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  • Writer's pictureWill Grice

The U.S Reaffirms Support for Ukraine and Israel Against Iran. Yet, the Geopolitical Stage Is More Uncertain Than Ever

In the past few days, after months of delay and desperate calls from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S Congress approved a foreign aid pay package worth ninety-five billion dollars. Included in this figure, according to the BBC, is sixty-one billion dollars in military aid directly for Ukraine, with the rest for supporting Taiwan and Israel - there are concerns that the situation between Israel and Iran could further escalate. However, this comes at a time of increased division in Congress and the Senate, with certain Republican figures - including Marjorie Taylor Greene - declaring that the aid going to Ukraine represented ‘the sellout of America’, referencing the southern border crisis as a more pressing issue for the American people. This divide amongst the Republicans towards sending foreign aid to Ukraine has raised concerns in Washington and Ukraine about the direction of the war if Joe Biden loses the election in November 2024, given that 112 Republicans voted against this legislation. Additionally, on the left side of the political spectrum, many democratic figures are turning against the President’s financial support of Israel, with senior figures like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign in an interview with Irish broadcaster RTÉ.


Furthermore, another divisive measure included in the legislation passed by the Senate is a bill to ban TikTok in the United States over national security fears. They have given the option to TikTok’s Chinese owner, Bytedance, to sell up or face being banned in the United States. This is a controversial move against an application with over 170m users, according to the BBC. The vote was, however, clearly passed with a majority ‘yes’ vote of 79-18. Texas Republican representative Michael McCaul argued that ‘This app is a spy balloon in Americans’ phones … used to surveil and exploit Americans’ personal information’ – and other lawmakers have tried to convince Americans opposed to the legislation that, if they had access to the intelligence that they were getting, they would understand why the legislation is needed. In response, TikTok’s owners have rallied against the move by Washington, proclaiming that any such ban would ‘trample the free speech’ of 170m Americans. Another right-wing figure, Elon Musk, echoes these concerns, stating that ‘doing so [banning TikTok] would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression. It is not what America stands for.’ Moreover, polling data of the American population shows a significant divide depending on the age of who is asked: a poll for the Associated Press found that thirty-one-percent of U.S adults supported a ban, whereas thirty-five-percent opposed a ban. In contrast, polling by Pew Research Center found that support for a TikTok ban is lowest amongst teens, with only eighteen-percent of teens (aged thirteen to seventeen) in favour. Only time will tell to see what the response from TikTok’s Chinese majority stakeholder will be, and how a potential Republican win in November 2024 may affect the legislation. Even so, this research highlights yet another dividing line between the American youth and adults.


Returning to the financial aid agreed on by Congress, let’s look at what the bill will mean for the Ukrainian military - who have been suffering losses of territory since their failed 2023 counter-offensive. The package will likely include air defence systems, particularly the Patriot missile system that is able to monitor Ukrainian airspace for ballistic missiles and shoot them down up to a range of seventy kilometres. It has proven effective in preventing Russian attacks from the air, shooting down many Russian SU-34 planes. As well as that, HIMARS long-range missiles will likely be sent to Ukraine, having proven more effective than Russian missiles with its long-range and accuracy. The latter makes it ‘one of the world’s most advanced rocket artillery systems’, according to Ian Williams, deputy director of CSIS’s Missile Defense. It is hoped that the higher effectiveness of these missile systems compared to their Russian counterparts will give Ukraine the ability to regain ground, with President Zelensky warning earlier in April that, without the support of the U.S Congress, ‘Ukraine will lose the war’. Despite some Republican opposition to the bill, Mike Johnson, speaker of the House of Representatives, having been formerly opposed to bringing the bill to the House, changed his mind on the issue. He cites having seen intelligence that changed his position, believing that if Putin was left to his own devices in Ukraine, ‘he would continue marching through Europe’, and the possibility of him entering NATO territory should not be ignored. Even with the news of a significant aid package reaching Ukraine, the future remains more uncertain than ever as support amongst Republican voters for supporting Ukraine continues to fall. A poll for Gallup in November 2023 highlights that sixty-two-percent of Republican voters believe that the U.S is spending too much on Ukraine, citing issues such as the U.S-Mexico border crisis and America’s thirty-four-trillion-dollar debt as more important. If Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive fails, there will be a great degree of concern in Europe and the United States, especially if Donald Trump is successful in regaining power, amongst a voter base who are extremely divided on the Ukraine war.


Lastly, seventeen-billion dollars of aid will be sent to Israel as part of the package and a further nine-billion will go to helping those suffering in war zones like Gaza. Following an escalation from Iran, in which hundreds of drones and missiles were sent directly to Israel, the United States, amongst its European allies, including Great Britain, helped to neutralise ‘nearly all’ of the missiles - showing their continued commitment to protecting Israel. Fears of even further escalation that could come from Israel responding to Iran’s attack appear to have subsided, with Israel’s drone attack on the Iranian city of Isfahan being played down by Tehran - calming fears of the conflict widening. Nevertheless, Americans remain divided over the issue, with concerns over the scale of Israel’s response and whether it is even possible to eradicate all of Hamas. Concerningly, antisemitic hate crimes were reported hitting an all-time high in 2023: the White House recently condemned antisemitism at New York’s Columbia University, following reports of intimidation and violence towards Jewish students.


The global political stage remains divided. This is not just an issue of Democrat versus Republican, or the Left versus the Right, as there are significant divisions within both parties and across the voter base. The question remains about how the U.S will continue to support Ukraine and Israel in the outcome of a Republican victory in November - and to what extent Vladimir Putin is playing the waiting game in Ukraine and waiting for funding to wane. As well as that, in Israel there are important questions as to where the war goes from here. Palestinians are fearing that they will have nowhere to go, especially if Israel progresses with its attack on Rafah. It is the only route Palestinians have left to flee Gaza. These are all delicate political issues with extremism on both sides but, no matter who wins in November, they will have to find a way of stabilising global tensions at a time when peace seems more uncertain than ever.

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