As discontent with the war in Ukraine gains steam in Washington, DC, President Joe Biden took a slight detour on his planned visit to Poland. The US commander-in-chief made a five-hour stop in Kyiv, the embattled capital of Ukraine, to assure President Volodymyr Zelensky the United States is 100% behind the efforts of the Ukrainians to throw out the Russian invaders. As the calendar approaches the one-year point in Moscow’s aggression, the Biden national security team decided a surprise visit would be an unambiguous signal of common cause with Kyiv.
Surprise Visit Not So Much of a Surprise
Although the visit was billed as a surprise, Moscow wasn’t shocked because “US officials warned Russia that President Biden was visiting the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv hours before he made the trip, the White House National Security Council revealed Monday (Feb. 20),” Fox News reported. Biden, in a prepared statement, explained:
“When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided …Today, in Kyiv, I am meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine. I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments.”
The United States, NATO, and other friends have bolstered Kyiv’s capability to beat back the Russian onslaught. Still, the administration insists it will take time and far more military and financial aid to keep Ukrainian forces in the field from faltering. To that end, “Mr. Biden promised to release another $500 million in military aid in coming days, mentioning artillery ammunition, Javelin missiles, and Howitzers, but he did not talk about the advanced arms that Ukraine has sought,” The New York Times reported. For many watching the hostilities ebb and flow on the battlefield, often with no discernible momentum on either side, the reluctance of Ukraine’s benefactors to provide longer range, more advanced weaponry has been a cause for consternation. From the failure of the Biden administration to agree to Poland providing its excess MIG-29 fighters almost a year ago to the dithering over the West giving Ukraine advanced-technology tanks, the piecemeal dribbling out of military support over the past year has prolonged the fighting.
There’s No End in Sight
The seemingly endless flow of financial and military resources has some worried the United States has no clear end in sight in Ukraine. “Biden’s leadership created a European dependency on the United States, which will increasingly raise questions the longer this war goes on about how committed should we be, in terms of what is required to keep the Ukrainian military flush and not only able to defend its gains, but new ones,” Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Hill.
Putting the issue differently, Harry Kazianis noted in his 1945 article, “Joe Biden’s Surprise Ukraine Trip Is Already a Disaster”: “The problem for Joe Biden is people are now actually going to start asking real questions about US policy when it comes to the Ukraine war. You don’t need a Ph.D. from Princeton to dream them up: what are our goals in Ukraine, how do we plan to achieve them, and what we are willing to risk to reach them?” Liberty Nation asked the same question six months ago. There may be value to Biden showing the flag in Kyiv to bolster the morale of Zelensky and the Ukrainian people. But what is the strategy for victory?
The United States and its allies have been generous with military support to Ukraine. Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv underscored the resolve to back Zelensky and the brave Ukrainians. But sooner rather than later, Americans will ask when does it end and how does that end look? The Biden team will need good answers.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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