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America is still our “sword and shield”

Biden: an “exemplary mingling of resolution and restraint”. Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty

Everyone who knows anything about the Ukraine war “recognises a harsh truth”, says Max Hastings in Bloomberg: if not for America, Volodymyr Zelensky’s nation “would be toast”. The Biden administration’s intervention has been an “exemplary mingling of resolution and restraint”. Despite having a GDP only 25% larger than that of the EU, the US has provided more than twice as much aid – some $45bn in total. At the same time, Biden has ignored “bellicose voices” seeking to impose aggressive measures like a no-fly zone, recognising the “menace of escalation”. The crisis has “emphasised the largest fact in geopolitics”: that Western security is “entirely dependent upon US leadership”.

America’s allies “take this sword and shield for granted”. Europe refuses to shoulder its “fair share” of the defence burden: the UK has ditched plans to bump military spending up to 3%; Germany’s $100bn rearmament programme has “stalled”. This dependence on the US is risky. The spirit of Donald Trump’s “America First isolationism” still suffuses the Republican Party – its leaders have begun criticising the “blank cheque” to Ukraine. And with “absolute military victory” out of reach for both Putin and Zelensky, Europe is entirely reliant on America – the only nation “backed by the power to enforce security guarantees for Ukraine” – to negotiate with Moscow and reinstate peace. If we want to prevent Republicans “turning their backs” on Europe, we should “give thanks to the US far more often and publicly than we do”.