Sep 19, 2022
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Washington Post: U.S. elites are split over Ukraine

Washington Post: U.S. elites are split over Ukraine

Photo: ZumaTASS

There is a growing number of conservative Republicans in the United States whose foreign policy is based on the idea of ​​​​withdrawing military support for Ukraine, writes a Washington Post columnist. Josh Rogin.

He draws attention to the fact that the political wing of the conservative research institute Heritage Foundation in May of this year opposed the bill on aid to Ukraine and joined the supporters of foreign “policy of containment”, which is in direct opposition to the current dominant line in the United States.

“No foreign policy can succeed without the support of the American people. In their program, the “new right” raises extremely topical issues, and there is no doubt that they have great potential in the Republican Party, ”says Rogin.

At the same time, he believes that anti-Ukrainian sentiments will be successful among conservatives only as long as Democrats are in power. A Republican victory would weaken their position, the columnist concluded.

That is, having come to power, the Republicans will pursue the same policy as the Democrats? Is Russia and Ukraine just a card in the internal political struggle in the United States?

“Still, Washington considers China, not Russia, its main adversary in the long and medium term,” I am sure. political scientist, head of the Open Analytics project Roman Travin.

– This is evidenced by a number of doctrinal documents of the United States, and statements by representatives of the highest echelon of American power. But if you look from the positions of today, the confrontation with Russia is the most urgent problem for the United States, on which a lot is tied. Russia has challenged the collective West and the center of confrontation today is in Ukraine.

The whole world, especially the non-Western one, is watching what is happening very carefully, for the most part “rooting” for Russia, albeit not really advertising it. Therefore, the Americans will do everything possible not only to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine, but also to completely destroy Russia in its current form.

If Russia is able to solve the tasks set in Ukraine, then it will unambiguously declassify the United States and the West as a whole, given the degree of their involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Which will have serious consequences for Americans and in other regions of the world.

“SP”:Are there any serious disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over Ukraine?

– If in the past it was possible to talk about a bipartisan consensus on the most important foreign policy issues, today this is probably not the case. The main reason is a very strong increase in the degree of civil confrontation both between ordinary supporters of Republicans and Democrats, and between elite groups. The polarization of American society today is extremely high.

Therefore, any significant issue of foreign and domestic policy almost inevitably becomes an occasion for heated disputes and mutual accusations. As for the support of Ukraine, the question will rather be in what format to support it. And with the fact that Russia is an enemy and that it cannot be allowed to grow stronger, both sides rather agree.

“SP”:And within the parties? Who is in favor of supporting Ukraine at any cost, and who is against it?

The Democrats are certainly more monolithic and consistent on this issue. As for the Republicans, not so long ago there was a precedent when a number of Republican parliamentarians in the lower house of Congress did not support another package of aid to Kyiv. But there, again, it was more about control mechanisms, amounts and similar issues, and not about whether it is necessary to support Ukraine in principle.

“SP”:Rogin argues that opponents of support for Ukraine will be popular only before coming to power. And then they will also support Ukraine?

– It is also a very likely scenario. Among American voters there are many people who, for various reasons, do not like such a deep involvement of their country in the conflict with Russia in distant Europe. And, perhaps, it will be used by some politicians in the elections. But it is still difficult to imagine that the United States will completely change its policy in Ukraine. Even if the Republicans come to power.

“SP”:Will American political elites ever come to understand the need to stop supporting Ukraine?

– The Americans can completely abandon support for Ukraine only as a last resort. For example, if some kind of mega-force majeure happens in the United States itself and they simply cannot pay due attention and allocate resources to Ukraine. Or if they manage to completely defeat Russia, up to the collapse of the existing Russian state. Ukraine will then simply not be needed.

Or – as an option – if Ukraine basically disappears from the world map. Although even in the latter case, the Americans will to some extent support the government in exile, the Ukrainian creative and scientific intelligentsia, and media structures. In all other cases, support for Ukraine, to a greater or lesser extent than now, will consistently continue.

– The rating of the conservatives may be growing, only it is not connected with the events in Ukraine, – I am sure Director of the EAEU Institute Vladimir Lepekhin.

– He is associated with the failures of the administration Biden in US domestic politics and economics. Including the pandemic agenda, the curtailment of a number of social programs, and so on. Washington’s war with Russia and its support for Ukraine, on the contrary, brings additional points to the Biden administration so far.

“SP”:Do you think the attitude of Democrats and Republicans to the issue of supporting Ukraine is somehow different?

– The positions of the US Republicans and Democrats on Ukraine practically do not differ. The only difference is that the position of the Republicans is more balanced and pragmatic, while the position of the Democrats is more politicized and set to promote the libertarian agenda in Ukraine.

“SP”:At the same time, anti-Ukrainian conservatives will be successful among conservatives only as long as Democrats are in power. A Republican victory will weaken their position, Rogin said. Why?

“Because Republican criticism of Democrats matters, for whatever reason. It is possible that after the Republicans come to power, the Democrats will begin to criticize them for exactly the same thing, dragging into the context the criticism and failures of the Republicans in foreign policy, including Ukraine.

“SP”:In your opinion, what should happen within the American political establishment for Washington to stop pumping weapons into Ukraine?

– Only an understanding of the prospect of the complete loss of Russia as a partner and the adjoining of the Russian Federation to the main strategic competitor of the United States, China. In the meantime, Russia is making the State Department understand something else – that with Washington’s toughest position towards Moscow, the Russian leadership is ready to tolerate Washington’s provocations and curry favor with the United States.

As soon as Russia withdraws from the WTO and WHO, breaks off deals on uranium and titanium, after which it announces a break in diplomatic relations with the United States, the situation at the top of the United States may change.

“SP”:What place do you think Ukraine and Russia occupy in the US foreign policy strategy? Do they matter more than confrontation with China?

– Confrontation with Russia is the main political game of the American establishment. This fun allows the State Department to sculpt a monster out of the Russian Federation, virtually constantly defeat it – and not bear any consequences. Russia is an ideal punching bag for foreign policy.

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