for as long as it takes,” the Pentagon said on Friday.
The US Congress approved more than $100bn for Ukraine through four spending bills last year funds that the Biden administration has been dispensing through periodic military, humanitarian and budgetary aid to Kyiv.
According to the Treasury Department, the US government spent $6.27 trillion overall in the 2022 fiscal year.
“We have learned repeatedly in the 20th century that appeasement or hiding from reality doesn’t work. It only encourages the aggressor,” said Igor Lukes, a professor of international affairs at Boston University’s Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies.
Lukes added that, if Putin were to conquer Ukraine and get to its western borders, Russia would be “eyeball to eyeball” with several NATO countries, including Poland and Romania.
The US-led alliance has a collective defence pact, meaning an attack on one country is considered an attack on all.
“Opposing Putin now and opposing him in Ukraine is an American national interest,” Lukes told media.
He said the war in Ukraine is “clear-cut” foreign aggression by one sovereign nation against another, making it a global matter. “The war is not about Ukraine only. It’s also about us,” he explained.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed that assessment at the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
“Nations around the world continue to stand with Ukraine because we all recognise that, if we abandon Ukraine, we abandon the UN Charter itself and the principles and rules that make all countries safer and more secure,” Blinken said. (Int’l News Desk)