Does the US face a bottomless pit of military aid as Ukraine crisis drags on?
Published: Jul 11, 2022 09:48 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has continued without an end in sight. Although US President Joe Biden vowed to stand with Ukraine for "as long as it takes," war and Ukraine fatigue has been witnessed in the US and across many of its Western allies, with the emergence of energy and food crises, soaring inflation and massive spending on Ukraine. 

In response, there are increasing doubts on how long the US and the West's support to Ukraine can sustain. For example, the New York Times on Saturday cited US officials and analysts claiming that it would be hard for the US and its allies to sustain the same level of material support as war fatigue grows on both sides of the Atlantic. 

"Originally, the US intended to exploit Ukraine as a pivotal pawn to weaken Russia. Ironically, instead of dragging down Russia, the situation has been used by Moscow, in turn, to pin down the US and the Western countries." Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times, "The US' strategy may backfire on itself. Judging from the current situation, it has become increasingly difficult for Ukraine to defeat Russia. The longer the Ukraine crisis lasts, the more detrimental to the US and the West it will become."

Several US media outlets have expressed their concern over the US' massive spending on Ukraine. Fox News reported on Saturday that the US' funds so far committed to Kiev have already exceeded total US costs over the first five years in Afghanistan.

Different from the war in Afghanistan, which was launched and operated by the US, the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a proxy war against Russia waged by the US, which involves many uncontrollable elements. Against this backdrop, "The US and its allies will soon find out that their support for Ukraine is actually a bottomless pit and will end up bearing the consequences," Song noted. 

The Biden administration on Friday announced another $400 million military drawdown package to Ukraine as it attempts to fend off Russian advances, added Fox News.

Washington's practices of drawdown its own defense articles and services to support Ukraine is little more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. When Washington hopes to ramp up its war spending to aid Ukraine, it has to cut other parts of its defense program. 

Massive aid needed to support Ukraine has put the US into a dilemma. If the US continues to support Ukraine in this proxy war, it will be an increasingly heavy burden to the US, further dragging down the US' economy and sending inflation even higher. But if Washington gives up halfway, all its previous support will go down the drain. As the party that actually incited the Ukraine crisis, the US is shooting itself in the foot.

The US has authorized $54 billion in military and other assistance to Ukraine, but doubts continue as to whether the funds are enough to sustain the country; while in the EU, its plan to offer assistance to Ukraine has faced significant obstacles, with a recent proposal of 1 billion euros stalling as Germany blocked a larger package of nearly 9 billion euros. More people in the US and the West will realize that as it is hard for Ukraine to obtain a success against Russia, massive Western assistance to Ukraine will achieve nothing for themselves and only trigger more problems. A growing proportion of the population in the US and the West will soon find out that it will be difficult to sustain the same level of assistance to Ukraine. 

"More EU countries have begun to consider pulling back. As will the US," Song said. 

The US and the West may have, finally and embarrassingly, figured out which side has slid into a mire.