Biden needs to get real with Ukraine and Israel

| Apr 26, 2024
By Mark Hannah, Senior Fellow
This article appeared in CNN Opinion on April 26, 2024

The $95 billion military aid package President Joe Biden signed Wednesday was a feat of tough-minded negotiation to get funding to Ukraine and Israel after months of congressional horse-trading. But if the aid inflates those countries’ war aims, it could discourage the kind of tough-minded negotiation that is the only way to end their wars.

Biden is right to help democratic countries confront their illiberal enemies. Israel and Ukraine suffered terrible crimes of aggression. But lofty expressions of unconditional support can paradoxically hurt the countries they are meant to help by hindering the kind of negotiated peace that saves civilian lives and restores stability.

The funds might motivate Ukraine and Israel to pursue unwinnable victories: the full restoration of Ukraine’s borders and reclamation of Crimea, and the destruction of Hamas, respectively. In international politics and armed conflict, fraught as they are with mutual distrust and competing views of fairness, sometimes countries can’t achieve justice — they can only achieve peace.

The new infusion of aid gives the US a lot of leverage with Ukraine and Israel. Washington has largely refused to exercise its leverage thus far, but it must do so now or peace in the near future doesn’t stand a chance.

Read more of Mark’s article in CNN Opinion

Written by Mark Hannah

Mark is a senior fellow with the Independent America project at the Institute for Global Affairs and host of the podcast, None Of The Above.

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This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by IGA senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how US foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.

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