Darren Beattie: The "Ukraine Slush Fund" will not establish peace, it will prolong the war
Why Funding Ukraine Is Just Dead Wrong
By: Darren Beattie
May 15, 2022: Quietly, thoughtlessly, and ominously, America is sleepwalking towards a nuclear war.
Two weeks ago, the Biden Administration asked Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia. But in a divided Washington, the Uniparty has united in agreement that $33 billion is not enough. On Monday, Republicans and Democrats in Congress struck a deal to send Ukraine $40 billion in aid. Leaders unveiled the bill text on Tuesday, and voted on it within hours.
The bill raced through the House in the dark of night, with unanimous Democratic support. Of course, the phony left-populist poser Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “Squad” were on board. Republican support was overwhelming as well, but a few members did bravely stand against the tide.
They were 57 strong.
Matt Gaetz led the charge.
Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG) was right there alongside him.
On the other side, Nancy Pelosi wants to take food out of her neighbor’s mouths to buy weapons of war from Ukraine. Forget the babies who can’t get baby formula thanks to the federal government’s shenanigans.
Let them eat Javelins? We certainly don’t recall reading that one in the Bible.
For now, the aid package has been held up thanks to a gutsy objection from Sen. Rand Paul. Still, one senator can’t block it forever.
Adding in the several billion America has already sent to Ukraine, America is poised to spend $43 billion on this conflict in just seven months. And we’re not just sending Ukraine weapons. The U.S. Congress has volunteered our tax money to pay the salaries of its officials, as if they were long-distance contractors of the federal government. In a way, that’s exactly what they are. He who pays the piper, calls the tune.
Huge numbers are always getting thrown around in Washington, so it’s worth pausing to evaluate just what $43 billion means.
The $43 billion is roughly three times the final cost of President Trump’s unfinished border wall with Mexico.
If this U.S. aid were a national military budget, it would be the 10th-largest military budget in the world, just ahead of South Korea and well above countries like Italy, Australia, and Iran. Even if one excludes the non-military portions of the package, it exceeds the defense budgets of Israel.
Speaking of Israel, this six-month aid package exceeds all U.S. aid to Israel over the past decade.
$43 billion is more than the cost of any of the first eight years of the war in Afghanistan.
$43 billion handily exceeds the current budget of the Department of Justice, which has some 113,000 employees. It’s almost double the budget of NASA.
CNN has more details:
Included among the legislation’s allocations for defense is $6 billion to assist Ukrainian military and national security forces, according to a fact sheet released by House Democrats. The expenditure will go toward training, weapons, equipment, logistics and intelligence support as well as other needs.
There will also be almost $9 billion to help restock US equipment that has been sent to Ukraine. That comes as many lawmakers have raised concerns about replacing US stocks of weapons the US is giving to Ukraine, especially stingers and javelin missiles.
The bill also includes $6 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding, another way the Biden administration has been providing Ukraine with military assistance. USAI funding allows the administration to buy weapons from contractors and then provide those weapons to Ukraine, so this method does not draw directly from US stocks.
To address humanitarian needs, the bill will include $900 million to bolster refugee assistance, including housing, trauma support, and English language instruction for Ukrainians fleeing the country.
The measure provides an additional $54 million that will be used for public health and medical support for Ukrainian refugees.
And keep in mind, this is only to cover through next September. If the war is still grinding on then, and President Biden comes back asking for another $40 billion to cover another five months, America will end up spending $83 billion in one year on a war that our own soldiers are not even fighting in. For comparison, 1991’s Gulf War, which the U.S. actually fought in, cost the country just $14 billion in 2022 dollars.
Yet incredibly and depressingly, the consensus at the top of the GOP is that $43 billion for Ukraine is the single best and most important use of America’s dwindling wealth.
So far, most Republican criticism of Ukraine aid has focused on the wastefulness of it. With rampant inflation and shortages at home, a sieve on the border, and exploding crime rates, sending tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine is irresponsible, like a struggling middle class household splurging on a luxury car.
