Is America getting tired of the long war in Ukraine? Report Economist by Redazione Start Magazine

According to The Economist, inflation, rebel allies and vitriolic politics at home are eroding US support for Russia's pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine. All the details

President Joe Biden pledges to support Ukraine "as long as necessary." So far, his administration has spent about $8 billion on military aid alone. In May, Congress approved an additional budget of $40 billion — more than Biden demanded and more than the annual defense budgets of most European allies — to assist Ukraine and deal with the global consequences of the war. But nearly six months into the battle, with the prospect of a long war to come, even Biden's closest allies are wondering if America can soon tire of this burden. The president is more unpopular than even Donald Trump at this point in his presidency. Inflation and high fuel prices are weakening Americans' spending power. And the Republicans are set to achieve important results in November's midterm elections: they are expected to take control of the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate, writes The Economist. Chris Coons, a Democratic senator and close ally of Biden — sometimes referred to as the president's "shadow secretary of state" — recently wrote a comment praising NATO's show of unity at last month's Madrid summit. He added: "I am concerned about the commitment of the American people and their elected leaders to stay the course while the invasion continues." Vladimir Putin "is counting on the West losing concentration," he told The Economist on July 14. Aid to Ukraine is set to last until the end of the fiscal year, on September 30, but no one is sure when the money will run out. Few in Congress think that another big package for Ukraine can be approved before the mid-term elections, and many argue that it could remain difficult even after that. "It's going to be an uphill battle," says a Republican member of the Senate. "The strategy adopted last time is no longer enough, because the war has changed radically and the internal situation is different." Given the country's acute polarization, it is perhaps not surprising that Republicans are skeptical of a proxy war waged by a Democratic administration. Americans are overall less willing to pay an economic price to support Ukraine than they were at the start of the war in March. But a recent poll from the University of Maryland found that the gap between Democrats and Republicans is also widening. Among Democrats, 78% would accept an increase in the cost of fuel and 72% would endure higher inflation to help Ukraine; among Republicans only 44% and 39% respectively would do so. Congressional aides say three factors can influence support for Ukraine. The first is the structure of Congress after the mid-term elections. If the Republicans regain one or both houses, which faction of the party will have the upper hand? That of the establishment, like Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader who in May brought his senior colleagues to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky? Or the devotees of Trump and his "Make America Great Again"? Trump still holds a large part of his party in his hands. He denounced the latest aid package to Ukraine, saying: "Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, while American parents are struggling even to feed their children." His base could be energized if, in the coming weeks, he announces his intention to run for president again in 2024. Meanwhile, unexpected problems have come from Victoria Spartz, a Ukrainian-born Republican who in the past had urged Biden to act more decisively in Ukraine, but who recently began accusing some of Zelensky's collaborators of corruption. "The fact is that if Republicans take control of the House in 2022 our support for Ukraine will stop," tweeted Ruben Gallego, a House Democrat. Republican leaders, he predicted, will not be able to prevent Trumpists like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz "from dictating our policy on Ukraine." Gaetz replied, "Ruben is right." These boasts amount to "wish-casting," argues Eric Edelman, a former senior Pentagon official under George W. Bush. Disciples of "Make America Great Again" are still a minority among Congressional Republicans but, he fears, could increase after the midterm elections. If the latter make up a larger share of the Republicans in the House, where the spending bills originate, and especially if they hold the balance of power, it will be more difficult to provide more aid to Ukraine. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the House, considers Zelensky a "modern Winston Churchill." But few expect him to put up much resistance to the Trumpian right. The pressure on the Senate (whether controlled by democrats or McConnell's Republicans) will increase to tame the excesses of the Maga-World. The issue of Ukraine, Edelman says, "is a surrogate for the broader battle for the soul of the Republican Party." A second factor is the extent to which allies are willing to continue to help Ukraine confront Russia. "How much are our European partners doing? It's literally the first question I'm asked," says Coons. For most Americans, he notes, Ukraine is "half a world away." European countries are closer to Russia's military threat and also more vulnerable to the danger of escalation, the loss of Russian energy supplies and the flow of refugees. Perhaps the most important consideration is the third factor: progress on the battlefield. If the Biden administration can prove that Ukraine is gaining ground, instead of getting bogged down in another "war forever," it will be easier to rally support for the country. But a protracted conflict seems all too likely. In recent times, Ukraine has been successful in using US-supplied Himar guided missile launchers to target command posts and ammunition depots behind Russian front lines. But the Ukrainian forces are still heavily outdated and defensive, if not even retreating. Biden's goal in the war is unclear. His administration has stopped talking about helping Ukraine "win" and instead talks about preventing it from being defeated. He is delivering the Himar in small packs of four launchers at a time. But Biden's main concern is to avoid a direct conflict between NATO and a nuclear-armed Russia. America has asked for guarantees that the 84 km range GMLRS ammunition supplied with the Himar will not be fired at Russian territory; so far it has refused to provide the Atacms ammunition, which has a range of about 300 km. For some, war is not winnable. The Biden administration should rush to find a diplomatic settlement. But for Ukraine's supporters, Democrats or Republicans, the answer is that Biden must hurry and win: give Ukraine more military aid, do it faster, and accept more risks. Edelman issued a warning to Biden's team: "If they think stalemate is the answer, or even if they are not intentionally playing for a stalemate, they will lose on the battlefield and lose the battle for public opinion at home." (Excerpt from the foreign press review by eprcomunicazione)