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More Billions for war while the planet burns: 5 Reasons why I oppose US Military Aid to Ukraine

May 25, 2022

Last Thursday, the US Senate passed a $40 Billion Aid package to Ukraine, with a mix of military aid, other forms of security assistance and some form of humanitarian relief funding. 

The Senate vote was 86 – 11, with every Democrat voting for the $40 Billion, and a majority of Republicans supporting it. Both Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow voted for the $40 Billion package. 

This now bring the amount of US military and relief aid to Ukraine at $53 Billion, since the Russian invasion earlier this year. According to an article from Vox, “The Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, as it’s officially known, sets aside approximately $40 billion in emergency funding for military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Kyiv, NATO allies, and partners supporting Ukraine.”

The Vox article does not indicate which NATO partners will also be receiving part of the $40 Billion, but the fact that they are including is troubling.

In a recent post on the truthout.org, Mike Ludwig writes:

The horrifying war of attrition threatens to drag on for months or years as fighting in Ukraine’s south and east rages and Russia bombards towns and cities to make away for more attacks. The United States is pumping weapons and military aid into Ukraine at unprecedented levels, raising a sharp debate about whether the U.S. is defending of a war-torn ally or pushing Ukrainians to become cannon fodder for a complex and dangerous proxy war with Russia. Biden administration officials have said the U.S. wants Ukraine to “win” the war and weaken the Russian military, a longstanding goal of the U.S.-led NATO alliance.

The notion that the US desires a regime change in Russia, was also a topic of discussion on Democracy Now last week.

My take on the latest US Military Aid package to Ukraine is that it will not, in the long run, reduce the harm being done since the Russian invasion began. Here are 5 reasons why I think that US military aid to Ukraine is a bad idea.

First, there is little evidence that the US Military assistance abroad has historically led to a just or peaceful resolution of conflicts. This is a critical point, since the US is the largest military weapons trafficker around the globe and has the largest military budget. The National Priorities Project recently wrote:

That is to say, that U.S. and NATO military spending totaling nearly $1.2 trillion – more than 17 times as much as Russia spent – failed to dissuade Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine. The U.S. alone spent 12 times as much as Russia. 

U.S. military spending had been on an upward trajectory throughout the Trump years, and that trend has continued under the Biden administration, and with a Democrat-controlled Congress. 

Just weeks after Congress approved a $782 billion war and military budget, the Biden administration proposed increasing it to $813 billion – higher than at any time under President Trump, and higher than the peak of the Vietnam War or the Cold War.

This is despite the fact that President Biden also ended the nation’s longest active war by bringing troops home from Afghanistan. You might expect war spending to decrease after that, but not this time.

Meanwhile, all this spending failed to dissuade Russia’s Putin from invading Ukraine, even though it sponsored dozens of bases and tens of thousands of troops in Europe, ostensibly to guarantee the continent’s safety. 

Second, the US government doesn’t have a moral leg to stand on when it comes to intervention in global affairs. We all know what happened in the illegal US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan in recent decades, with more than a million dead Iraqis and tens of thousands of Afghanis. In fact, the US has a long history of brutal imperialist interventions around the world. Check out the list that Professor Zoltan Grossman has put together, which provides an excellent chronological list beginning with 1890. Biden, like all past presidents, can say that US military aid is designed to create a peaceful resolution, yet I can’t find one real legitimate example of that ever happening. 

Third, the US Military Industrial Complex always benefits and profits from US weapons sales and US military aid abroad, which is why the weapons industry provides millions and millions in campaign contributions and lobbying Congress on an annual basis. One recent example is Lockheed Martin, which contributed $250,000 to politicians while they were deliberating on US military aid to Ukraine.

Fourth, the US Government, media pundits, think tanks and other entities are always saying things like “we can’t afford Medicare for All,” cancel student debt or any number of things that would benefit people living in the US, especially those most marginalized. Yet, Congress never hesitates to provide military spending, like in the case of Ukraine, or the massive and largest US military Budget (for 2023) in US history that the Biden Administration will likely adopt in the near future. Imagine how the billions that goes to US militarism could be used for affordable housing, canceling student  debt, providing Medicare for All, create a renewable energy system or provide Black people with the reparations they deserve.

Fifth, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent report, released in March, is pretty bleak in terms of the pending Climate disaster. The United Nations Secretary General responded to the lasted Climate Change report and stated:

Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership. With fact upon fact, this report reveals how people and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change. Nearly half of humanity is living in the danger zone now. Many ecosystems are at the point of no return now. Unchecked carbon pollution is forcing the world’s most vulnerable on a frogmarch to destruction now. The facts are undeniable. This abdication of leadership is criminal. The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson on our only home. 

Perpetuating war and militarism is taking us in the opposite direction of what we need to do to decrease our collective consumption of fossil fuels and to slow down the harm that Climate Change is already doing, specifically to the most vulnerable populations around the world.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, during his powerful speech condemning the Vietnam War in 1967:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that US Militarism is connected to the ongoing litany of shootings in the US. The US government is the largest trafficker os weapons globally, so it is not surprising that guns are so readily available in the US. The US government models the behavior that violence solves problems around the world, thus it would follow that shootings in the US happen all the time, since violence is so normalized.

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