When it comes to helping Ukraine, “the might and commitment of the US are indispensable”, says Max Hastings in Bloomberg. The trouble is that plenty of Americans are already losing interest. They think their country is staking too much in Europe when China is the more dangerous adversary. And after two decades of US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, sceptics don’t want to see Washington commit to another “messy struggle in a faraway country that costs blood and treasure” for little glory.
But a US retreat would leave Ukraine dependent on European military, political and economic support – and that’s a “grim prospect”. America currently supplies Kyiv with more than 80% of its aid, and however much Europe adopts a “facade of continental unity” against Vladimir Putin, there is “no sense of real steel” behind the rhetoric. Brexit “significantly emboldened the Kremlin” by highlighting European division; Angela Merkel spent years foolishly embracing Putin as a partner and energy supplier; and France appears “extraordinarily unwilling” to break decisively with Moscow. The truth is that most of Europe is “embarrassingly desperate” for a settlement that will defuse an energy crisis before winter. That simply won’t work for Ukrainians. We must show the American people that their support for Ukraine is “properly valued and respected” by Europeans. “Without them, our predicament would be dire indeed.”