No country has spent as much on Ukraine’s defense as the U.S. Ukraine has received a total of over $113 billion in American military, economic, and financial aid, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
This marks the largest flow of aid to a belligerent nation since the U.S. Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act in 1941. That paved the way for the transfer of $51 billion in today’s dollars in aid. Countries receiving military assistance included the United Kingdom, the Free French, Chaing Kai-shek’s Nationalist government in China, and the Soviet Union, among others.
“The United States has provided billions in funding for Ukraine since the start of the war. The four supplemental aid packages passed by Congress to support Ukraine since the war began totals over $113.4 billion,” CSIS reported. “Appropriated in these packages is $62.3 billion for the Department of Defense, $46.1 billion for the Department of State and USAID, and $5 billion for other government agencies. The fourth package, which provided $48 billion, was approved in December 2022 by Congress.”
CSIS scholars Daniel F. Runde and Madeleine McLean continue: “The amount was meant to cover Ukraine’s needs through the end of this fiscal year, though there are some concerns that this will not be enough, and the Biden administration does not plan to ask for additional funds until the next fiscal year … The White House requested a further $20 billion last week. Thus far the aid has been essential at keeping Ukraine in the fight against Russia.”
U.S. assistance to Ukraine falls into three major categories: military, economic, and humanitarian aid. European countries that face a more imminent threat from Russia have given far less than the U.S. The Washington Post noted earlier this month that European Union had given Ukraine $35.9 billion; the United Kingdom had given $11.7 billion; and Germany had given $11.6 billion, rounding out the top three.
Are American Taxpayers Getting Their Bang for Their Buck in Ukraine?
American taxpayers expect investments to be worthwhile. So far that’s an open question.
Israel warned in July that it had serious concerns that U.S.-supplied weapons were falling into Russian hands, being shipped to Iran, and reverse-engineered for use against Israel.
A Pentagon inspector general’s report found that weapons that were transferred to Ukraine often were improperly secured, and that they had ended up in the hands of criminal elements.
CNN noted that in the period of February-September 2022, the Office of Defense Cooperation-Kyiv “was unable to conduct required [end-use monitoring] of military equipment that the United States provided to Ukraine in FY 2022.”
“The inability of DoD personnel to visit areas where equipment provided to Ukraine was being used or stored significantly hampered ODC-Kyiv’s ability” to monitor the weapons, the report said.
Ukrainian Counteroffensive Stalled by Bad Tactics and Strategy
So far Ukraine has not been able to make significant gains through its counteroffensive. Ukraine’s strategy of following Soviet patterns of thinking that seek to minimize rivalries by equally distributing resources across military commands instead of massing forces in pursuit of a single objective is causing consternation, The New York Times reported last week.
“[S]ome analysts say the progress may be too little too late. The fighting is taking place on mostly flat, unforgiving terrain, which favors the defenders. The Russians are battling from concealed positions that Ukrainian soldiers often see only when they are feet away. Hours after Ukrainians clear a field of mines, the Russians sometimes fire another rocket that disperses more of them at the same location,” The New York Times said. “Under American war doctrine, there is always a main effort to ensure that maximum resources go to a single front, even if supporting forces are fighting in other areas to hedge against failure or spread-out enemy defenses.”
Ukraine’s military does what it can with a force that has taken significant casualties and is plagued by a Soviet-style bureaucracy that undermines its effectiveness.
Americans Growing Impatient With Ukraine War
Ukraine is beginning to sound like Vietnam, and Americans are losing patience.
Aid to Ukraine with little to show for it is becoming increasingly unpopular among the American people. History shows that Americans do not support prolonged engagements. That was true with the Vietnam War. Public opinion turned against that conflict in the summer of 1966. The same happened with the Iraq invasion in the summer of 2004.
“We could do it forever,” Brookings Institution fellow Michael O’Hanlon told The Washington Post about the rate of funding and support for Ukraine. “It’s not economically unsustainable. But it’s probably politically unsustainable.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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