In the first week of 2023, the United States announced the provision of additional military aid to Ukraine and its allies and partners in the amount of $3.75 billion, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced.
In total, in the period from January 24, 2022, to November 20, 2022, the United States provided military, financial, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the amount of $47.9 billion.
The Quincy Institute recently expressed the opinion that the American public is tired of supporting the war in Ukraine.
Also, the headlines «Are Americans tired of supporting Ukraine?» can be seen more and more frequently in the mass media. For example, Voice of America News journalists write that «as the anniversary of the start of the conflict nears, some Americans are growing skittish about what they see as a blank check to fund a never-ending war on foreign soil.»
Do the Americans themselves really not support such assistance to Ukraine in its war with Russia?
A survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows the following sentiments among Americans:
- the majority of Americans — 65% — support economic aid to Ukraine;
- 65% support sending weapons, 66% — for economic aid, 75% — for strengthening sanctions, 73% — for accepting Ukrainian refugees in the USA;
- 47% believe that the US should «convince Ukraine» to agree to peace as soon as possible;
- 40% of respondents believe that the US should «maintain the current level of support for Ukraine indefinitely»;
As we can see, the majority of Americans are determined to support Ukraine.
If we compare the results of a similar poll in August 2022, then support was several percent higher:
- 71% of Americans supported providing economic aid to Ukraine;
- 72% were in favor of strengthening military aid, 80% of respondents were in favor of strengthening economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia;
- 76% of Americans supported the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees in their country;
- 38% believed that the US should «convince Ukraine» to agree to peace as soon as possible;
- 58% of respondents believed that the US should «maintain the current level of support for Ukraine indefinitely.»
Researchers at the American Pew Research Center, which provides information on public opinion in the United States and the world, explain the decline in support as follows:
«This shift in opinion is mostly attributable to the growing share of Republicans who say the U.S. is providing too much support to Ukraine. Today, 40% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents hold this view, up from 32% in the fall and much higher than the 9% who held this view in March of last year».
Indeed, support for U.S. military aid among Republicans has fallen, according to a survey by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, with 55% in favor, down from 68% in July and 80% in March. Similarly, 50% of Republicans supported the provision of US economic aid, compared to 64% in July and 74% in March.
What do the experts say?
Raphael S. Cohen (left on photos), Director, Strategy, and Doctrine Program, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Political Scientist and Gian Gentile (right on photos), Associate Director, RAND Arroyo Center; Senior Historian believe that the support of Ukraine by the Americans is still great, and the division of opinion in the government is natural:
«First, in absolute terms, support for Ukraine among Americans remains relatively robust — hovering at 57 percent or more, depending on the poll. This is a remarkable fact, especially now that the war is almost a year old. Nor is it unusual for there to be a partisan skew in opinion on the war. Conflicts — including in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan — often begin with support from both sides of the aisle. But as wars draw on, and as the original motive for the intervention begins to fade from collective memory, partisan divides creep in.»
The mentioned experts also believe that the myth of the US getting tired of helping Ukraine is being spread on purpose, as there are no good reasons to say with confidence that the Americans are getting tired or unwilling to support Ukraine.
Raphael S. Cohen and Gian Gentile also emphasize that any survey is a reflection of the situation here and now, but the opinion of the respondent may change under the influence of some important events:
«Should Russia do something shocking — such as employing a nuclear weapon or trying to capture Kyiv again — support for Ukraine among the naysayers may well rebound.»
Why is it important for the US to support Ukraine?
«I would consider this issue primarily from the point of view of the strategic interests of the United States itself. They unequivocally say the need to support Ukraine as long as it takes. And today’s unexpected visit by President Biden is a powerful confirmation of that.
Wes Mitchell (former assistant to the head of the State Department, co-founder of the think tank Marathon Initiative and co-chair of the group of experts created by the NATO Secretary General, which last year published a report on the strategy of the North Atlantic Alliance) once noted that even before the Russian aggression, Joe Biden rightly noted that «superpowers do not bluff «. Mitchell emphasizes that now is America’s only chance to prove that its warnings should have been taken seriously. There will be no second chance, and in order to dispel concerns about the reliability of the United States among its allies, which is a key factor in the American system of alliances, it is necessary to win in Ukraine.
Therefore, it is in the obvious interests of Washington that Russia does not win this war. The more losses the Russians suffer, the more cautious the US’s strategic rival, China, will be, which will think twice before deciding to attack Taiwan.
The head of the Security and Defense Council at the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, Przemysław Zhuravskyi vel Hrayevskyi, agrees with him, who emphasizes that the fastest way to encourage Xi Jinping to invade Taiwan is to fail to deal with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The image of defeat in Afghanistan led to the need to dispel the impression of US weakness. Washington’s $40 billion Lend-Lease arms program has created a situation where a possible loss by the Ukrainians would be a prestige disaster for the United States as well. They would begin to be perceived as incapable of resisting the aggression of despotic states against friendly democracies, which would prompt China to try to resolve the Taiwan question by force. Therefore, the victory of Ukraine is a vital American interest.
The defeat of Ukraine would mean a decrease in American influence in Europe, a direct threat from Russia to the still pro-American states of the eastern flank of the EU and NATO, and a weakening of transatlantic ties. This would push the US out of Europe.
Here, again, an analogy with the times of the Second World War is very appropriate. No number of arms saving by the Western powers could compensate them for the damage to their security that resulted from the defeat of the Polish Army in 1939. Therefore, no level of arms savings will be less important for the West than the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which exist and are successfully fighting Russia. And preventing the defeat of the Ukrainian army is much better, both for the United States and for other NATO countries, than keeping weapons in their warehouses.
And the victory of Ukraine will mean the destruction of Russia as a world power that has expansion capabilities, which is also in the interests of the USA and the entire West», — believes Anatoly Kurnosov, expert of the Center for Political Studies «Doctrine»
We can assume that the information about the fatigue of Americans from helping Ukraine is more of a myth or a distorted reality than reality. Because most Americans still support aid and understand its importance.