President Joe Biden’s $40 billion proposed aid package for Ukraine has met some unexpected opposition. While we cannot speak to the merits of specific provisions of the Biden plan, we hope that both sides will reconsider with a view towards quickly coming up with something acceptable that will enable Ukraine to continue its historic efforts against Russia. The tectonic shift in the world order of things in our favor that is already taking shape from that conflict cannot be permitted to slip away: namely, Russia’s current robust role in the Middle East as well as in Europe.
The principal opponent is the plain-speaking Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Frankly, he makes some valid points. “We’ll end up giving more money to Ukraine than Russia spends for their entire military for a year,” he said recently. “We’re going to give them another $40 billion, no strings attached.” He also complained as well about an alleged lack of oversight of how the money would be spent and called for an empowered inspector general.
Additionally, Paul expressed concern that all of this money is being sent overseas to fund a foreign war while Americans are struggling with record-level inflation and rising costs of basic necessities.
Inflation is, of course, real, and it will doubtless be worsened by our sending out all of that money. It is also a reality that when $40 billion is on the table, there will inevitably be fraud, waste, and other abuses.
But we rather think that even with all of that, America will still be getting a bargain. Russia’s standing in the world militarily and economically has been knocked for a loop; it no longer poses the threat once feared. Not only that, but alliances under the NATO umbrella are being strengthened by the day and probably will be substantially enlarged without direct U.S. involvement or the investment of countless billions on a domestic military buildup. How many new divisions, planes, or warships would we otherwise have needed to get to the same place?
As Sen. Mitch McConnell has said, this is not “just some kind of philanthropy. This conflict has direct and major consequences for America’s national security.”
Things can quickly change on a battlefield, especially when one of the combatants is a major country like Russia. But for now, going forward with the aid to Ukraine is a no-brainer. We hope Sen. Paul agrees – and promptly.