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Ukrainian aid today makes a winning grand strategy possible next year


Daily Caller News Foundation

When Russia launched its full-scale war on Ukraine in 2022, American opinion across the board backed Ukraine while expecting it to lose. Ukraine didn’t lose and is holding its own despite severe shortages of everything. Yet many Republicans openly now oppose further American support for Ukraine. What happened?

The bottom-line answer is simple enough – Joe Biden didn’t happen.

Why, exactly, did the Biden administration ask for $60 billion to support Ukraine? What is Biden’s grand strategy? Biden has yet to explain any strategy at all.

An inferred strategy from Biden’s comments and actions would be that Russia must not be allowed to win. Agreed. The new axis of evil of Russia, China, and Iran must be defeated.

But Biden also doesn’t want Ukraine to win, meaning pushing Russia out of Donbas, Crimea, and other formerly Ukrainian territories. If Russia lost outright, Russian President Putin might do something really bad elsewhere, the Bidenistas fret.

Biden asking for Ukrainian aid without intending Ukraine to win means that America’s de facto policy is for as many Russian soldiers to die as necessary for Putin to come to his senses. As Putin cares little about dead Russians, we’re talking tens or even hundreds of thousands of dead Russians.

In turn, roughly as many Ukrainians must die in the process of killing so many Russians. In summary, Biden’s grand strategy is for perhaps hundreds of thousands to die until the two sides, exhausted, negotiate a ceasefire in place.

If Ukraine gets the $60 billion in U.S. aid, will that allow it to win the war? No. This aid just means it can war more effectively, holding its territory while improving its strategic position for later.

If Ukraine doesn’t get the $60 billion in aid, does that mean Russia will eventually win the war? No, again.

For starters, Russia’s militarism has finally stunned western Europe from its long slumber. Europe is stepping up to the plate, increasingly supplying with aircraft, air defense, guns, and ammunition. And Europe is reshaping its industrial capacity to produce far more war material than heretofore.

Also, while Russia can conscript raw recruits by the bushel, the bulk of Russia’s professional military is spent. Its experienced non-commissioned officers and competent field commanders are dead or out of action.

And while Russia can conscript recruits, it cannot train them beyond knowing how to button their tunics. Training professional soldiers in small-unit tactics, handling various weapons, etc. requires time and competent trainers, both of which are in very short supply.

If the aid doesn’t mean Ukraine will win and the lack of aid doesn’t mean Ukraine will lose, then why should even a Ukraine-sympathetic conservative support be sending another $60 billion? It’s a fair question for which there is a very good answer.

Ukraine will be fighting for time and position for the balance of 2024. Russian forces are only capable of small, local attacks because they lack, well, just about everything needed to do more. Further, Ukraine’s drone operators are now the world’s experts at killing massed troops. Decisive results from Ukrainian operations will have to wait for 2025.

What else happens in 2025? It’s just possible the United States will have a new president with a far better grand strategy than Biden’s strategy of waiting for many thousands of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers to die. It’s just possible that new president won’t be afraid of Russia losing. Providing Ukraine aid in 2024 means Ukraine and the new American president will be far better positioned for a grand strategy of winning.

J.D. Foster is the former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget and former chief economist and senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He now resides in relative freedom in the hills of Idaho.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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