For most of 2022, and until the great counter-offensive broke on the Russian defence lines of Zaporozhzhia on mid-2023, it seemed that the greatest priority of the Biden administration, and most of Congress, was promoting and resourcing Ukraine’s proxy war against Russia. The problems were mounting up even before the June-July catastrophe. The NATO countries discovered that the demilitarisation of Western economies came at a price. Even though the US had been carrying the NATO defence budget, not even the home of the military-industrial complex was all that industrially productive. The NATO nations realised that, combined, they could not match Russia’s production of artillery shells to serve the god of war. Even so, Russia could not produce enough to match its usage, and purchased shells from Belarus, North Korea, and perhaps, Iran. NATO scoured the former Warsaw Pact countries for ammunition for Ukrainian legacy artillery, and then Bulgaria and South Korea for NATO standard shells and Japan for TNT. As the supply became more and more critical, the US went to its magazines in Israel, where it maintained ammunition to supply Israel at short notice.
Then came October 7, and suddenly the flow of ammunition changed direction. The Ukrainians, facing one of the most powerful armed forces in the world, looked on in dismay as ammunition on which they had been counting was diverted to Israel. Priorities. When the US’ commitment to Ukraine is weighed against its commitment to Israel, Ukraine is left high and dry in the scales.
And that would be that, except for the curious situation in the US Congress about ongoing aid packages to Israel and Ukraine. The Republican majority in the House, under its new Speaker, is demanding action to close the southern border to the flood of illegal immigrants – 2.4 million “encounters” at the SouthWest border in FY 2023 – and they are using the aid packages as collateral to force such action, so far without success. The House had earlier passed a Bill for aid to Israel but not for Ukraine, predicated on matching budget cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which neither the Senate nor the White House will approve. So all attention in negotiations is now focussed on the border issue. The Biden Administration is not budging on tightening border controls.
Is this indicative of the actual priorities of the Biden Administration? Is keeping the border flood going actually a higher priority than arming Israel? In recent weeks the IDF has withdrawn one of four divisions from Gaza for training and R&R, claiming that it was the success of IDF operations that brought this about. Coincidentally, Israel has been under pressure from the US to lower the intensity of the campaign in Gaza, particularly in respect of attacks on civilians and Gaza infrastructure. The stalling on funding may be more a tool to remind Israel of who is paying the military piper than a reflection of the open border fanaticism that has become a staple of the thinking of elites in the sad and decaying West. Watch this space.