Israel and Ukraine Go Rogue – Biden’s Political Dilemma

The fact that allies like Ukraine and Israel make controversial military moves against American advice, reveals escalating tensions between the Biden administration and partners it arms, raising concerns over conditions on aid and potential escalation with Middle East and Russia.

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Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network
Frontier India News Network is the in-house news collection and distribution agency.

American specialists have recently voiced their concern that the Biden administration ought to place more restrictions on any further aid it offers because the United States’ allies and partners are engaging in acts that are directly counter to American interests.

The United States just provided $95 billion in military assistance to Taiwan, Israel, and Ukraine. Despite protests from the U.S., Ukraine uses drones to attack energy facilities within Russia. Not only has Ukraine defied the U.S., but it has also not seen any real progress. This ought to have led to more caution in the allocation of more long-range weapons. Nonetheless, the U.S. rushed in an ATACMS army missile with an enhanced range. It is already widely known that Biden gave Ukraine permission to attack targets on Russian land with American weapons—but not ATACMS.

President Biden stopped the supply of some weapons and ammunition in opposition to Israel’s invasion of Rafah. Biden had previously backed Israel’s disproportionate military reaction to a terrorist strike by Hamas on October 7. Biden has also admitted that civilians in Gaza have died as a result of American weapons. Israel seems to be using U.S. weapons in a way that goes against the Biden administration’s strategy of progressively limiting U.S. military sales to countries that are most likely to violate human rights or international law.

Hamas launched a horrific attack on Israel, yet only three months earlier, it had approved Qatar’s ongoing funding of the terrorist group. A cohesive Palestinian front to address the two-state problem was prevented from forming in past years by the Israeli government’s covert support of Hamas. Both Israeli conservatives and Hamas criticized this decision. Still, Israel’s risky cooperation with a hostile organization has had disastrous consequences.

The Biden administration warned against making the same mistakes that the U.S. did following the 9/11 attacks—that is, overreacting and getting sucked into a trap—but Israel instead decided to punish the Palestinian people by killing up to 35,000 of them. They sent special forces to conduct a limited counterterrorism operation aimed at eliminating Hamas officials and terrorists with the least amount of civilian deaths possible.

Recently, Biden has openly demonstrated the difficulties of leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Zelensky of Ukraine, America’s two most challenging friends.

These are crucial moments in both battles because it is becoming increasingly clear that the national interests and the political objectives of the three leaders, who are obviously focused on preserving their own power, differ significantly.

Washington’s unclear position on what constitutes a satisfactory conclusion in Gaza or Ukraine exacerbates the situation. Officially, Ukraine keeps talking about a “total victory” that will drive Russia out of the land it has occupied since the conflict started in February 2022. Israel maintains that the only way to ensure that Hamas will never again carry out an attack akin to the one that happened on October 7, which claimed the lives of almost 1,200 Israelis and sparked a brutal seven-month-long counterattack, is to destroy it completely.

However, in Washington, these statements are becoming more and more absurd. Russia appears to be gaining ground. According to recent statements made by Israeli authorities, the conflict in Gaza is probably going to last until the end of the year, if not longer. The demand for Hamas’s total destruction seems like an excuse for never-ending hostilities. As such, Biden has taken on crisis management duties in an effort to prevent the worst outcomes, even though he is unable to offer a firm opinion on how these disputes will be resolved.

Israel and Ukraine do not have formal treaty alliances, unlike NATO members (the U.S. also has such arrangements in Asia). The United States is dedicated to taking these confrontations to the next level. Biden has now bet large stakes in each of the cases.

With little to no public justification, the White House declared on May 30 that Biden had secured a “limited exception” to his 27-month assertion that U.S. weapons could never be directed toward Russian territory. It was done in an effort to “prevent World War III.”

President Biden reportedly expressed his concerns to his advisors about the possibility of worsening the situation with Russia. He understood that arming Ukraine for defensive purposes inside its borders was essential. However, Biden cautioned that using U.S. artillery, missiles, and rockets to strike targets within Russia may lead to civilian and military casualties as well as infrastructure loss. The President told his advisors that he hoped to avoid a direct conflict with Russia, which is a country that possesses nuclear weapons if U.S. bombs were used to support cross-border attacks.

