On his surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday—traveling 10 hours by train through an active war zone—President Biden made clear what’s at stake: “I am in Kyiv today to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Speaking in the Mariinsky Palace with Biden, Zelenskyy said, “This unprovoked and criminal Russian war against Ukraine and against the whole world and democratic world has to end with liberating the whole of Ukraine’s territory from Russia’s occupation and the solid guarantees of the long-term security for our country as well as Europe and the whole world.”
Biden’s follow-up: “The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you. Kyiv has captured a part of my heart, I must say…The American people know it matters. Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us.”
The next day in Poland, outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Biden underlined the basic principles that motivated the commitment by the U.S. and NATO. “Would we stand up for the sovereignty of nations? Would we stand up for the right of people to live free from naked aggression? Would we stand up for democracy? One year later, we know the answers.”
But that commitment does come at a high price. To date, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, the U.S. has provided $46.6 billion in military assistance (including weapons, equipment, training and other logistical aid) and over $30 billion in humanitarian and other financial support.
Put aside for a moment the pro-Putin wing of the Republican Party that chooses to serve up Kremlin talking points rather than stick by Ukraine, America’s president and democracy; it is reasonable to wonder how long and at what price will American support be needed. After all, this wouldn’t be the first war Americans questioned whether all those billions could be better spent at home, even if the reasoning for support is plain as day. It’s not hard to imagine that a victory by Putin in Ukraine would be only the beginning of his bloody territorial conquest.
What do you think? Do you fully support U.S. funding for Ukraine for as long as it takes? Or do you see an endpoint to this commitment that precedes a Ukrainian victory or some other negotiated peace?
As always, I look forward to reading your views and the opportunity for this community to hear from each other. Please do be respectful of each other.
*Photo: President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelensky walk in Kyiv on February 20, 2023. Taken by Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images.
I almost don't understand the question. I work in national security policy and technology and I feel like two years ago we were really concerned about Russia's capabilities; our military officers studies the Kaliningrad exclave and so on. Now for a tiny fraction of the DoD budget, Russia's forces are completely tied up and degraded, the Western alliance is stronger than it has been in a long time, Russia's influence in Europe is shattered, and its imperial ambitions are trash. This is the most cost-effective use of national security dollars I can remember; I mean, jeez, if you have to cut this funding or shutter the 82nd Airborne, it's a no-brainer to shutter the 82nd. I mean it isn't right to pretend we're getting something free or cheap -- the Ukrainians I am sure are aware of what this really costs -- but from a strict, "America first" perspective, support to Ukraine is the best deal going,
This isn’t just about Ukraine. It’s about Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Moldova, Romania etc etc. If Russia succeeds in Ukraine it will be emboldened to move to its next victim. It has to be stopped here. Changing borders must only be done by peaceful mutual means.
$80 billion isn’t a lot when you’re talking about the free world.
Yes. My father went through this as a boy in Russia. Watched as the Russian army killed his father and raped and killed his mother. He then was an orphan in a camp until people helped him escape. Russian genocidal violence must be defeated completely and Putin must be tried for war crimes.
Yes, I fully support continuing aid to Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech yesterday at the UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Ukraine Sovereignty and Russian Accountability: "If Russia stops fighting and leaves Ukraine, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends."
In a word, YES. It is impossible to "negotiate" with someone like Putin and his ilk.
yes without any doubts! They fight for all of us and democracy
Thanks, as always, Steven, for this thoughtful piece. It is a legitimate and timely question. Ultimately, I think that if we were to back out and allow Russia to defeat Ukraine, then not only would that, obviously, be a terrible outcome for Ukraine itself, but also serve as encouragement for Putin's next move. It is similar to the situation that the Allies faced against Hitler in the 1930's. Nobody wanted another war but the policy of appeasement did not avoid the war and, instead, made it a much harder war in the end. On the other hand, the longer it goes on, the greater the chance for an escalation that could result in a global catastrophe. So it seems as though, to the extent possible, the US needs to defend Ukraine while simultaneously looking for an off ramp settlement that would include return of Ukraine territory and protection of Ukraine in the future. A very tall order, however. So, I think Biden is choosing the best of a series of bad options. I hope that he and the US can find a positive way out of this difficult situation
Please join me visualizing a shield of protection and safety surrounding Ukraine.
Putin seems to have this delusional image of the former Soviet empire. Occupy or control/influence not only Ukraine, but Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, possibly Hungary. Ukraine is where it has to stop.
Ukraine must either kill every russian on their soil or cease to exist as a People and Country. There is NO other option for them. If Ukrainians quit fighting, they cease to exist, if russia quits and leaves Ukrainian lands, the war is OVER!
