Connect with us

World

Biden’s next 2 years: A brutal war and a rough campaign

News Agencies

Published

on

Biden’s next 2 years: A brutal war and a rough campaign

President Joe Biden’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine marked a new chapter in the United States’ commitment to Kyiv, one reflecting a growing belief that the war could stretch years and require extraordinary measures to hold an alliance together to repel Russia.

The 31 Abrams tanks that Biden pledged Wednesday underscores where the conflict stands as it approaches its one-year mark. It also gives hints as to where the administration sees it going.

The American vehicles may not be usable on the frontlines for nearly a year, but they helped push a reluctant Germany to send its own tanks that could arrive sooner to help counter an expected Russian spring offensive.

Maintaining diplomatic ties with European allies, American officials have realized, will take on paramount importance as Russian president Vladimir Putin shows no signs of relenting despite repeated setbacks. The punishing conflict appears poised to last long into the foreseeable future — shadowing Biden’s likely reelection campaign and testing Europe’s resolve in the face of compounding economic woes.

Advertisement

“Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve. He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong,” Biden said Wednesday. “We are united. America is united and so is the world.”

Yet, with Biden potentially weeks from announcing his reelection bid, a war with no end in sight threatens to loom over him on the trail.

Biden’s national security team — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan – are all remaining in their posts, for now. His incoming chief of staff, Jeff Zients, is preparing to take over his new job shortly after the State of the Union early next month.

Advertisement

Biden aides see the war as a winning 2024 issue for the president, who has framed the conflict as a battle for democracy.

Though Biden aides don’t expect the war to be one of the top issues heading into the next election, polling suggests that the public backs the president. A new Ipsos poll released this week shows that a majority of Americans favor keeping the weapons supply line to Ukraine open — while keeping the U.S. military off the battlefield.

Advertisement

In last year’s congressional lame duck session, the White House secured funding for Ukraine that should last for several months. Although the new GOP House majority has threatened to cut off or curtail future aid, the West Wing is already plotting to lobby mainstream Republicans to vote for future assistance.

“Opposing aid to Ukraine may help you win some votes in a Republican primary. But it’s still a terrible way to win votes in a general election,” said former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.). “To this day, there are a heck of a lot more Ukraine flags flying in my New Jersey district than Trump flags, even in the more conservative areas.”

Still, some senior congressional Democrats fear that conditions on the ground in Ukraine could eventually hurt Biden’s narrative.

Advertisement

They worry that if Russia makes gains, or if Ukraine simply fails to advance further by the fall, voters will wonder why the administration expended so much money, weapons and time propping Ukraine up at all. All the talk of standing up for democracy, they fear, will mean little if Kyiv is on the back foot while Moscow gains strength.

The tanks, therefore, represent the war’s short and long-term realities colliding.

Deploying the Abrams pried Leopard tanks from Germany, beginning their journey to Ukraine. The decision to send tanks comes as Russia is mobilizing more troops, safeguarding supply lines and refining their tactics. A new victory in Soledar on Wednesday put Moscow one step closer to seizing the strategic eastern city of Bakhmut.

Advertisement

Biden will have to, at once, manage a long-haul war and a two-year campaign. Senior administration officials aren’t too worried about the politics part. “Opponents are saying we’re doing too much or not enough. That suggests our approach is just right. We’re confident in our approach, and this is a debate we’re ready to have,” one of them said.

But the military components will be far more tricky to manage. American officials estimate that it could be many months, and potentially a year, to fully get Ukrainian troops to use the Abrams, signifying the expanding belief that the war will still be raging at that time. The German-made Leopards, however, could be in Ukraine within three months.

The more powerful vehicles may also, U.S. officials believe, help Ukraine to tilt the fighting in the east and mount its own counteroffensive.

Advertisement

But Russia still controls about 20 percent of Ukraine, and the officials believe the Ukrainian goal of retaking Crimea, which Russia took by force in 2014, remains unlikely and may deter Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from sitting across the table from Russian negotiators.

A prolonged war and a lack of clear progress could threaten to tear European unity apart and cause public support for Ukraine to fall on both sides of the Atlantic, administration aides fear.

For now, Biden’s decision to tie the Abrams transfer to Germany’s Leopards decision has kept the allies in lockstep.

Advertisement

German chancellor Olaf Scholz had been reluctant to unilaterally send the tanks, which can be deployed much more quickly than the Abrams.

For weeks, Washington and Berlin held secret talks, trying to push Scholz to send the tanks, which would also allow other European nations to deploy Leopards from their own arsenals. Poland, along with the Baltic States, stands closer to the fighting. They had said they would send their own tanks if Scholz approved, throwing a normally technical dispute into an open, bitter diplomatic melee.

