So, after weeks and months of delay and dismay because of the infighting and paralysis in the US Congress at a critical geopolitical juncture, the House of Representatives has finally approved crucial bills ensuring the continuation of strong support for the US’s close friends and allies: Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The Senate is expected to endorse them on Tuesday.

We can afford ourselves a huge sigh of relief but have to face up to the fact that damage has been done and things are unlikely to be as they were before.

The battle to ensure the longer-term support of the US and its international leadership role in defense of democratic values is by no means over. The deep splits in US society, rise of isolationism, and undermining of democratic values by Donald Trump’s followers will not disappear in the foreseeable future.

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We await to see if former US President Donald Trump will be convicted as a felon in US courts and lose his chance to run again for the presidency. And will more of his political allies find him too toxic and abandon him. Or whether he will survive and emerge even angrier and meaner from the barrage of litigation he is currently exposed to and by November reassert himself as a strong challenger for the US presidency. 

If he does emerge stronger and eventually win, what will this mean not only for the US, but also for its allies and friends, and for beleaguered Ukraine in particular.

Blinken to Announce Moldova 'Support' as Meets President Sandu
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Blinken to Announce Moldova 'Support' as Meets President Sandu

The trip coincides with Moscow's recent battlefield victories in Ukraine and its troop presence in Moldova's Transnistria region,prompting calls to allow Kyiv to strike Russian soil with Western arms.

Mike Johnson was forced to yield because he realized that the ground beneath him was rapidly shifting.

Of course, the overwhelming support in the House of Representatives last Saturday to pass the bills related to continuing support for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan was a major blow to Trump and his supporters in the diehard Republican MAGA wing. And naturally it raises hopes that their ability to control, or rather, sabotage matters has been decisively reduced.

Even obtuse House Speaker Mike Johnson, who until the very end, had blocked the passage of the bill to provide Ukraine with aid it so desperately needs, was forced to yield. This was not, as he and others would have us believe, because of briefings he had received from the CIA about the implications of further inaction or any of his supposed religious motivations, but rather because he realized that the ground beneath him was rapidly shifting.

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Trump is facing uncertain outcomes in the courts on charges related to deception and corruption, in effect – behavior unworthy of a would-be US president. At home and abroad, the criticism of Johnson’s stubborn allegiance to the iconoclastic former president had mounted to such a degree that he probably realized his own future now hung in the balance and that it was better to opt for the safer bet and go with the changed prevailing mood in Congress.

But Johnson’s sincerity is questionable. Watching the proceedings in the House last Saturday, it was evident that he preferred to keep a low profile rather than steer matters. His only appearance, a brief one, during the consideration of the bill on supporting Ukraine, was to tell Representatives confidently waving blue and yellow Ukrainian colors that they were out of line and had to stop.

Where does this leave us? The long delay in passing the bill securing the US’s support for Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s own prevarication in clarifying what his administration’s ultimate goal is in supporting Ukraine – defeating Russia or merely some form of damage containment – has generated questions and much concern in Europe and elsewhere about where the US is currently at, and the extent that it can be relied on in the future. Not only as ally, but as the traditional guarantor of Europe security and democracy.

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Fortunately, there is a positive side to this uncertainty in that it has concentrated the minds of Washington’s European and Asian allies and, in effect, galvanized them. Look at the responses in Brussels, London, Berlin and Paris and other capitals in both Western and Central Europe.

The realization that unity and action are needed to confront the clear and present danger posed by Putin’s rapacious and despotic Russia, backed by Iran, North Korea and China has reached a level unimaginable only a few years ago. Just recall how when the likes of Angela Merkel, François Hollande and the early Emmanuel Macron held sway in Europe and, encouraged by the passivity of President Barak Obama and Trump’s ingratiation of himself with the Kremlin despot, preferred to appease Moscow. 

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Central and Eastern European nations, who were prepared to call things by their name and had rallied to Ukraine’s support, were seen as a nuisance or embarrassment. (Remember Nord Stream 2?) But fortunately, the post-Brexit UK led the way in offering leadership to those prepared stand up against Russia.

Then Russia’s barbaric attempted blitzkrieg against Ukraine in early 2022 that has turned into a full-scale genocidal war now lasting 789 days was the gamechanger that brought many, but by no means all, to their senses. 

To win wars determination is needed, not only the means. Ukraine is fighting for its very existence, but also for the future of democracy in the world, and therefore will fight to the end. It hopes that its democratic supporters and de-facto allies will continue to stand by it resolutely and provide the means it needs so as not to allow the forces of despotism and atavistic imperialism to triumph.

It is now for Europe and its democratic partners to convince the US and one another that they must move together collectively in a new synergy corresponding to the needs of today’s dangerous times. The situation poses very serious challenges but also opens new opportunities for enhanced cooperation and building a more secure future.

So, as the saying goes, the struggle continues. This applies not only in the horrendous war that Russia is waging against Ukraine and, implicitly, the entire democratic world, but also in the struggle for the minds and hearts of those in the US and Europe, where forthcoming democratic elections on various levels will affect the way we are able to continue – to move forward or retreat.

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