The Democrat and Republican leadership in the United States Senate is maneuvering to send $60 billion to Ukraine, despite the war essentially being lost and regardless of the fact that many key programs for the U.S. working class remain underfunded. Throwing good money after bad is justified in Washington by myth-making – the idea that Ukraine is involved in some great fight against evil. The myths hide the reality of a conflict provoked by the United States and European powers, who deliberately blocked avenues for peace and propped up a corrupt, neoliberal government for the dubious purpose of controlling the entire world.
One of the easiest ways to judge the state of the war is to examine the various maps tracking the war’s progress. What you will notice is, despite tens of billions of dollars and every type of advanced military equipment, the frontline has not significantly moved in over a year. And now, Russia seems to be incrementally taking back several areas along the frontline. Ukraine’s military has been through the meatgrinder. One Ukrainian politician told ABC News that 500,000 Ukrainians have been wounded or killed and that “30,000 Ukrainian troops are now being killed or badly wounded per month.”
Foreign Affairs, the in-house imperialist journal of the U.S. ruling class, bluntly stated that Russia has “stopped Ukraine’s momentum,” the author of the article further noted: “The implications of this for Ukraine are grim.” Ukrainian soldiers told the New York Times: “The toll is heavy for all units along the front. Almost everyone has been wounded or survived a narrow escape in recent months,” and that they do not have “enough men.” In other words, Ukraine is losing and prospects for a turnaround are as much “hopes and dreams” as grounded analysis.
Even people who hate Putin are saying things like “in Ukraine, democracy is largely suspended.” And this isn’t something that started with the war. In fact, as early as 2021 Zelensky’s government banned most of the television channels that criticized him and took actions to kneecap the main opposition party. Also, before the war, Zelensky pushed the IMF-backed proposal to sell off the country’s land to international agribusiness, increased water and electricity prices and attacked unions. Unsurprisingly, as the war has gone on, Zelensky has proposed further selling the country for parts to Western corporations. He even went so far as to go to the New York Stock Exchange to announce he was selling off $400 billion in state property.
On top of all this, Zelensky, and all the post-2014 governments in Ukraine have embraced pro-Nazi political movements. All-in-all, this is not exactly a glorious crusade for freedom.
Given all this, what possible interest could workers in the US have for supporting increased militarism in Ukraine? We are told we must “stop Russia.” Why? Well, according to successive U.S. administrations for decades, because Russia has different ideas about the region and the world. Further, the issue of “why?” isn’t happening in a vacuum. Instead it’s happening at a time where for the money we are spending on Ukraine we could hire tens of thousands of teachers, keep tens of thousands of families from going homeless, replace all the lead pipes in Wisconsin and New Jersey, give striking workers unemployment insurance, and provide millions of mothers and infants with proper nutrition and care. And this would still leave money left to spend.
With Ukraine funding hanging in the balance in Congress, now is the perfect time for those who want to empower workers and end the capitalist domination of our domestic and foreign policy to demand the U.S. drop its support for the failed war policy in Ukraine.