But we will go further. Even if America had unlimited wealth to throw around, sending $40 billion to Ukraine would be just plain wrong. Sending aid to Ukraine doesn’t make America safer, happier, or better off. It doesn’t even make Ukraine happier or better off. Instead, Americans are paying $40 billion for the “privilege” of raising our exposure to nuclear war, and condemning Ukraine to endless war.
If the Biden Administration cared about protecting America’s well-being, then instead of financing Ukraine’s war effort, it would be working for a negotiated end to the war by the quickest means possible.
Ukraine’s pre-war GDP was just $155 billion, so America’s latest aid package is equal to more than one-quarter of their economy. In America, a similar figure would be more than $5 trillion. America is not “supporting” Ukraine. Ukraine is totally and completely dependent on American support to continue effective resistance. If America stopped supplying President Zelensky’s war effort, he would have to make peace immediately. By extension, that means America has almost complete leverage in terms of telling Ukraine what peace deal it should accept. America should be using this power to negotiate with Russia, reach an agreeable long-term solution to the conflict, and then urge— even compel—Ukraine to accept it.
Instead, Biden is encouraging Ukraine to reject any peace deal, and writing a blank check to ensure the war can go on as long as possible.
This isn’t being done to help Ukraine, though. It’s only being done to hurt Russia, with the Ukrainians themselves seen as expendable cannon fodder. Rep. Dan Crenshaw even said so explicitly on Twitter Wednesday, bragging that the Ukraine war is a great way to spend money because it kills Russians, doesn’t kill Americans (for now), and the Ukrainian deaths as part of the bargain don’t count:
So far, one of the only leaders to realize this, in fact, is former President Trump.
Former President Donald Trump on Monday urged Ukrainian and Russian leaders to sign a peace deal soon, or ”everyone will be dead.” ”It doesn’t make sense that Russia and Ukraine aren’t sitting down and working out some kind of an agreement. If they don’t do it soon, there will be nothing left but death, destruction, and carnage,” Trump said in a statement Monday. ”This is a war that never should have happened, but it did. The solution can never be as good as it would have been before the shooting started, but there is a solution, and it should be figured out now—not later—when everyone will be dead!” [Newsmax]
Even legendary left-wing academic Noam Chomsky acknowledged that Trump is the only statesman of note in the West who has pointed the path towards an early end to the war, instead of perpetual conflict:
When the Ukraine war first broke out, it was the biggest news story in the world, and such a dramatic development that it finally banished Covid-19 from the national consciousness. Diehard Current-Thing supporters finally moved on from masks and vaccines, and instead hung Ukraine flags alongside the Pride flags outside their windows. Most Americans were supportive of the Ukrainian cause, but they also made it clear they were not willing to fight a direct war with Russia, let alone a nuclear one, on Ukraine’s country’s behalf.
After a few weeks of excitement, it became clear that the Ukraine war was going to be a slow-moving slog rather than a thrilling blitzkrieg, and our attention wandered as it inevitably does. For most Americans, Ukraine has become old news.
But if Americans have largely moved on, Washington certainly has not. In fact, for Washington, America’s lack of attention has provided an opportunity to escalate America’s involvement in the war. With the public looking away, there is no political pressure to avoid constantly escalating America’s involvement in a far-off conflict that by rights should be none of their concern.
Every day, America does more and more to justify the label of co-belligerent in the conflict. In the past two weeks, both the First Lady and the Speaker of the House have made surprise visits to the country.
Now, along with moral support, America is planning to essentially bankroll Ukraine’s entire war effort. In New York Times write-ups, former military officials boast about how silly it is to worry about over-escalation. America, they say, has nothing to fear from supplying heavier and heavier weapons for a war against a nuclear power:
[F]or Washington at least, concerns about supplying arms that Russia might consider “escalatory” have ebbed — as has the initial worry that Ukraine will use longer-range weapons, like jet fighters, to attack Moscow itself and set off a bigger war. … Some argue the Americans are being too cautious. “Seven weeks ago, they were arguing over whether to give Stinger missiles — how silly does that seem now?” said retired Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, the former top U.S. Army commander in Europe. “We have been deterred out of an exaggerated fear of what possibly could happen.” [NYT]
In the past two months, Stinger missiles and rifles have turned into large battle-armed drones and heavy howitzers. In the months to come, that could give way to fighter jets and more.