Over the weekend, one of Biden’s closest advisors said that this directive made sense when Ukraine had the advantage of time. The situation has subsequently changed, though. Zelensky launched a public lobbying effort to force Biden to relax his restrictions on the launching of U.S. weaponry into Russia. Zelensky and Biden have had multiple arguments about their inability to provide him with long-range artillery, tanks, and, eventually, F-16s.

Zelensky spoke candidly about Biden two weeks ago in an interview with The New York Times. He revealed the information he shared to visiting American officials, including Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, the most recent high-ranking official to visit Kyiv.

On May 31, Blinken, along with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, persuaded Biden to ease the restrictions, at least in the border areas near Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. If not, they warned, Russia might start to retake significant areas of the region.

On June 3, Ukraine revealed that it had destroyed an air defense system situated on Russian territory using weaponry provided by Western countries. It did not, however, identify the weapon or provide any further details. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, then threatened to take action that would have “fatal consequences” in the event that weapons supplied by the West attacked Russia.

According to Biden’s advisors, the President had not altered his stance but had instead made an exception to his rule that he would not exacerbate the problem. But as Blinken hinted at the end of May, this might not be the final instance. He declared that the American plan to neutralize Russia would be modified to consider developments on the front lines.

Over the course of the weekend, Zelensky made the case that Biden should lift all limitations on the deployment of U.S. weaponry in order to allow him to launch them inside Russia’s borders and all the way into its territory. The U.S. refuted this.

According to National Security Council spokesman John F. Kirby, the U.S.’s stance on “long-range operations within Russia” has not changed.

Secretly, Biden’s advisers recognize that the U.S. and Ukrainian priorities are not the same. Right now, there is nothing to lose for Ukraine if the war with Russia gets more intense.

The White House is clearly concerned, though, that President Vladimir Putin might use tactical nuclear weapons to send a message to the world that if Ukraine keeps dropping bombs and missiles of American origin on Russian soil, he won’t think twice about using the strongest weapons available.

Zelensky, however, believes that the nuclear worries are overblown.

Biden took a much more public step to extend a hand to Netanyahu, with whom his relationship had nearly turned toxic, the day after he authorized limited strikes on Russian territory. In a statement, Biden publicly stated that he agreed with Israel’s plan to put an end to the hostilities in Gaza and ensure the release of the hostages. He declared,  “It’s time to end this war and start the next day.”

To put it plainly, the U.S. President went against his better judgment when he revealed the details of an Israeli strategy. It is forbidden for diplomats to speak on behalf of other countries. That was, nonetheless, the main goal in this particular case. Biden’s speech came after months of frustration over Netanyahu’s refusal to heed American demands for more humanitarian aid, a plan to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians from Rafah prior to the start of military operations, and an end to the use of ton-weight bombs that kill or injure civilians.

As a result, Biden remained steadfast in his pursuit of a three-phase peace plan that might take years to implement and was committed to persuading Netanyahu of his accountability.

The proposal had been approved by the military cabinet but not by the tiny right-wing parties that sustain Netanyahu and are vital to his precarious coalition government. It seems that those opposed to the agreement had not even seen the proposal to Hamas. Not only did Netanyahu not deny signing the plan, but he also did not acknowledge it.

Biden and his advisors thought a temporary ceasefire and prisoner swap were just a few days away six weeks ago. That instant arrived and vanished. At present, the human tragedy is layered with the political realities of the war. Biden is aware that his campaign speeches and the Democratic convention could potentially be marked by protesters from his party’s progressive wing, who maintain that the U.S. should have ceased the supply of all offensive weapons to Israel as civilian casualties increased.

But Biden, who has stood behind Israel for the past fifty years, knows he cannot come out as threatening or abandoning the current government.

As a result, the two leaders highlighted their strategic differences in public pronouncements. This is not the kind of subdued diplomacy that Biden is known for. But as a result of their mutual mistrust, the U.S. and Israel have arrived at this conclusion: they make public declarations meant to trap one another.


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