By: Sebastien Spencer
On December 22, 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to the US under American security to meet with President Biden and address a joint session of Congress.
The US recently passed multiple spending packages for Ukraine that include billions of dollars in aid and even a Patriot Missile system. Ukraine has also been included in the Senate’s $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill to last the remainder of the fiscal year.
Despite this, Zelensky has come to the US for the first time since February in an effort to secure more packages and the continued support of the US in the coming year, aid that Ukraine has and will continue to rely on throughout the conflict.
It is probable that Zelensky was attempting to make an impact on the former Congress, in the hopes that the newly elected members of Congress as of Jan. 3, 2023, will follow precedent.
Upon arriving in the US, Zelensky first met with President Biden – largely as a photo opportunity for the media – addressed the whole of Congress. Zelensky first thanked both parties and the US for its continued support to Ukraine, and highlighted the need for even more “cannons and shells.” Zelensky also highlighted a key idea in his address, saying “Your money is not charity, it is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
Zelensky claimed that the aid to Ukraine is an investment, and this may be true, but is it an investment that should be made?
Zelensky mentioned two types of previous investments from the government and the public: a moral and a monetary investment. The US has been the world’s leader in financial aid to Ukraine by a considerable margin, contributing roughly $18 billion in military aid alone. Zelensky also thanked America for appreciating their own warmth this Christmas and wishing that warmth to others.
Now, however, Congress must consider whether continuing to provide both monetary and moral investments is worth it. To decide this, Congress must consider what the return on investment may be. Zelensky highlighted a moral ROI in his address – the continuation and preservation of democracy. Now a tangible ROI must be considered. How will Ukraine be able to return what they have borrowed? Will they use their oil production or will they use agriculture? Will they cut ties with certain countries completely in return for American support, or allow the US to build a military base on Ukrainian soil?
All of these possibilities might be considered throughout the coming days, and it is only then that Congress will know the worth of their investment.
Though there are many implications to be considered, it is necessary for the US to continue to give its aid to Ukraine. A financial return for the aid given is necessary and will be agreed upon; however, it might be enough to consider, as an intangible benefit, the 240,000 killed and injured as a result of the conflict, the millions of refugees uprooted from their homes, and the potential threat of totalitarianism spreading throughout Ukraine and Europe.
1/12/2023 09:34:32 am
Great thoughts Sebastien!
1/12/2023 12:45:24 pm
It is true that America must do what all of us do when considering a budget--separating out what we would like to do from our ability to address what is of highest priority to do.
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