Congress Should Reject Biden's $33 Billion for Ukraine
We're broke, on the brink of recession, and why let rich Europeans off the hook while losing sight of the direct threat from China?
Joe Biden wants to give $33 billion we don’t have to Ukraine to prolong the war with Russia. To put that in perspective, for that amount we could buy three new aircraft carriers and put them in the Western Pacific to deter war with China. Better yet, we could buy ten new Virginia-class attack submarines or 300 F-35 stealth jets.
China’s navy now has more ships than the U.S. Navy and a lot less geography about which to concern itself. While we have spent the last two decades developing an ineffective counterinsurgency capacity fighting in Mideast backwaters and underwriting security for wealthy Europeans who can afford to defend themselves, Beijing has fielded a military that could threaten us directly.
Europe won’t help us deter war with China or fight one if the worst happens. We badly need a larger Navy and Air Force. We should reposition the entire Marine Corps to the Pacific as we did in World War II, cut the Army to a base force, and develop and test a new generation of nuclear weapons along with the stealthy, maneuverable, and hypersonic vehicles to deliver them. We also need to win the new space race, which is with China, not Russia.
None of this crucial shift will happen if our ruling elite is wasting defense money and the military’s attention span fighting the Europeans’ war for them. Europe has a $21 trillion economy, 400 million people, and it screws us on trade while skimping on defense. Now is their time to pay up. Joe Biden proclaimed “America is back” on his first trip to Europe and said he was restoring diplomacy with our “traditional” allies, whatever that means. So, work your magic Joe. Did he even ask his European friends to pony up before pushing Congress to put tens of billions more on the national credit card?
Even though the Biden administration and media have downplayed the fact that the U.S. economy is now shrinking, the reality is that America faces tough economic times. Because of the inflation it has caused through out-of-control spending and diluting the dollar, the government must now tighten monetary policy going into a recession. Asset bubbles in the housing and stock markets look ready to pop. Our total debt is 130% of what the country produces in a year, and the interest rate the market demands for new debt may rise sharply. Energy costs are out of control—due in part to imprecise Biden sanctions on Russia that both Democrats and Republicans cheered on. Few believe the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy sufficiently to arrest inflation. All of these developments foretell recession, persistent inflation, and a government spending crisis. The latter will require across-the-board spending cuts, including to defense appropriations. Is now the time to go deeper into the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy?
Giving Ukraine what amounts to a blank check also discourages peace. Since victory seems impossible for either side, only an agreement between Moscow and Kiev can end the war. We have some incentive for Russia to pay an unexpected price for invading Ukraine and therefore hopefully forego other conquest. However, escalating the war further will increase the civilian death toll in Ukraine and defer any ceasefire—possibly to the detriment of Ukraine since it appears Russia has regained the initiative on the battlefield.
Furthermore, U.S. assistance has become so excessive and overt that there is the risk that Russia will see itself as at war with America, not just Ukraine. That perception, which risks nuclear conflict, is something that every president of both parties carefully avoided during the Cold War. It is a huge risk for America with very little prospective payoff.
Let Europeans defend Europe. Unlike during the two world wars and Cold War, they can well afford to do so themselves. America needs to focus on forestalling economic crisis at home and deterring China.