Biden, meanwhile, moved on two tracks, according to two U.S. officials. He knew Ukraine needed Leopards on the battlefield immediately, but no one would see them on Ukraine’s muddy terrain unless he gave Scholz the political cover he needed. So after a final recommendation from Austin — whose Defense Department had previously called sending Abrams to Ukraine a bad idea — Biden moved to approve the tanks and linked the announcement with Scholz’s own declaration.

Advertisement

Scholz agreed to send his tanks Wednesday morning in Berlin. Hours later at the White House, Biden did the same.

“The Abrams tanks are not going to be in Ukraine in time for a spring offensive. So it seems we’re ready to commit to Ukraine for the long haul,” said Rachel Rizzo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center. “But you can see the importance, too, of the U.S. role in managing the relationship with Germany and also Germany’s relationships with its European allies.”

Biden, who entered office determined to rebuild trust with transatlantic allies and was scarred by four years of Donald Trump’s treatment of Europe, has long backed Scholz.

Advertisement

When the new chancellor visited Washington last February, just ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden defended Scholz from sharp questioning during a White House press conference over the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project that was nearly complete. And since the war began, he has made it a point of incrementally escalating the West’s involvement in the war, hand-in-hand with NATO allies.

“Scholz is afraid of escalation by Russia, and if it’s clear these German tanks are being sent with the U.S., then the U.S shares that risk,” said Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute, a think tank in Berlin, who warned that the next American election may change the support from across the Atlantic.

“Europeans should remember that the Biden administration will probably be seen as the last truly transatlantic minded administration. We’ll never have it as good as we have it with Grandfather Biden taking care of our needs, and that has to sink in in Europe.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Breaking News

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

'Clueless' star Elisa Donovan talks reuniting with Alicia Silverstone for Super Bowl ad: 'It was, without doubt, surreal' 'Clueless' star Elisa Donovan talks reuniting with Alicia Silverstone for Super Bowl ad: 'It was, without doubt, surreal'
Entertainment1 hour ago

‘Clueless’ star Elisa Donovan talks reuniting with Alicia Silverstone for Super Bowl ad: ‘It was, without doubt, surreal’

Elisa Donovan and Alicia Silverstone star in “Clueless.” (Photo: CBS via Getty Images) More than 27 years have passed since...

Recomendado: 5 películas con Jamie Lee Curtis, la actriz que es mucho más que la víctima perfecta de un psicópata enmascarado Recomendado: 5 películas con Jamie Lee Curtis, la actriz que es mucho más que la víctima perfecta de un psicópata enmascarado
Entertainment5 hours ago

Recomendado: 5 películas con Jamie Lee Curtis, la actriz que es mucho más que la víctima perfecta de un psicópata enmascarado

A los 64 años, la intérprete -hija de dos leyendas de Hollywood, Tony Curtis y Janet Leigh- consiguió su primera...

The final countdown: A 'robbed' fan favorite, a pandemic champio, and an 'icon' vie for one last spot on 'AGT All-Stars' The final countdown: A 'robbed' fan favorite, a pandemic champio, and an 'icon' vie for one last spot on 'AGT All-Stars'
Entertainment11 hours ago

The final countdown: A ‘robbed’ fan favorite, a pandemic champio, and an ‘icon’ vie for one last spot on ‘AGT All-Stars’

Comedian Josh Blue, poet Brandon Leake, and viral sensation Kodi Lee compete for the one remaining spot in the ‘America’s...

The final countdown: A 'robbed' fan favorite, a pandemic champion and an 'icon' vie for one last spot on 'AGT: All-Stars' The final countdown: A 'robbed' fan favorite, a pandemic champion and an 'icon' vie for one last spot on 'AGT: All-Stars'
Entertainment11 hours ago

The final countdown: A ‘robbed’ fan favorite, a pandemic champion and an ‘icon’ vie for one last spot on ‘AGT: All-Stars’

Comedian Josh Blue, poet Brandon Leake, and viral sensation Kodi Lee compete for the one remaining spot in the ‘America’s...

Chris Brown apologizes to Robert Glasper for social outburst after losing at the Grammys Chris Brown apologizes to Robert Glasper for social outburst after losing at the Grammys
Entertainment14 hours ago

Chris Brown apologizes to Robert Glasper for social outburst after losing at the Grammys

Chris Brown is sorry for being a sore loser at the Grammy Awards. The singer, 33, took to Instagram on...

I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel with original stars in the works at Sony I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel with original stars in the works at Sony
Entertainment14 hours ago

I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel with original stars in the works at Sony

Another summer, another hook-wielding psycho killer — and maybe some familiar faces too. More than 25 years after I Know...

Could 'The Last of Us' finale beat the Oscars in the ratings? We break down the numbers Could 'The Last of Us' finale beat the Oscars in the ratings? We break down the numbers
Entertainment14 hours ago

Could ‘The Last of Us’ finale beat the Oscars in the ratings? We break down the numbers

The fungal zombies are coming for the Oscars. In a programming matchup that’s certain to create an agonizing Sophie’s choice...

