Pentagon Considers Short-Term Plan to Arm Ukraine

( It has been two years since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his military to complete the takeover of Ukraine he began in 2014 when he “annexed” the Crimea region and helped a group of insurgents seize the Donbas area. In that time, the United States and other Western nations have sent tens of billions of dollars worth of military aid to the defending nation that has included everything from small arms to main tanks to (relatively) modern airplanes.

A decision on whether or not to provide additional American taxpayer dollars to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his forces is facing its own battles in Washington D.C.

A Nearly 12-Digit Ask

In March 2023, the House of Representatives sent HR 815 — a measure that was meant to help US veterans get reimbursed for money spent on emergency medical attention — to their counterparts in the Senate where until recently it met repeated procedural delays.

During the intervening time, President Joe Biden’s ability to authorize a drawdown of US military equipment with guarantees that they would be replenished reached its legal limit and the Democrats in the upper chamber saw this as a grand opportunity.

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced Senate Amendment 1388 of their version of the proposed legislation that would authorize nearly $95 billion in additional military aid for Ukraine. This add-on passed on a 66-33 (and one abstention) vote with the expected “nays” from those who are typically seen as MAGA supporters of former President Donald Trump such as Republicans JD Vance of Ohio, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

However, there were some “no” votes cast by names that might just surprise people such as Socialist Democrat/Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont along with perhaps equally unexpected yeses from the likes of GOP Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) has kept the package from coming to the floor for debate and/or voting and ordered a two-week recess soon after it was passed by the Senate.

A recent survey from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago shows that the divide along ideological lines is not limited to the halls of Congress, it’s also reflected in the American public. When asked if the funding for Ukraine was too much/too little, Republicans answered that with a 55%/14% ratio and Democrats went the other direction at 17%/44%. The remainder felt it was just about right.

The Senate amendment is being publicly floated as an overall foreign aid package that includes military funding to Israel for their battle against Hamas as well as Taiwan, which is facing a very real possibility of being forcibly “reunified” with mainland China. But as one reads through the amendment, those two country names as earmarks for the money appear to be few and far between.

A cynical person might assume that Israel and Taiwan were included in an attempt to induce Trump and his base to support the measure or for the sake of optics.

Copyright 2024,