US public support for Ukraine wavering, but lawmakers firmly behind Zelensky

By Yashwant Raj

Washington, Feb 18 (IANS): Public support for Ukraine among American people is declining but the administration of President Joe Biden is holding firm to its commitment of assistance for "as long as it takes".

US lawmakers, who will fund this as-long-as-it-takes war assistance, are also firmly behind Ukraine. And despite calls from some Republicans to not send Kiev a blank cheque, a large and bipartisan group of Senators is headed for Munich to attend an annual security conference and send a clear signal to western allies and partners of their unflagging commitment.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is leading the overall American delegation to this security conference, with a similar message, at a time when Russia is planning a massive Spring offensive, in what many experts are saying will be a decisive phase in the year-long battle.

President Biden will convey the same message when he travels to Poland on February 20 to commemorate one year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The message is likely to be a version of what he said in December with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky -- in battle fatigues -- by his side.

"The American people have been with you every step of the way," Biden said, adding, "and we will stay with you. We will stay with you for as long as it takes".

But Americans are wavering. Though most of them support some role to be played by the US, the number of those for a "major role" has declined from 32 per cent in May 2022 to 26 in January 23 in an AP-NORC poll. And the number of those advocating "no role" has gone up from 19 per cent to 24 per cent.

Though Democrats among those polled were overall more supportive of US assistance to Ukraine -- 81 per cent in May 2022 and 84 per cent -- than Republicans 74 per cent and 70 per cent, the number of them calling for no role has gone up from 9 per cent in May 2022 to 15 per cent in January 2023.

These same mood may have found expression in a controversial letter by progressive lawmakers of the Democratic, who, in a letter to the President last, called for finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict, alongside everything else that the Biden was and is doing, citing the threat of a nuclear war, that Russian President Vladimir Putin had hinted at back then -- India, to be noted, was also alarmed and had quietly cancelled its annual summit with Russia over it.

Democrats, to be clear, were calling for efforts to open diplomatic dialogue as well to find a solution. They had not opposed the assistance, which is the chief reason for Republicans' opposition. "Ukraine is important, but at the same time, it can't be the only thing they do, and it can't be a blank check," Kevin McCarthy, the future Republican House Speaker, said back in October 2022. And McCarthy has the power of he purse to deny Biden his wish to stick with Zelensky for "as long as it takes".

For the present, however, the American President is marching ahead. He just announced that the US will give Ukraine 31 Abrams, the main American battle tank, overcoming initial reluctance -- prodded along, no doubt, by the Germans finally agreeing to send their Leopard tanks in a simultaneous announcement.

The Biden administration has given Ukraine more than $24.2 billion in security assistance since it took office in January 2021, the Pentagon said in January, which includes some of America's top-line military equipment such as Patriot missile battery and, now, Abrams.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is become somewhat of a legacy issue on foreign policy for Biden. He may want to be remembered in history as the man who stopped another Hitler, the German dictator. Biden has rallied allies and partners, including India, to stand up against Putin.

And it has worked, according to him.

"He (Putin) thought that he was going to have -- end up with the Finlandization of Europe (maintain a ring of non-NATO countries around Russia such as Finland). Well, he's got the NATOization of Finland (Finland, together with Sweden, has applied for membership of NATO dropping their decades-old reluctance). He's gotten something that he never intended."



Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: US public support for Ukraine wavering, but lawmakers firmly behind Zelensky

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.