Key US interests ahead of NATO summit: Don’t automatically support Ukraine

Key US interests ahead of NATO summit: Don't automatically support Ukraine
US President Joe Biden arrived in Vilnius for the NATO summit


  • Rose Verbrugge

    Editor’s Bureau Washington

  • Rose Verbrugge

    Editor’s Bureau Washington

For US President Biden, tomorrow’s NATO summit in Vilnius will be about a new map for Ukraine. While support for Ukraine remains substantial in the United States, despite Biden announcing a new aid package last week, there are grumblings, particularly among Republicans.

So Biden wants to talk in Vilnius about what reforms Ukraine is willing to implement, so he has a solid story if he inevitably has to ask Congress for another financial contribution soon. As long as the war is going on, NATO membership goes too far for the US president.

Among Americans, Ukraine still has considerable support. A recent poll found that 81 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans support U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine.

Campaign strategist Jason Roe advised Republican leaders Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio. He wonders how strong the support still is, given that after a year it will dissipate among the public. “America first” and anti-war rhetoric will increase among candidates in upcoming election campaigns, he says: “After the primaries, we’ll see if that support is still there.”


Republicans are divided over billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine. Because of domestic debt and inflation, many Americans are skeptical about how long America can invest money in a country that is far away.

There are fireworks and happy music, but there are also sounds of criticism in Alexandria, where Americans celebrated their own independence last weekend, but Ukraine’s independence worries many people:

Americans continue to support sending arms to Ukraine

Last week, the Biden administration announced an $800 million military aid package for Ukraine. The US is also sending cluster bombs across the border for the first time. There was a lot of criticism of the decision, as unexploded bombs can remain on the ground for years after launch and detonate spontaneously.

“Victory for Ukraine is essential to democracy in the world, but that victory must not come at the expense of our American values,” said Democratic Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. Republican Michael McCaul, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, supports Biden’s decision. “Cluster bombs could be a game changer in Ukrainian counteroffensive.”

The U.S. is sending cluster munitions because other munitions are in short supply and because U.S. arms manufacturers cannot keep up with the high demand from Ukraine. National Security Adviser John Kirby said using the controversial bombs was a temporary solution. “This will allow us to close the gap while restoring conventional weapons production.”

A clear diplomatic strategy

The United States has already invested more than $75 billion in the war, and is the main supplier of weapons, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine. This caused discontent within the Republican Party for some time. In April, ultraconservative senators and members of the House of Representatives sent a critique Letter The President talks to Biden about the White House’s unrestrained support for Ukraine. “We oppose all future aid packages unless they are linked to a clear diplomatic strategy to end this war quickly.”

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That’s why Biden wants to meet with NATO allies and President Zelensky in the coming days to create a road map for Ukraine. For example, in the field of anti-corruption and good governance, according to Americans, some work still needs to be done. Before that, Biden did not want to talk about possible Ukrainian membership of NATO. The Americans certainly did not wait for that after the defeat in Afghanistan, as the 5th clause of the alliance would then lead the US and NATO directly to war with Russia.

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