I really am going to hate writing this section—because it’s more hopeful than I would like to be by nature. What I am going to say in it comes from a number of sources in the US who have decent connections either in the House or in the Republican Party. I can’t say who are what they are, and I can’t know for sure what they are telling me is right (except to say that they have often been right in the past). So, take what I am telling you with a big grain of salt—but at least the news is better now than earlier.

It seems the odds of a floor vote in the House of Representatives on aid for Ukraine have risen significantly over the last week. Indeed, a number of people are saying that the vote could happen this week (or early the week after). There are still some real unknowns (will the vote be on the Senate bill, or a House bill that makes aid come in the form of loans?) but it seems that there might actually be a vote.


There are a few reasons for the increased chance of a vote. First, once again the only way the House can function, as the FISA surveillance bill shows, is with large numbers of members of both parties acting together. In this case, it was withe 126 Republicans and 147 Democrats. Speaker Johnson knows that no Republican-only bill can ever pass the House.

Also, the political calculus is turning in favor of helping Ukraine in its hour of great need. The picture of the present, which sees the US cutting off aid to Ukraine while the Russians pummel Ukrainian infrastructure—is actually not good, even for many Republicans.

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In addition to state treason, he was also charged with inciting a person to engage in terrorism and attempted participation in a terrorist organization.

The arguments that they are being Putin’s lackeys is one the Republicans are worried about. And they are suffering in a few other areas politically—such as on abortion rights. It was a really bad week for the Republicans politically on abortion (see the Arizona Supreme Court Ruling). With their narrative suffering, they seem to be loosening up on Ukraine.


Also, the need to unblock aid for Israel, which is a major priority for parts of the Republican Party, seems to be leading to an acceptance of a vote on aid which takes in Ukraine as well. The Senate has combined aid for both in one bill, and as such the best way to get aid for Israel might also be to approve aid for Ukraine.

Finally, Trump seems to understand that the political mood music won’t be helped by Ukraine being publicly martyred. However, in Trump’s case, the key thing seems to be to make him believe he is in charge of things.

Thus, during Johnson’s visit to Mar a Lago last week, Trump made the public statement that he could consider loans for Ukraine. From Republican sources who know, this really is a good sign. Trump doesn’t want aid for Ukraine, but if it can be made to look like he is the one in charge, he might not publicly oppose it.

This, however, also reveals a problem. If Ukraine aid is to be classified as a loan, then that will require changes to the Senate Bill—and a return vote in the Senate. That is not an impossible hurdle, but it will require more work. The good news is that the loan requirement is basically a fig leaf. The loans can be forgiven later, or even paid with the interest from seized Russian assets.


So, the mood music has changed. Crucially, it looks like for political reasons, Trump might not stop the aid anymore (he has been the real problem for now).

All I can say is I really hope these people are right. Ukraine has been made to suffer not only because it is not a nuclear power, but because Trump has been actively sabotaging aid to it. This has allowed Russia months to attack a decreasing Ukrainian defense—with some pretty disastrous results for Ukraine. It needs to end now.

Reprinted from the author’s blog Phillips’s Newsletter.  See the original here.

Phillips P. Obrien is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrew, Scotland.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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