Donald Trump is casting a long shadow over the permanent war policy, though it’s not about what he may actually do should he be sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2025. Rather, it’s mainly about what the trans-Atlantic war party claims they’re afraid he’ll do (or at least what they say publicly), and only a little bit about what he’s doing now.
An effort to craft a deal on Biden’s $106 billion war budget request as it is running into problems in the U.S. Senate because some Republicans are wary of any agreement that Trump will oppose, particularly on the border security part of the package, during an election year. In a closed-door Republican meeting on Jan. 24, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the reality of Trump’s opposition, that he is the party’s likely presidential nominee, and discussed other options, including potentially separating Ukraine aid from border security, according to two people who spoke anonymously so as to discuss the private meeting, reported The Associated Press. “We’re still working on it,” McConnell told reporters on Jan. 25, in an apparent attempt to dispel doubts about his own support for aid to Ukraine. Trump, however, has already said on social media that there should be no bipartisan border deal “unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people.”
On the Democratic side, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-MD) took to the Senate floor yesterday to push for increased aid to Ukraine. “This isn’t a choice between sending funding to Ukraine or not sending funding to Ukraine. The choice is between sending American dollars to fight [Russian President Vladimir] Putin now or sending American soldiers to fight him later. If we want to preserve America’s credibility with our allies, it’s up to us,” said Cardin.
The worry about Trump’s influence is not limited to Washington. The New York Times reported yesterday in an article titled, “‘No Time to Go Wobbly’: Why Britain Is Lobbying U.S. Republicans on Ukraine,” that London is pushing Washington to “stand firm” in its support of the Kiev regime. The Times noted that when Foreign Minister David Cameron was in Washington in December, he took time out to meet with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to press the case for backing Ukraine. Boris Johnson, another former prime minister, recently argued that the re-election of Trump to the White House would not be such a bad thing, so long as Mr. Trump comes around on helping Ukraine.
The New York Times London bureau chief Mark Landler wrote: “If the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States has taken on an air of special pleading in recent weeks, it is because Britain, rock solid in its support for Ukraine, now views its role as bucking up an ally for whom aid to the embattled country has become a political obstacle course.” He added: “British diplomats said Mr. Cameron and other senior officials had made it a priority to reach out to Republicans who were hostile to further aid.”