President Biden has asked Congress to authorize another $33 billion in Ukraine aid. $20 Billion of it will be used to purchase weapons for Ukraine, while the rest will be direct funds and humanitarian aid. The measure has almost unanimous support in Congress, with the appropriation expected to fund Ukraine’s war effort through September of this year. It is unclear if the Ukrainians will be able to hold out that long, underlying one of the problems with the ‘throw money at it’ approach favored by the Biden administration.
President Biden has not laid out what our victory conditions are in the conflict. Is the goal preserving the entire geographical boundaries of Ukraine, or are we willing to accept Russia controlling the eastern areas such as the Donbas? Another challenge with the administration’s approach is there is zero oversight and tracking for the funds and weapons pouring into the country.
Observers have pointed out that it is highly likely that advanced weapons systems will find their way into the hands of our enemies. You cannot pour that much material into the most corrupt country on the continent and not expect some of it to disappear.
This move also ignores the risk posed by engaging in a full-blown proxy war with Russia. Putin certainly expected the western powers to supply Ukraine with defensive weaponry initially. It is unknown if he factored into his decision to invade the possibility of an extended proxy war with the west. The United States is doing everything it can, short of putting boots on the ground, to oppose Russia.
Putin may make the decision to start attacking western supply lines directly instead of waiting for arms to enter Ukraine. This would be a major escalation and would lead to direct confrontation with Russian troops. Under a broad analysis NATO is already acting as a belligerent actor in the war given its intelligence sharing and material support.
The United States is relying upon its definitions of words to maintain plausible deniability in the conflict. Russia may decide to act based on the reality on the ground, with terrible implications for the rest of us.