Ukraine’s fight on behalf of the Western notion of freedom and democracy is facing a gathering darkness in the United States as its fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” rages on – and, if left unchecked by Washington, could lead to an apocalypse in Eastern Europe and beyond.

As we enter the Presidential election cycle, US public support for the war in Ukraine appears to be waning. In a new CNN poll, 55 percent of Americans are opposed to new funding in support of Kyiv, 51 percent believe Washington has “done enough” and this, soberingly, is in stark contrast to the 62 percent who supported aiding Ukraine at the start of the war in February 2022.

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Even more troubling, the divide in the US is becoming partisan between Democrats who support continued funding – 62 percent, and 71 percent of Republicans who oppose it. Support is also deteriorating among independents; 56 percent now say enough is enough.

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This is just one poll. Yet, nonetheless, the downward trend for support to Ukraine is becoming evident. In mid-June, a Pew Research poll found only 47 percent of Americans supporting US aid to Kyiv.

The growing darkness is not just at the grassroots level. More and more politicians, arguably opportunistic in motivation, are exploiting the softening of US support for Ukraine.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), during an interview on Fox News with Laura Ingraham on Monday, foolishly and derisively dismissed Ukraine’s fight against Putin and likened it to “a junior high team playing a college team.”

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The 70-year-old, a key figure of the Nobel Prize-winning Memorial group, is the latest target of Kremlin repression, which has intensified since the offensive in Ukraine.

Putin, undoubtedly, welcomed Tuberville’s comments as light at the end of his very dark tunnel. Tuberville fails to understand the US is very much up against Russia’s varsity. Not just in Ukraine, but in Syria, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, the Arctic – and now, potentially Niger and other parts of the Sahel across central Africa. Tuberville, in essence, is a coach without a game plan.

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Yet, President Joe Biden and his administration bear a good deal of responsibility as well for creating this overall skepticism about Ukraine’s ability to win. Policy-wise, this is a Vietnam redux wherein there is no clear and decisive administration definition of how to win against Putin and the pathway to get there. Only reassurances that the US will stand with Ukraine and continue to provide weapons for their defense.

Absent a winning strategy that is demonstrably clear to the American people, it is not surprising that Biden’s political opponents are seizing on the notion that Ukraine cannot “win.”

This “losing” narrative has been creeping into the mainstream national discussion since Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI.) argued in March that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s fight against Putin is a “lose-lose-lose for everybody” and that “Nobody can win at this point.”

This growing domestic divide in the U.S. could not come at a worse time for Ukraine. Kyiv’s counteroffensive is facing an entrenched Russian resistance. Forward progress is slow and costly in terms of men and weaponry – and Washington knows it.

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Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL.), after visiting US bases in Europe training Ukrainians described his briefings as “sobering” and declared “This is the most difficult time of the war.”

That the outcome of the war in Ukraine is now hanging in the balance is not surprising. The Biden Administration’s slow-walking of close air support and precision deep strike capabilities necessary to enable a combined arms offensive is why the West is facing this moment in time.

Ukraine still does not have ATACMS nor F-16s. Despite administration apologists in the media – political and military analysts alike – Biden’s repeated dithering over the winter and spring months afforded Moscow the time it needed to prepare its “multilayered defensive lines in the eastern and southern parts” of Russian occupied Ukraine – including trench networks and minefields in depth. Brady Africk’s graphics depicting this build-up between September 2022 – July 2023 in The Washington Post is telling.

It is also why Ukraine’s counteroffensive is in danger of stalemating. As Ukraine probes for weaknesses in Russian defenses to break through to liberate the Donbas and Crimean Peninsula, they have yet to breach any of Russia’s primary defensive lines in the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions – nor in the Donbas despite some gains in encircling Bakhmut.

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The absence of close air support, engineering assets, and precision deep strike capability has forced Ukraine to alter their tactics away from NATO doctrine and fight with the Army they have. Ukraine has shifted towards a strategy of attrition and condition setting.

First, find and destroy Russian artillery, counter battery radars, and ammunition storage facilities. Artillery is the lynchpin to Russian doctrine; it is the number one casualty producer on the battlefield. Degrade this capability – then with dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) clear the trench lines, breach the minefields, and break through the Russian defensive lines.

Concurrently, they are interdicting Russian supply lines and isolating the Crimea Peninsula – making it untenable. Air-launched cruise missiles provided by the United Kingdom and France, along with Ukrainian-made aerial dronessurface and sub-surface naval drones have damaged the Kerch Strait Bridge, Chonhar Bridge, the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship, ammunition storage facilitiesfuel depots, and repair depots.

Once the ability to sustain and reinforce Russian ground forces in Ukraine has been defeated – rapid exploitation of Russian defensive belts can be achieved.

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F-16s could have provided close air support to expedite the breakthrough and set conditions for the next day's battle, but the Biden administration wavered on its decision to train pilots and their maintainers. U.S. Air Force officials now assess that Ukrainian fighter pilots could be trained in “four to five months.”

One can only imagine where Kyiv’s counteroffensive would be at this point if the White House had approved Zelensky’s request for F-16s in August 2022 – instead of giving into his administration’s incessant escalation fears.

Then again, one could also imagine where Kyiv’s war effort would be if the White House had approved Poland’s request in March 2022 to transfer their MiG-29s to Ukraine in exchange for F-16s.

We are dangerously entering an “Apocalypse Now” type perfect storm in the making – domestically in terms of declining support for the war and on the frontline battlefields of Ukraine. In Vietnam, the emphasis on fighting a defensive war contributed to South Vietnam losing.

Now, Biden’s straightjacketing Kyiv to, in essence, do the same is also putting Ukraine at risk of losing – as well giving Putin an ideological win against the West.

