Aid to Ukraine is worth it

Populist critics have attacked the new $40 billion in aid to Ukraine. Donald Trump has complained that we are sending billions to Ukraine “yet American parents are struggling to feed their children”. Republican Senator Josh Hawley calls the aid “fuzzy globalism.”

There’s no doubt that $40 billion is a huge sum, even in Washington, DC, around 2022, but the expense is justified.

At the end of the day, there’s no denying that it costs a lot of money to support a country that is waging war in the 21st century against an advanced, albeit incompetent, military enemy.

We would have saved tens of billions of dollars, at least initially, if we had never helped Ukraine and just let Russia invade. But a victorious Putin would have posed a more direct threat to NATO. It would have caused an even greater military build-up in the West than what we see now, and we would have been part of it, unless we decided to give up our most important alliance.

The war in Ukraine may be expensive, but it is the Ukrainians who are fighting. They degrade a US adversary’s military and attempt to drive it away from NATO borders without a single US or Western soldier engaged in combat. All things considered, it’s a bargain.

Nearly $9 billion of the package replenishes US stockpiles after Biden sent US weapons to Ukraine on an emergency basis using the presidential withdrawal authority. It would be perverse not to replenish our javelin stocks at this point in the name of economy on Ukraine.

Similarly, several billion dollars of the envelope pay for the deployment of American troops in NATO countries.

Part of the military aid is billions of dollars in funding for Ukraine and NATO countries to buy US weapons, which Trump has strongly supported in the past on “America First” grounds.

It’s not as if aid prevents us from pursuing urgent national priorities. We don’t have a shortage of infant formula because we sent too many weapons to Ukraine, and the shortage—largely a regulatory issue—would still exist if our new level of aid to Ukraine were of $0.

It is the same with the border. Biden is not interested in policies that could restore order there, which was true before the Ukraine war and likely will be after.

Europe could certainly do more, especially with regard to general support for the Ukrainian government and food aid to Ukraine and the countries most affected by the disruptions linked to the war. Our other allies who have no interest in taking sides between Ukraine and Russia should also provide food aid.

It should not be misunderstood, however, that the stakes of war are high. The outcome will profoundly affect Ukraine’s future, the strength of the Western alliance, perhaps the nature of the Russian regime and China’s thinking about whether or not it’s too risky to try. to take Taiwan by force.

Getting Russia out of the way, and maybe defeating it without firing a shot, is worth $40 billion.


Rich Lowry is the editor of the National Review.

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