There is NO APPEASEMENT solution for Ukrainians, only winning this war.
This war symbolizes Our Children’s FUTURES and the future of ALL DEMOCRACIES! All that Ukrainian blood is being spilt for EVERY DEMOCRACY, FOR ALL FREE PEOPLE!
Neville Chamberlain was certain he could negotiate with Hitler. So was Stalin. As a result, Hitler took Czechoslovakia and sent troops into Russia. Germany was not really ready to go to war, but this appeasement clinched it. I can just see Hitler slapping his knee and smiling.
The US has spent $67,000,000,000 for 187 F22 Raptor planes. Its one success- shooting down that Chinese balloon ! Can we do less to save European democracy and then, perhaps our own (if the GOP radicals don't do it first.)
Give Putin the proverbial inch, he will take the mile. He sees himself as the restorer of old Soviet Russia, the Vlad "Peter the Great" Putin.
I do wish the administration would stop giving a little here, a little there. It is probably lengthening the war and increasing the casualties. Like NIKE says, "Just Do It !"
No peace absent justice. Unless Russian forces are expelled from Ukraine, ie Putin's designs for territorial expansion are *defeated* we must not declare victory much less peace
Steven, does everyone understand that the military equiptment being sent to Ukraine is coming from our military budget? Personally, I think it is a great use of the budget.
I stand with Ukraine and support it in this war until Russia leaves all Ukrainian territory. Nothing short of that will ensure that democracy around the world is safe from invasions by despots like Putin. If the west allows Russia to prosper from this unprovoked aggression then they and others like them will do this again. I'm with President Biden and Ukraine until victory is assured and Russia is prosecuted for war crimes.
I honestly feel there is no option, Putin started and has prosecuted this war in the most savage way. Never liked the domino theory, but Putin has attacked most of his former allies with either lethal force or cyber attacks. He needs to be stopped. I mourn losses on both sides, but I stand with Ukraine. I am daily impressed with the unity of NATO and Asian democracies. Putin has already lost in many ways, but it needs to be completed! Full marks to Biden, his diplomats, NATO leadership, UK leadership, and EU leadership!
Absolutely yes to maximum extent necessary to eradicate the depraved war criminal Russians from all of Ukraine and Crimea.
More bullets. More missles.
I also think the prevailing narrative is a bit silly that Putin can just “wait out the West.” I think this is Putin’s strategy to buy more time so he can try to again subvert our elections to get leadership that will give him a better deal or stand in the way of aid to Ukraine altogether. Thats a strategy to stall til 2024, not wait out our resolve.
Putin can’t wait us out indefinitely. His economy while shielded is a fraction of the capacity of the West’s. Oligarchs are falling out windows and prisons are drained of cannon fodder. With each new conscription, Putin’s grip on power loosens. Mutiny is a common theme in Russian history. We already see huge divisions between Putin’s oligarch’s private armed forces and his regular army leadership. 200,000 casualties and nearly 1,000,000 fled - its a nation of over 100 million but the number of willing fighters is TINY. That is not sustainable in the long run.
Most definitely! Not only for Ukraine's sovereignty and democracy, but for the defense of democracy worldwide! And BTW, "Emp-ty Greene", there are 8 billion people in the whole world, so 6 billion of them did NOT cross the southern U.S. border!
I fully support it as do I suspect most of your readers. Personally I wish we could do more, but it's easy for me to say since I am old and well off and don't really have to sacrifice anything. OTOH it's not like this Congress would spend the money on anything else so...
Finally a valid, full proof reason to spend the billions we give to the military, a amount I personally abhor normally but saving democracy and stopping Putin and his autocratic regime is money well spent but only if it ultimately can produce victory and peace once and for all!
Yep, fully. “But that commitment does come at a high price. To date, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, the U.S. has provided $46.6 billion in military assistance (including weapons, equipment, training and other logistical aid) and over $30 billion in humanitarian and other financial support.” But not nearly as high a price as we’d pay if he were to attack Poland and start WW3. We missed our opportunities to stop him in the Crimea, Chechnya,Syria etc., we figured he’d just flame out. Well he hasn’t and this is probably our last chance, hope we don’t blow it.
Absolutely! This is about the Ukrainian nation’s history freedom, and also about freedom and democracy in all countries in this world. All autocratic dictators must learn that they will be stopped in their attempts to take over countries through brutal force and vicious lies. This includes the US.
This is such a no brainer I can't believe it's in question. A sliver of DOD budget has tied up Russian forces in a quagmire such that Putin is scouring prisons for recruits along with conscripting people on the street for cannon fodder in Ukraine, this is not sustainable. Putin hopes the West will lose faith and patience before he runs completely out of troops and ammo, or before Russian people grow tired of sending sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, grandfathers soon no doubt to slaughter for Putin's pipe dream of a Russian Empire.