But even more dangerous than weapons might be the ever-increasing collaboration between Ukraine and U.S. military intelligence. While it matters little for the actual battlefield situation, Russia’s most high-profile embarrassment of the war has been April’s loss of the old Soviet guided-missile cruiser Moskva. According to the Financial Times, the ship’s loss enraged Vladimir Putin, and pushed him to abandon negotiations for more aggressive war goals.
Vladimir Putin has lost interest in diplomatic efforts to end his war with Ukraine and instead appears set on seizing as much territory as possible, according to three people briefed on conversations with the Russian president. Putin, who was seriously considering a peace deal with Ukraine after Russia suffered battlefield setbacks last month, has told people involved in trying to end the conflict that he sees no prospects for a settlement. … Putin said peace efforts were at a “dead end” and was infuriated after Ukraine sank the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, according to two people. “There was hope for a deal. Putin was going back and forth. He needs to find a way to come out of this a winner,” one of the people said. After the Moskva sank, “Putin was against signing anything. [ . . . ] after the Moskva he doesn’t look like a winner, because it was humiliating,” the person added. [FT]
Now, predictably, self-important parasites in the U.S. military establishment have leaked that the U.S. played a central role in the Moskva’s sinking, providing the intelligence that allowed Ukrainian forces to make the attack. Even after the outbreak of war, Russia’s initial negotiating position was rather lenient: It was the same demands for Ukrainian neutrality and recognition of the status quo in Crimea and Donbass that Russia had sought before its invasion. In effect, America’s intelligence services have scuttled the chance for an early peace, and they are too stupid and egotistical to even hide their responsibility for doing so.
Back in 2020, anti-Trump commentators claimed that entirely unsupported rumors that Russia was paying bounties for the Taliban to kill U.S. troops amounted to an “act of war.” If that’s the case, then how is Russia supposed to view the completely confirmed role of the United States in the deaths of at least twenty-seven Russian sailors? Right now, the U.S. still has hundreds of troops in eastern Syria. If Russia retaliated by helping extremists in that country to kill U.S. troops, how is the U.S. supposed to react?
Thankfully, we haven’t had to ask that question, because so far, Russia has chosen not to militarily retaliate against America’s steadily-escalating involvement in Ukraine. It may well be that Russia will never retaliate. But every time the U.S. chooses to escalate, it is rolling the dice again.
When America gambles in this way, it is not gambling with America’s wealth, or its credibility, or even the lives of its soldiers. It is gambling with civilization itself. Russia still has nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads in its stockpile, including more than 1,500 currently deployed and ready for use.
Given the stakes of the Ukraine conflict, even a one-in-a-thousand risk of escalating to nuclear war is incredibly irresponsible. As we wrote back in January in a piece entitled, “The Globalist American Empire Would Rather Risk Nuclear War Than Admit Its Own Arrogance”:
Even if Russia did conquer and annex all of Ukraine (something it has shown no interest in doing), America’s security interests would remain unchanged. Ukraine doesn’t supply the United States with any irreplaceable natural resources. It doesn’t sit alongside a critical trade route or geographical position. It isn’t physically proximate to the United States. Ukraine matters to America’s domestic security as much as Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Venezuela; i.e. not at all. Just like all four of those other countries, a war over Ukraine would have nothing to do with protecting America’s safety, its prosperity, or its values. Instead, it would be a product of a cloistered foreign policy elite that is not content with controlling one country and instead seeks to boss around the entire planet. READ THE REST…
For the past decade, Washington warhawks have fearmongered about Russia’s plans to build a new Soviet Empire by force. Others have surmised about Vladimir Putin’s plans to restore the borders of pre-1917 Russia, which would require invading not just ex-Soviet republics but also Poland and Finland.