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As the war continues now into its 18th month and the US enters the Presidential election season, Americans are beginning to increasingly look inward.

The pace of the Ukrainian counteroffensive is being portrayed by some as a failure, rather than a tactic to fit the current capabilities of the Ukrainian Army.

Biden must embrace a Ukrainian victory and provide them the resources they need to win the war – then he must take that message to the American people. The second and third order effects of that outcome will likely impact the security environment in the Middle East, Africa, and the Arctic region.

Either Putin’s growing darkness in Ukraine prevails and then spreads globally – or Biden boldly sees the metaphorical light, overcomes his escalation fears and fully enables Ukraine to go for the win.

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Comments (10)

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Oslo
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Support the Ukraine to not is to invite a deeper horror we know what these assholes are capable off and it's horrific. People talk about territory but its really a out one thing People who are trapped we don't know what they have done to these people. This war is about the heart our humanity our souls never again means never again.

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Maple leaf
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All I got to say this isn't Afghanistan the Ukrainians have the will to fight and corruption is being dealt with. The European world view is shaped by the past Churchill and Stalin carved up the map of Europe leaving millions to suffer under the Sovet Union. That fear is still there ceding territory is leaving people behind under mafia occupation if that helps to make sense of the situation.

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Jim
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For anyone born yesterday. American Public had tired of the in Afganistan after 5 years & they were very tired with it after a dozens. We stayed with it anyway for 20 years. Paid through the nose in money & blood for 20 years proping up that place. Afghani's failed themselves.
Even if people in America tire of the war in Ukraine, it doesn't mean US government will stop support.
Ukraine should focus on what its doing with all that money, not focus on these phony narratives that make zero bloody sense.

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Jim
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Stop the nonsense about America playing for a draw. US is the best ally Ukraine has. Over 100 Billion in aid so far. US is flooding Ukraine with weapons & money. We choose to do this. But we don't have to do a thing. You think a "greater" Russia is an existential to US? Its no. It probably doesn't even stop halt Russia's decline.

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John Hughes
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A couple of factors left out of this incomplete analysis. Firstly, Putin's hope for a Trump victory in 2024 ignores the fact that he has been charged with 78 felonies, which includes charges that would trigger the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, banning Trump from ever serving in government again. By the end of next week the State of Georgia prosecutor in Fulton County, Ms. Fanni Willis, will charge Trump with Racketeering, Influence and Corruption (R.I.C.O.) charges along with the aforementioned Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and several other powerful Republican legislators. Putin is hoping for the resurgence of a deeply unpopular American political party that is disintegrating day after day.
As for popular opinion about the war, Americans are fickle - they will choose the side they see as winning. The Ukrainian command is confident that despite the lack of air superiority, this summer's offensive is proceeding like Kherson did last autumn. It is conceivable that Crimea will be isolated and the Kerch Bridge will be permanently disabled by the end of the year. This will fortify American support.

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Jensen
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It seems Biden admin is looking for attrition instead of counteroffensive. NATO countries are preparing for that. With the way things are going in russia, even russians predict that attrition will make them fall apart but Ukraine will stay unaffected. Liberating lands in the traditional way will not be required if ork and their heavier assets are mainly targeted. Last month, Kremlin already talked about responding to demographic crisis by bringing people from Africa. Ukraine should be contributing to that effort while saving their own.

Don’t worry about polls. They never stopped wars and assistance. Ignore the criticism from Biden’s opponents. Few years ago, they killed their own with covid.

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Oslo
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Zelensky turned out to be a lion totally underestimated. Remember they gave the Ukraine what was it 3 days and offered him a ride out. The Ukraine got rid of its nukes in exchange for security promises. They are fighting corruption. They are doing this to be part of the EU and Nato. To ignore that is down right stupid. The world owes the Ukraine all the support it needs in this fight for survival freedom and liberty. These worlds are something worth dying for judging by Ukrainian resistance against Russian tyrants who seek to destroy the them. If America is willing to watch genocide happen then theirs words about freedom and liberty are hollow and they are hypocrites. Americans wake up! You can't have it both ways saying not more than once you are the leaders of the free world and puff out your chests. Than a real bad war that is evil comes along and you dither about. Didn't Bush say your eather for us or against us? Are you for us ?

David
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@Oslo, America has always had underlying self absorbed isolationist tendencies.
The US tried to sit out both WW 1 and WW2, but eventuality the “see no evil , hear no evil” approach failed. Evil finally came to their front door (eg Pearl Harbour) and proved it was entirely ungrateful for prior US neutrality.
Some in America still believe they can ignore world events at no future cost.

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Maple leaf
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Any one who does not think the Ukraine can win is a short sighted nabob. If Americans are willing to watch a far greater apocalyptic outcome if Russia is allowed to win. Then they are cowards. By allowing the Ukraine to fight a counter offensive with no air support and then complaining its taking to long. These brave people are fighting for the lives of their family friends and country. This is not Vietnam not even close.

Maple leaf
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@Maple leaf, the Ukrainians have the will to fight the Arvn did not

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Hugh
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I agree with the Authors. Thank you for this. The crazy thing is, this dithering is hurting Biden too, and will hurt the entire Western Alliance. The UK & France are already supplying Ukraine with Storm Shadows...and Ukraine is honoring their agreement.

WTF is Biden waiting for...to lose the election & hand Russia a win in Ukraine that will destabilize all of Europe?

I sure hope he gets the message.

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Imokru2
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You fail to understand that Biden is in decline and not very bright in the first place. He is not in charge of anything, he is just an old man padding about and taking two naps a day during the day before he sleeps 12 hours. They dress him in a suit to read a speech on a teleprompter written by his unelected officials. He will sign anything put in front of him.
I doubt very much that he will be the dem candidate.

Lewis
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@Imokru2,

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