As Zelensky Again Goes To Washington, Almost Half Of US Voters Think Biden Spending Too Much On Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 11, 2023 - 05:45 PM

With $60 billion in stalled aid on the line, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is once again going to Washington to appeal for Congressional leaders to continue US support for Kiev's war effort. The planned schedule includes meeting with President Biden at the White House on Tuesday, as well as talks with House Speaker Mike Johnson, followed by meetings with senators.

Close on the heels of Republican senators last week blocking Biden's requested $106 billion in emergency aid, with most of it for Ukraine, the Ukrainian presidency issued a statement saying meeting will focus on "further defense cooperation between Ukraine and the United States, particularly through joint projects on the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as the coordination of efforts between our countries in the coming year."

Via Reuters

The trip also comes after a slew of negative and embarrassing headlines, including news stories that cited sources close to Zelensky saying he "deludes himself" into thinking Ukraine can still win the war against Russia. A recent and unexpected piece in Time Magazine had this to say of Zelensky:

But his convictions haven’t changed. Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, he does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic. "He deludes himself," one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. "We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that."

In Ukraine, there's also been more domestic scrutiny of his administration, with Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko last week saying publicly, Zelensky is becoming an autocrat.

"At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man," Klitschko had told German news outlet Der Spiegel. "There is currently only one independent institution, but enormous pressure is being exerted on it: local self-government," the mayor had added.

And so it seems obvious that this new trip to the White House is meant to reverse this trend of worsening PR. The Gaza War has also been a big factor in taking the global spotlight off of Zelensky and the Ukraine conflict in general.

American public opinion of US government support to Ukraine is also clearly slipping. A rare headline in a fresh FT report admitted for the first time that Nearly half US voters think Biden is spending too much on Ukraine aid. It found, according to polling data...

The latest FT-Michigan Ross poll found that 48 per cent believed the US was spending "too much" in military and financial aid to bolster Kyiv’s war effort against Russia, compared with 27 per cent who said Washington was spending the "right amount" and 11 per cent who said the US was not spending enough.

Opposition was particularly pronounced among Republicans, with 65 per cent saying the US was spending too much in Ukraine, compared with roughly half — 52 per cent — of independents and just a third — 32 per cent — of Democrats.

Still, Biden is expected to "underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment," as a White House statement has previewed.

Interestingly, the same poll found that support for unlimited defense aid to Israel is also waning:

Although there was more support in the FT-Michigan Ross poll for aid to Israel, the survey found significant levels of scepticism for aiding the Jewish state in its war against Hamas. Forty per cent said the US was spending “too much” on military and financial aid to Israel, while 30 per cent said Washington was spending the “right amount”.

So on display this week will be an increasingly unpopular foreign leader visiting a White House that's already against ropes as it struggles under the pressure of the Gaza war, as civilian atrocities mount. 

Will Zelensky's visit come and go with a shrug from Congress and little fanfare (as did the last visit)? Or will Congressional holdouts finally be swayed? Likely it will be the former scenario.