But the events in Ukraine in the past three months vindicated Revolver’s analysis and have demonstrated that fears of a neo-Soviet empire are fundamentally absurd. Russia has taken thousands of casualties and lost 3500 vehicles attempting to take over the impoverished eastern third of Ukraine, a region that speaks Russian, has many sympathetic locals, and which is directly adjacent to Russia and its logistical support networks. Russia following up on this struggle by invading wealthier, more distant, and more hostile neighbors who are also full members of NATO would be ridiculous, and if Russia did it anyway, it is even more ridiculous to fear that they might win. The Ukraine war has demonstrated conclusively that Russia is incapable of materially threatening the United States or its core allies by conventional military means.
As a result, Russia only endangers America to the extent that our own leaders choose to risk nuclear war. The only reason Saddam Hussein’s Iraq killed a single American is because America chose to start a war and lose thousands of lives fighting it. Similarly, the only way Russia can threaten America’s existence is if America’s leaders deliberately provoke it, turning manageable diplomatic disputes into a possible nuclear war.
As far as Americans are concerned, that is the only major outcome of America financing the war. Americans are paying billions of dollars to marginally increase the chances that they and all of their family members die horribly in a nuclear war. That’s it. This military aid isn’t encouraging a peace deal; in fact, U.S. aid has hardened the resolve of both countries and pushed them further away from the negotiating table. This aid isn’t saving Ukrainian lives. Rather, by allowing the war to go on indefinitely, it simply ensures that more will be killed.
America holds all the cards in the Ukraine. Biden could bring both sides to the negotiating table and end the war just by threatening to turn off the weapons spigot. But instead, America has sent the message that it will fund Ukraine indefinitely and without restriction, all just to deplete and humiliate Russia. In the process, America pushes Russia further into a corner and invites nuclear war.
If this seems familiar, it should, because permanent war is America’s strategy in many other places—the passive-aggressive strategy of a fading empire. In Afghanistan, America had given up on ever defeating the Taliban well before the humiliating collapse of the Kabul government in August 2021. Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw described America’s posture pre-withdrawal position in Afghanistan as a “residual force” “propp[ing] up” the Kabul government while conducting occasional warfare, and for him, this was a good thing.
Similarly, in Syria, America’s actual strategy was to keep the war going as long as possible without a winner, no matter how much of a human calamity the conflict caused.
With no end in sight for the war in Syria, the Obama administration continues to approach the conflict in a way that is prolonging the fighting. As it pursues its stated goal of removing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power, the Obama administration is implementing a policy that keeps the Syrian regime and the many different opposition forces in the country locked in a deadly stalemate. … CIA director John Brennan has provided more insight into the administration’s strategy. Addressing the fact that the administration has continued to support a number of opposition groups that are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, Brennan explained that the administration only provides the opposition groups with just enough resources to keep them fighting. “I think what we’re trying to do is to make sure the moderate opposition continues to stay strong, puts the pressure on the regime,” Brennan said. “We don’t want the Syrian government to collapse,” he added. “That’s the last thing we want to do.” [The Wire]
This isn’t bravery, or “toughness.” It is morally monstrous. It is the reckless action of a declining superpower which feels entitled to control the entire world, and believes in the right to cause perpetual warfare in regions where it cannot have its way. It is the decision to throw away tens of thousands of lives in a war that doesn’t have to be fought at all. Real toughness is standing up to the military industrial complex and regime commissars cheerleading us into another war against American interests, not saber rattling against a nuclear adversary because the Regime has decided this is the next Current Thing.
Americans have had enough of the fake “toughness” that has in the past twenty years to brought us to the edge of ruin. We have had enough stalemates to exhaust half a dozen lesser powers. With the end of the Afghan War, America finally had a chance to rest and recover the strength and wealth it has spent decades squandering. Now, the Biden Administration and both parties in Congress are determined to avoid that, and start financing a new war that is far more existentially dangerous than those that came before.