What is the U.S. Interest in Ukraine?

The prevailing argument is that building a Europe “whole, free, and at peace” entails defending Ukrainian democracy against Russia’s interference. But a rigorous analysis of America’s actual interests in Ukraine suggests a different conclusion. First, claiming that acting in Ukraine will deter future aggression overlooks research showing that great power calculations depend far more on contextual judgments of capability and interest.

Many policymakers and pundits argue that America has a vital strategic interest in Ukraine. They point to the need to prevent Russia from becoming a Eurasian hegemon and the importance of Ukraine as a key NATO ally. They also cite the need to protect democracy and the liberal international order. However, these arguments lack rigorous analysis of American national interests. They fail to consider how the war in Ukraine fits into the overall U.S. foreign policy strategy, and they fail to account for the political and economic costs of a protracted war that exhausts American resources and erodes its ability to pursue other goals.

The case for intervening in Ukraine is more complicated than some might think. The United States has a long history of supporting democracy abroad, but it has often tempered this impulse with consideration for geopolitical imperatives that might affect the spread of democracy. In fact, the United States frequently overthrew elected governments in countries such as Iran and Guatemala, and it has made deals with autocratic regimes such as Cold War-era Taiwan and South Korea.

In addition to its traditional security concerns, the United States has a broad interest in supporting Ukraine’s economy and preserving its independence. The country is a gateway to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and it has substantial natural resources and a large population that could be tapped to fuel growth.

Moreover, the United States has an interest in ensuring that Ukraine can defend itself from Russian aggression. Its military assistance to Ukraine has been significant, and it has provided Ukraine with more than $50 billion in aid from Western nations. This includes advanced weapons systems and equipment from NATO allies and close partners.

Furthermore, a prolonged war in Ukraine will likely hurt the Russian economy and strain its capacity to modernize its military forces. It will also hurt its ability to compete with China in global markets and may undermine the value of its nuclear deterrent.

The United States cannot afford to allow the war in Ukraine to drag on and to become a major drain on its financial and human resources. That is why it is so important for the United States and its allies to keep up the pressure on Russia and Ukraine, even as they work toward a peaceful settlement.

When Did the U.S. and Ukraine Become Allies

When Did the U.S. and Ukraine Become Allies?

The United States and Ukraine have long been allies, but this friendship has grown stronger since Russia’s aggression in 2014. As the conflict continues, Washington is working with its NATO allies and other partners to provide support for Ukraine. This support includes military and economic aid, such as battle tanks and fighter aircraft.

The support has also included training and other assistance for Ukraine’s security services. The United States and its allies have provided more than $5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the conflict began. This support has helped to strengthen Ukraine’s military capabilities, including a modernized air defense system and improved radar capabilities. It has also supported efforts to decontaminate landmines and unexploded ordnance from the conflict, as well as providing lifesaving digital explosive risk education to citizens of Ukraine.

But assertions that neglecting to act in Ukraine would undermine the global liberal order are misguided. First, the United States has never made the promotion of democracy a core interest; it is instead willing to intervene in the world to protect its vital interests. This means that the United States has overthrown elected governments in some countries (such as Iran and Guatemala) and supported autocracies in others (including Cold War-era Taiwan, South Korea, and post-Cold War Saudi Arabia).

In addition to the $50 billion of security assistance, the United States and its allies have committed to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has also backed Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and supports the country’s desire to eventually join the European Union. Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in Foreign Affairs in 1994 that a healthy Ukraine was essential to ensuring the U.S. retained a “credible and effective counterweight against a revitalized Russian empire” and to prevent Moscow from becoming a hegemon in Europe.

In short, a robust military campaign in Ukraine is the most efficient way to check Russia’s ambitions and avoid a future crisis with Moscow that could create an East-West dividing line across the continent. Critics will charge that this course sells out Ukraine, rewards Russia’s aggressiveness and nuclear brinksmanship, and does nothing to stop Moscow from bidding its time before invading again. But those charges are not only wrong, they are also dangerously simplistic.

Will Ukraine Pay the U.S. Back

Will Ukraine Pay the U.S. Back?

In the short term, the United States is providing Ukraine with military and financial aid to counter Russian aggression. It is possible that this assistance will continue for years. However, getting Russia to pay for any major aspects of a peace settlement is a dream at best.

At the moment, Ukraine is the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid, surpassing even countries such as China and India. The amount of money involved is staggering. It also shows that the United States is committed to Ukraine’s success. The question is whether this support can be sustained after the conflict ends.

The answer may lie in the fact that most of the aid being provided to Ukraine does not cost the U.S. anything in the form of direct cash. The vast majority of the aid is being purchased by the Ukrainian government from domestic sources – something that has been a long-standing policy since the founding fathers encouraged domestic industry in order to build an independent economy. In addition, a significant portion of the aid is being provided through loans and grants, which are essentially being provided free of charge.

Another consideration is the fact that the U.S. is already supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons and other equipment. This is being done under the “Ukraine Lend-Lease” bill, similar to the bill passed during WWII that enabled allied nations to get the weapons they needed to fight the Axis powers. It is true that the weapons being provided to Ukraine are older and more obsolete, but they still have considerable value compared to what Russia has on offer. And, of course, it is far cheaper to give Ukraine the tools it needs now than to spend billions fighting Russian expansion in a few years.

Ultimately, the success of Ukraine will have a number of positive ramifications around the world. It will build trust in the United States, attract ambitious and well-educated people from Ukraine, and create new trade and political partners. It will be a good example for the rest of Europe to follow. This is why it is so important for the U.S. to continue supporting the country through its various programs and to keep pushing for a peace settlement that considers Ukraine’s interests and Russia’s.