Super Draw. USA

As expected, the most significant event last week in the US was the final rush for Biden’s $110 billion super package, with 3/5 of it designated for Kyiv. The American President demanded a favorable decision on the matter, but the Republicans in both houses of Congress refused to approve it unless their demands were met. As Bloomberg reported, an agreement on the Republicans’ main demand for stricter immigration policies was not reached. They highlighted a gap between the two parties.

Biden’s sudden invitation to President Zelenskyy on December 12 provided additional proof that an agreement could not be reached. Mr. Zelenskyy was also expected to address Senators. It was not mentioned or stated who made up the audience. The White House reported:

“President Biden has invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to the White House for a meeting on Tuesday, December 12 to underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion.  As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment.”

Zelensky’s recent visit to the USA in late September adds an intriguing element to this situation. Within a month, Biden’s team had already put together their super package and sent it to the Senate. But then something went wrong.

Another Zelenskyy tour could imply that instead of negotiating with Republicans, the Biden Administration was engaging in a PR-campaign during the early stages of a pre-holiday week. In other words, the intention was to engage Republicans in active listening, while providing the public with a set of talking points:

– Investing in Kyiv is equivalent to investing in America;

– Kyiv is winning, no matter what they say, because it has been bravely fighting Putin for 2 years;

– All money and time have been exhausted. With just a few remaining minutes, there is no need for disputes. Failure to obtain funds will result in Kyiv’s collapse, rendering all efforts futile;

– if you let Russia win, it will attack NATO.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others in Congress to ask for more aid for his country

These talking points are repeated nationwide, with both left and right-wing media using identical formulations. Similar articles that echo these points are signed by representatives from various think tanks, encompassing both progressive and conservative ideologies.

Nevertheless, this occurrence has attracted further attention due to the planned meeting between Republicans and delegates from the Hungarian Institute of International Relations. The principal representative of the anti-Kyiv opposition within the European Union, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is also slated to participate in this gathering within the same week.

The Guardian quoted a source who wished to remain anonymous:

“Orban is confident that [the bill] on assistance to Ukraine will not pass in Congress. That’s why he’s also trying to block EU aid.”

Circumstances Undermine Kyiv’s Plans

So, Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington took place. He met with officials from the US Defense Department and, behind closed doors, with the leaders of both houses of Congress, President Biden, and even the press in his presence.

The agenda and rhetoric of Mr. Zelenskyy brought no surprises. He stated that Ukraine has achieved significant progress in combat and will not cease their efforts there. He further expressed his concern that the freedom of USA and Europe is at risk due to Putin’s actions. Biden, in his turn, mentioned that withholding money from Kyiv would essentially serve as a Christmas gift to the Russian leader.

Interestingly, following the meeting with Zelenskyy, Mr. Johnson, Speaker of the Lower House of Congress, stated that despite his unwavering support for Ukraine, he maintains the same standpoint. Firstly, it is imperative to safeguard the American borders. Additionally, as reported by nearly all media, the reception of Mr. Zelenskyy himself was conducted at a substandard level, including the meeting at the White House. The BBC states that it wasn’t merely a casual pat on the back accompanied by ‘good luck,’ although it easily could have been.

It’s worth highlighting that now is an opportune time to attribute any potential failures of Kyiv to political opponents. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats wish to be accountable. Each side now has a narrative that works well for their target audience. The Republicans say: “the Democrats have leaked Ukraine just to avoid protecting our own country from an influx of illegals, terrorists, criminals, drug dealers.” The Democrats reply: “Republicans have drained even Ukraine for the sake of their ambitions and exorbitant demands.” If a compromise is reached, Republicans will be accused of succumbing to the Democrats and the military sector, ultimately failing to bring about substantial change in immigration policy. The ongoing hostilities in Ukraine place the Democrats in a vulnerable position, as this situation is currently regarded as unfavorable in Washington.

This does not mean that the super package will not be allocated to Kyiv at all. The “deadline before vacations, and then it’s over,” is a tactic used by the White House to exert PR pressure on Congress. However, here is a curious New York Times article stating that “American officials are trying to prepare the Ukrainians for next year, telling them that whatever aid Congress approves is not likely to match the kind of funding that Washington provided in the first two years of the war.” When translated into more common language, this likely means that the Ukrainian case, which did not succeed as the winner this year, will be considered less significant in the upcoming year regardless of the current negotiation result.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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