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During a primetime speech from the Oval Office last week, President Biden discussed the urgency that America stand with Israel after the barbarous Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7. But he also attempted to conflate the war in Ukraine with the Hamas attack, arguing that victory by Israel over Hamas and victory by Ukraine over Russia is “vital for American security.”
This is how Biden tried to justify his new $106 billion emergency funding package which allocates $61.4 billion for Ukraine (an increase of $36 billion from his August request), $14.3 billion for Israel, $9 billion for unspecified humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza, $13.6 billion to defend the U.S southern border, and $7 billion in security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region.
Biden is attempting to use the Hamas attack on Israel to salvage his Ukraine policy, which was on the verge of being defunded by Congress.
The president argued there is little difference between the Hamas attack and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because both events have included the murder and rape of women, the killing of children and the elderly, various forms of torture, rape, and children being forcibly taken from their parents.
Biden also asserted that Hamas and Putin are the same because they want to annihilate a neighboring democracy.
There’s no question that the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine were evil and killed innocent civilians. But these conflicts are also very different and require different U.S. responses.
Hamas wants to kill Jews and conquer Israel. Putin wants to conquer Ukraine. But as brutal and vicious as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been, it does not amount to a campaign to exterminate an ethnic group.
Although Putin claims Ukrainian statehood and the idea of a Ukrainian people is a fiction, he also believes Russians and Ukrainians are the same people. As a result, although Putin has shown no hesitation in ordering attacks that killed large numbers of Ukrainian civilians, he would prefer to rule the Ukrainians as Russians, not kill them.
Biden also claimed that Hamas and Putin are enemies that must be destroyed and not negotiated with.
The president said America must provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel because when terrorists and dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, “they keep going and the threats to America and to the world keep rising.”
He added that Russia may invade NATO members if it conquers Ukraine, starting with Poland and the Baltic states.
After Hamas’s vicious terrorist attack on Oct. 7, there is no question that Hamas must be destroyed. It has become another ISIS and it will continue to engage in barbarism and genocide if left unchecked. Hamas can no longer be permitted to rule the Gaza Strip and use it as a terrorist base of operations.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian army occupying Ukraine represent a different threat. Although justice may demand it, Biden’s declarations that Putin cannot remain in power and must be tried for war crimes are unrealistic and counterproductive.
Moreover, not only has Putin shown no interest in risking a nuclear war by invading NATO states, his army has also been devastated and is incapable of such attacks for the foreseeable future.
The reality is that Putin probably will remain in power and the United States will need to deal with him. Russia has the world’s largest number of nuclear warheads as well as a huge, advanced missile arsenal, including hypersonic missiles that the U.S. does not have the ability to intercept.
To limit the growth in Russia’s missile and nuclear arsenals and its growing military collaboration with Iran, China and North Korea, the United States will need to hold negotiations with Putin and his government.
In addition, I believe it is inevitable that Putin will eventually be pressured by the United States and its allies to join negotiations for a peace agreement or cease-fire in the Ukraine war. Biden must recognize that every time he demonizes Putin as a killer and a war criminal, he makes it harder to negotiate with Putin and is extending this war.
It therefore is reckless and irresponsible for Biden to exploit the existential crisis facing Israel to win increased U.S. military aid for Ukraine. Israel needs strong and immediate support from the United States that should not be distracted by other conflicts.
There must be a clean bill in Congress on support for Israel that allows lawmakers to demonstrate to the world their strong bipartisan support for the Israeli people at this critical moment.
The Biden administration should submit another supplemental bill on Ukraine and other spending requests. There will be a tense debate in the House over such a bill because of growing bipartisan concern that Biden has not provided a U.S. strategy for the Ukraine War and how to end it. Although this is a much-needed debate, it cannot block immediate approval of an emergency supplemental bill for Israel.