As 2023 draws to a close, U.S. aid allocations for Ukraine will run out. The budget office of the White House sent a letter to Congress on December 12 to warn sternly, bluntly saying that the United States has no money and is running out of time, pointing out that 4% of the military aid allocation has been exhausted, and the United States' current arms delivery to Ukraine has been restricted, and if Congress does not approve the appropriation, the chances of victory for the Russian army will increase.

Biden has already put forward a request for $600 billion in aid to Ukraine nearly two months ago, which is also tied to projects to aid Israel, Taiwan and strengthen immigration controls at the U.S.-Mexico border, totaling $1 billion. But the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has avoided additional funding for Ukraine in both temporary appropriations bills.

In order to lobby the U.S. Congress in person, Zelensky originally held a closed-door video conference with senators on December 12 under the arrangement of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. And Schumer also tried to push for the passage of the above-mentioned $5 billion appropriations bill in the Senate, which is more pro-Ukraine, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has always supported Ukraine in the past and even supported Biden's bundle bill, has now returned to the Republican team, demanding that the aid to Ukraine be tied to the restoration of the Trump-era border immigration policy.

These conditions are certainly unacceptable to the Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to push for the passage of the aid bill in the more pro-Ukraine Senate. (Reuters)

Mike Johnson, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, who has voted against aid to Ukraine many times in the past, also stated that the aid funds should be tied to the border immigration policy, and asked the White House to submit specific information on the specific use of aid funds.

Seeing that the Republicans have a resolute stance against aid to Ukraine, Zelensky himself was not bored and canceled the closed-door video conference with the US senators at the last minute.

Many analysts believe that the Republican Party's opposition to aid to Ukraine is mainly due to the Trump-style "America First" "isolationism", advocating that the United States should no longer meddle in overseas affairs and put the immediate interests of the American people first. It is widely expected that if Trump does return to the White House in 2025, his first step will be to abandon Ukraine and leave Europe to fend for itself.

Strangely, however, the Republicans are unanimous in their support of aid to Israel.

At the beginning of the October 10 Hamas attacks, Trump criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "ill-prepared" and Allah Lebanon as "very smart," which immediately drew fierce criticism from Republican presidential primaries, including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

In the early days of the October 10 Hamas attacks, Trump criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for being "ill-prepared" and Lebanese Allah for being "very smart." (Reuters)

Now, seeing that the Democratic Party is divided over different positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump's rhetoric has returned to the main line of the Republican Party, which uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to attack the Democrats' incompetence.

Various polls also show that Republican voters support Israel significantly more than Democrats. In an NPR poll last month, for example, 79 percent of Republicans were more sympathetic to Israelis than Palestinians, compared with 45 percent of Democrats. This gap is the opposite when it comes to aid to Ukraine.

Some commentators who analyze the Republican Party's sentiment from the perspective of American isolationism have also begun to ridicule the Republican political tendencies that have been Trumpized at the moment with terms such as "half-tone" arcism.

Why are "America First" Republicans willing to support Israel but not Ukraine?

The reasons for this are different from each other. Some say it was the influence of evangelical Christians who believed that Palestine was the promised land given to the Israelites in the Bible. Some say that this is racial or religious discrimination, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gives the impression of a confrontation between whites and people of color, a confrontation between the free world and Islam, and a Russian-Ukrainian war where whites fight whites. Some argue that this is due to the fact that the mainstream of the Israeli political right is in a natural ideological fit with the American right. Some see this as a sign of the importance that the US right attaches to Israel as a solid Middle East ally, compared to Ukraine, which is only a buffer zone between Russia and Europe.

During Trump's tenure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a good relationship with Trump, even naming a Jewish settlement after him at one point. (Reuters)

There is some truth to these claims, such as Trump's own repeated references to the influence of evangelical Christian voters. For example, when he moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to disputed Jerusalem during his tenure, he publicly stated that he was doing so for the sake of "evangelicals"; In his recent speech, for example, he declared that he could not imagine that "anyone who loves Israel — and to be honest, evangelicals really love Israel — would vote for the Democrats."

However, judging from the 2024 election strategy, the Republican Party strongly supports Israel but opposes the political line of aiding Ukraine, and there is a more cynical interpretation: the political effect they want to achieve is to turn Ukraine into Biden's second Afghanistan on the one hand, and on the other hand, rely on the long-blooded Gaza conflict to split the Democratic Party, so that Biden will lose the support of the Democratic Party left and Muslim voters.

Without the military assistance of the United States, as soon as the spring of the coming year arrives, under the background that Europe is objectively unable to replace the United States, the Ukrainian army may be difficult to resist Russia's large-scale offensive, and finally whether it is a crushing defeat on the battlefield or forced to return to the negotiating table under an absolute disadvantage, this will constitute a major setback for Biden's European policy, and the 24-hour news channels and social media in the United States will be filled with images of Ukraine's defeat and peace.

On November 11, Biden encountered a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Massachusetts. (Reuters)

Let's not forget that the intersection of Biden's declining approval ratings and continued slump occurred in August 2021 when the Taliban stormed Kabul and foreigners and Afghans gathered at the airport to flee in panic.

The bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains in the headlines of international news as a constant reminder of how Biden's insensitivity to the Palestinians is to the left-wing Democratic Party and to Muslim voters, who traditionally lean to support the Democrats. While these voters are unlikely to vote for Trump or the Republicans, as long as they don't come out to vote, Trump and the Republicans will have a better margin over Biden and the Democrats against the backdrop of the two-party "zero-sum game" in the United States and the tens of thousands of votes in swing states.

Of course, no Republicans will declare this kind of interpretation of the Republican Party, but the logic in it cannot but be said to be a very shrewd election calculation.

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