Kiev’s slow counteroffensive makes Biden lose interest and consider talks with Russia
US cannot continue pumping money into Ukraine because elections are looming.
Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher
The longer Ukraine’s counteroffensive goes on, the more difficult it is for the US to maintain its support in political terms, reported Bloomberg, citing an expert. Reportedly, European officials “worry” that US President Joe Biden “may eventually look to nudge Ukraine toward negotiations” with Russia if Kiev’s forces do not make any significant successes in its counteroffensive.
Support for Ukraine remains essential because Europe lacks the financial conditions and military capacity to maintain Kiev’s forces. However, an expert quoted by Bloomberg explained that because of Ukraine’s sluggishness, the US will be less interested in what happens in Ukraine.
“[If fighting grinds to an impasse over the winter], it’s a really big problem, there’s going to be war fatigue,” said Samantha de Bendern, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. “The U.S. is going to be less and less interested in what’s happening in Ukraine and it’s going to be more and more difficult for Europeans to convince the Americans that Ukraine is an American problem.”
Bloomberg also pointed out that Russia has enough ammunition for at least another year of fighting, with the Kremlin deploying new troops on the front lines. The wear and tear of the long conflict is becoming an advantage for the Russians.
“More than two months into its counteroffensive, Kiev has made only tactical advances against heavily dug-in Russian forces, despite having committed many units trained and armed by the US and Europe for the operation. The window for further significant actions is narrowing as wet and cold weather looms in the autumn,” wrote the outlet. The Russian Ministry of Defence reported that Kiev suffered more than 26,000 casualties during the counteroffensive and lost 3,000 military equipment, confirming that the Western-backed attack failed in all its goals. Yet, this has not stopped Europe from continuing to back Ukraine, despite de Bendern’s warning that Biden could lose interest in the conflict, especially as Donald Trump surges in popularity following his interview with Tucker Carlson and the release of his mugshot.
The EU’s foreign policy spokesperson, Peter Stano, announced on August 22 that the bloc would continue to support Kiev “as long” as it takes, showing once again that the Union has little concern for the declining economic situation, which is hurting economies and working families.
According to EU data released earlier this month, the number of bankruptcy declarations of EU businesses reached a record high in the second quarter of 2023 compared with the previous quarter, which was up by 8.4%. This number of bankruptcies means this quarter is the highest since data collection began in 2015.
“Looking specifically at bankruptcies by activity, all sectors of the economy registered increases in the number of bankruptcies in the second quarter of 2023 compared with the previous quarter,” said the report published by Eurostat. “Accommodation and food services (+23.9%), transportation and storage (+15.2%), and education, health and social activities (+10.1%) were the sectors with the highest increases in the number of bankruptcies in the second quarter of 2023 compared with the previous quarter.”
Yet, with the economy performing dismally, European officials are still prioritising Ukraine over improving the declining living standards of European citizens.
“We are supporting Ukraine in its efforts to repair, recover and keep the state running. Today we paid a new €1.5 billion to Ukraine,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen posted on X on August 22.
It also appears that the US, like Europe, will support Ukraine unrelentingly. However, Biden could potentially lose interest in Ukraine. Next year’s election campaign will begin in the coming months, and the Ukraine issue will inevitably be a hot topic. Questions will be raised on how much money was wasted for no positive outcome in Washington’s view.
The latest poll by Gallup found that Biden had a job approval rating of only 42%. Less than half of those surveyed approved his handling of the situation in Ukraine, while only 37% supported the current state of relations with Russia. Eighty-three per cent of Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of the situation in Ukraine, while their ratings of his job on ties with Russia is at 78%. In contrast, only 13% of Republicans approved Biden’s handling of the situation in Ukraine, while 7% supported the current state of relations between Washington and Moscow.
Although Biden unsurprisingly has majority support in his Ukraine and Russia policies among his Democrat base, he has been an unprecedented disaster for the Independents and Republicans. As elections are looming and the Ukrainian military has been pulverised, a successful Russian offensive will likely see Biden scrambling to resolve the conflict peacefully, especially as the US cannot endlessly pump money into a war Ukraine has no chance of winning.
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