There is only one acceptable end to this war of aggression - Russia withdraws completely from Ukraine including Crimea, pays to rebuild the country they are bombing into rubble daily, Putin is tried in the Hague for war crimes along with his generals and Russia loses any ability to rearm.
We know what happens when Putin probes with a sword (takes Crimea) and we do nothing - he invades Ukraine and has his eye on Poland and other countries.
Ukraine has inspired the world with their steely resolve, they are fighting for their country and democracy in the world. Why would we not send them whatever they need, as long as necessary for them to defeat Russian invaders? Ukraine's fight is OUR fight, supplying weapons is the least we can do.
I hate they are bombing Ukraine. I am glad they are not bombing the USA. Does everyone really, really understand what is at stake?
100 percent support for Ukraine
Yes. Completely and indubitably.
Yes, I fully support US funding for Ukraine. I select 3 quotes from your post, Steven, as to why I feel it is so important. (1) As Biden said, it is important to make this "commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” I feel we must support the democracies in our world so that they stay strong, so that they continue to exist.
(2) As Zelensky said, “This unprovoked and criminal Russian war against Ukraine and against the whole world and democratic world has to end with liberating the whole of Ukraine’s territory from Russia’s occupation and the solid guarantees of the long-term security for our country as well as Europe and the whole world.” It is not just about Ukraine. It is about saving all of the democracies of the world. If the Russian regime succeeds in destroying Ukraine, we can only imagine what their next target will be. We can't let democracies be vulnerable to Russia. We can't let democracies fall like dominoes to Russia. We can't let our world evolve into a myriad of autocratic states under the domination of Russia.
(3) Finally, taking a part of Biden's follow-up, " Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us.”
This is how I see it. These 3 quotes capture the essence of this issue, the issue being that "unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us". This issue goes beyond the borders of Ukraine. I see this issue as a threat to democracy all over the world.
Of course it will stretch our financial resources to continue our level of support in Ukraine. Of course we have a great many important needs in our own country the must be addressed, poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, climate issues, inequity in the healthcare system when it comes to serving the most marginalized people, just to name a few. However, if we don't put sustaining democracy around the world on our "must do" list, we won't be able to deal with any of those other issues, because I fear the we too could become a victim in a world dominated by the Russian autocracy; and then we certainly wouldn't be able to address any of those other important domestic issues
We should do everything we can to ensure Ukraine succeeds in pushing Russia completely out of its borders, to include Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk and then we should admit them to NATO.
I encourage readers to also check out Robert Kagan 's book on the history of US foreign policy: "The Ghost at the Feast." I was pleased to see that one comment disagreed with one's supporting the war.
Isolationism and reluctance to be involved in European wars has been omnipresent since the founding of our country.
Is Biden rolling the dice that Putin will have to withdraw this year? I think so. China is the unknown in this power struggle. I think the question is: can we hang on to our own democracy while being a super power?
Absolutely yes, we should continue to support Ukraine, not only for Ukraine’s sake but for our sake as well in counteracting evil with an empire building leader’s ambition that threatens us all. However, we should also be open to a comprehensive peace when circumstances allow for meaningful dialog such as a change in the offending leadership, renunciation of such plans, taking responsibility for the extensive war crimes and a total withdrawal from areas that were illegally invaded. Stopping aid without this recipe will only end in a total world war.
(A fan of Modern Monetary Theory here [a form of chartalist monentary theory.)
The whole notion that the U.S. has limited dollars and that those dollars come from taxpayers is nonsense. It arises from an erroneous notion of what money is. Dollars are created when the Federal government authorizes expenditures going into debt. The only real limit on the amount of money is inflation. (Currently, however, our inflation largely comes from the monopolistic way in which oil prices are set—a purposeful policy on the part of countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, which want to displace the dollar as the word's reserve currency—and disruptions in the supply chain due to the pandemic).
Taxes have uses, but they are not the real source of the federal government's money. If you pay your federal taxes in cash, the cash is just burned. Here's what taxes are for. 1) Taxes give value to the currency: the U.S. government accepts taxes only in dollars, so that backs up the currency's value; 2) taxes can redistribute income by removing money from people with too much money; 3) taxes can fight inflation by removing money from the economy; 4) taxes can incentivize and de-incentivize behaviors.
So, to claim that dollars spent on Ukraine are dollars that are taken away from U.S. citizens for the needs of others is nonsense.
The real issue here is that mobbed-up tyrants like Putin and other rich people like Musk and the Kochs in the U.S. seek to destroy democracy. They don't like democracy because it holds them accountable. They are waging a long-term war on democracy, and Ukraine is the focus of an actual military battle on that front.