Will Smith Was Going to Be a Surprise Grammys Performer — but Had to Drop Out for 'Bad Boys 4' Will Smith Was Going to Be a Surprise Grammys Performer — but Had to Drop Out for 'Bad Boys 4'
Entertainment16 hours ago

Will Smith Was Going to Be a Surprise Grammys Performer — but Had to Drop Out for ‘Bad Boys 4’

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Confirm Bad Boys 4 Is in the Works: ‘It’s Official, Y’all!’ Will Smith/Instagram Will Smith...

Advertisement

Latest Sports

UFC plans to open a Performance Institute in Mexico City by the fourth quarter of 2023 UFC plans to open a Performance Institute in Mexico City by the fourth quarter of 2023
Sports22 mins ago

UFC plans to open a Performance Institute in Mexico City by the fourth quarter of 2023

The UFC announced Tuesday it will open its third Performance Institute, this one in Mexico City, by the fourth quarter...

Ranking the opponents Ranking the opponents
Sports51 mins ago

Ranking the opponents

After all that anticipation and wondering what the Big 12 conference was going to do to Oklahoma with the 2023

Capel on Boeheim's comments, NIL, the grind and more Capel on Boeheim's comments, NIL, the grind and more
Sports1 hour ago

Capel on Boeheim’s comments, NIL, the grind and more

Jeff Capel talked about Jim Boeheim's comments, the landscape of NIL and a lot more Monday morning.

How to watch to Arkansas-Kentucky, projected lineups, more How to watch to Arkansas-Kentucky, projected lineups, more
Sports2 hours ago

How to watch to Arkansas-Kentucky, projected lineups, more

HawgBeat provides everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday's game between Arkansas and Kentucky.

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023: Time, date, TV channel, halftime show for Eagles-Chiefs in Super Bowl 57 How to watch the Super Bowl 2023: Time, date, TV channel, halftime show for Eagles-Chiefs in Super Bowl 57
Sports2 hours ago

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023: Time, date, TV channel, halftime show for Eagles-Chiefs in Super Bowl 57

Now that the matchup is set, here's all the info you need.

Tom Brady gets emotional as Bill Belichick heaps praise on his former QB: 'The greatest .. Tom Brady gets emotional as Bill Belichick heaps praise on his former QB: 'The greatest ..
Sports3 hours ago

Tom Brady gets emotional as Bill Belichick heaps praise on his former QB: ‘The greatest … it was incredible’

Belichick joined his former quarterback on the first episode of Brady's podcast since he announced his retirement.

Tiger Tip-Off Preview: South Carolina Tiger Tip-Off Preview: South Carolina
Sports3 hours ago

Tiger Tip-Off Preview: South Carolina

Missouri couldn’t get its offense humming against Mississippi State on Wednesday, falling on the road, 63-52. The team will look...

Aaron Rodgers wins pro-am at Pebble Beach as weather delay forces Monday finish Aaron Rodgers wins pro-am at Pebble Beach as weather delay forces Monday finish
Sports4 hours ago

Aaron Rodgers wins pro-am at Pebble Beach as weather delay forces Monday finish

Justin Rose held a two-shot lead when play was suspended on Sunday night.

Technology Hot News

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" . Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .
Technology3 weeks ago

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .. the technology giants are planning to lay off 64,000 employees

After 10 years of driving the stock market bull run, big tech companies are racing to downsize staff to adapt...

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors
Technology3 weeks ago

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors

Yesterday, Tuesday, Apple unveiled MacBooks powered by the new, faster “M2 Pro” and “M2 Max” processor chips, in a surprise...

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung
Technology3 weeks ago

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung

Samsung has officially announced that the (Galaxy Unpacked 2023) event will be held this year on Wednesday, February 1, which...

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency
Technology3 weeks ago

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency

Bankrupt American cryptocurrency firm FTX announced today, Wednesday, that $415 million in cryptocurrency has been hacked and stolen from the...

Because of a "fraudulent tweet".. Because of a "fraudulent tweet"..
Technology3 weeks ago

Because of a "fraudulent tweet"… Elon Musk's trial begins

Elon Musk's trial began Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of jury members who will have to decide whether...

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions
Technology3 weeks ago

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions

Experts have developed an electric spoon that is able to replace spices and flavors and affect the taste buds in...

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices. The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.
Technology3 weeks ago

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.. so you can escape?

If you spot an unknown Bluetooth tagging device, there are ways to disable the device so it can't track your...

New Twitter. New Twitter.
Technology3 weeks ago

New Twitter.. For You tab to web version

The Twitter platform announced that it will bring the new tab (For You), which launched last Tuesday for iPhones and...

Advertisement