Hell, yes, I want the U.S. to support Ukraine with whatever it takes to destroy Putin's regime, which may be closer to collapse than we think. Russian history is full of military overreach leading to drastic domestic changes in policy and government. We can do this again if we are just resolute.
YES! Absolutely! Although we could have ended this much sooner as we did with Kuwait in the Gulf War (see my comment below from 9 hours ago) we all need to help Ukraine drive the invaders out of the country (including Crimea) with no compromise or appeasement. As Victor Laszlo, the Freedom Fighter, says in CASABLANCA: " You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die."
Yes, of course. What many Americans don't know (and maybe that's intentional), we've already invested significant time and money into training Ukrainian soldiers to be some of the best in the world. It's quite irrational to give up on them now. Who's the "we" I mention? Your local US Army Reserve units, your National Guard units--you know, your neighbors, friends, relatives... Our soldier have been working with Ukrainian soldiers for about 10 years now, and that's a significant reason why they are doing so well. But that's another story for Steven to research and share.
The USA and other NATO nations need to support Ukraine until all Russian forces are driven back to Russia and their military is significantly crippled so they won’t try another invasion of another country. Putin must be stopped here and now or there won’t be and end to his power grab.
The battle is more than Ukraine and Ukrainians against Putin's illegal war. It's really a matter of whether or not strongmen like Putin will be allowed to bully the world, or democratic forces will stand against his barbarism. It is essentially a battle of good against evil. In that, there is no choice but to see it through the end. The option is to capitulate or genuflect.
Many very good points here. I can't add much new. Most, if not all of the equipment were are sending has already been paid for out of previous budgets. Those monies are not being taken out of current programs. Some of the equipment would never have been used. We have so much equipment mothballed. Tanks for example. Tanks may becoming obsolete. Infantry now have the ability to destroy tanks fairly easily. Tanks may only be useful against the poorly constructed Russian Army. We are seeing "proof of concept" on much of our equipment. Today's wars will be conducted, by the winners, based on communications, eyes in the skies, educated skill sets, modern equipment, and high morale. All of the armies in NATO, and the few European democracies not in NATO, are structured like the US Army. Russia and its allies alone have the old Russian, and Soviet Union, structure.
This is a time for us, America, to stand up for democracy and freedom.
Absolutely 100% for crying out loud. We cannot allow a small group of absolutely crazed warped Republicans destroy the free world.
I fully support US funding for Ukraine for as long as it takes. I am NOT willing to let Putin invade and annex its neighbor or any other sovereign country.
As imperfect as the UN and NATO are, they give us a more stable world than the might- makes-right and who-needs-the-rule-of-law playbook of authoritarians
Great piece, Steven!
In support, I would love to share my pro-Ukraine / anti-Putin protest signs, but that doesn’t seem possible. Any ideas?
Aha!! I made a google album, segmented into before and after 2/24/2022… https://photos.app.goo.gl/bs13UPjMvauqeiUg9
This blatantly criminal invasion of and attack on a sovereign country should have been prevented before it happened. Were all the NATO countries including America so naive and ill-informed that they believed Putin would NOT invade Ukraine? (Finland, sharing a very long border with Russia, maintains a large military force on this border to DETER any aggression.) To amend this oversight Ukraine should have been declared an honorary member of NATO and then NATO and America with Ukraine should have used immediate and massive force to drive the aggressors out as we did in Kuwait during the (thankfully) brief Gulf War. Of course we need to fund Ukraine for as long as it takes to salvage the country from the horrors and heartbreak it has needlessly undergone.
Yes - as long as it takes. The structure of international law, human rights, and accountability that has taken shape promises freedom and peace to humankind. It is threatened at its core by the massive use of force by Russia against Ukraine. Resistance even at high cost is well worth it.
OF COURSE! Russia must leave all of Ukraine’s territory. And it will happen soon, I’m quite convinced. The idea that an aggressor can conquer and absorb a nation today is ludicrous. What if the Mexican army walked into California and Arizona today and said “Historically, this territory was united. We are restoring Great Madre Mexico and cleansing it of its Nazi invaders”?
Yes, absolutely. The lone naysayer here apparently doesn't really understand what's at stake. Putin will never stop if he wins Ukraine, he'll attack Poland next and then keep going west until he reaches the end of the European continent. He MUST be defeated NOW!
Yes, I fully support aid to Ukraine for as long as it takes to fight Putin's war. I recognize the financial toll that that will take, and that's Putin's hope, as it see it. Americans in particular, I believe, are wont to take out of 'their' pockets. Look at Greene - she and Gaetz look up to Putin. I mean, really???