Zelensky's US Visit a 'Dog & Pony Show' to Plug Cracks in Ukraine Support
14:33 GMT 19.09.2023 (Updated: 15:22 GMT 19.09.2023)
When President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the US last year, Joe Biden promised America would stay "with Ukraine as long as there is a Ukraine." Months later, for all the military aid sent to fund NATO’s proxy war, Kiev has paid a huge price in lives and equipment for small gains, while “war fatigue” is inexorably taking hold of public attitudes.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is foraying to the United States
for the second time since Russia's special operation began, having last been there in December 2022. Zelensky was offered a hero’s welcome at the time, as he addressed Congress touting Kiev’s battlefield “successes” while angling for continued Western aid.
But roll the clock forward, and "take two" of the Zelensky “show” now comes against a much-changed backdrop: the overly heralded Ukraine counteroffensive “debacle,”
huge losses in manpower and destroyed NATO-gifted weaponry, and an ever-stronger chorus of voices among Republican lawmakers against sending more money
down the Ukraine sinkhole.
What kind of change in tone and rhetoric can we expect from the leader of the Kiev regime as he attends the UN General Assembly in New York, and meets with congressional leaders and President Joe Biden in Washington?
'Dog & Pony Show'
"It's going to be an extremely difficult visit for Zelensky,” Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, told Sputnik.
“He [Zelensky] was hailed as the conquering hero... He was lionized in Congress... He gave a speech... He handed a flag to the vice president and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi," recalled Daniel McAdams, adding that the Ukrainian president had vowed “Bakhmut [Artemovsk] would be a turning point in the war.”
“He was right about that, but not in the way he expected. No, it's a very, very different world now,” said the pundit.
“Antony Blinken was just out there [and] he gave him a heads up as to what to expect. And I think you can tell by his [Ukrainian president’s] subsequent interview in The Economist, where Zelensky was very glum and very dark, and he said something like, ‘Well, all of these leaders say that they support us, but when I look in their eyes, I can tell they're not telling the truth...' So it's going to be an extremely difficult visit from Zelensky to New York in Washington,” Daniel McAdams said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a two-day surprise visit to Ukraine in early September, to announce
more than $1 billion in aid for Kiev. However, the visit came as the third month of Ukraine's botched counteroffensive
ended with the Kiev regime unable to boast of any military gains.
“Well, I think this dog and pony show is going to air. So, you know, you have this guy Zelensky, who's billed as Mother Theresa… or reincarnation of Winston Churchill…And we're learning more and more that this guy is a corrupt autocrat... He basically brought his own country to ruin, and he's continuously begging for more and more weapons. You know, our societies are fraying, state legislatures are constantly saying they have no money for social programs, and yet they pull billions of dollars out of the hat for Ukraine," Jeremy Kuzmarov, managing editor of the Covert Action magazine and the author of several books on US foreign policy, told Sputnik.
'Plugging Cracks in Support'
Despite the failed Ukrainian offensive, the Biden administration is now also seeking to push a $24 billion Kiev aid package through Congress. However, this comes at a time when the US government’s September 30 funding deadline
is nearing, and there is the threat of a government shutdown. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has repeatedly indicated how averse he is to throwing more US taxpayer dollars into the black hole of the Ukraine conflict. Kiev’s botched counteroffensive has added to doubts that have been fueled by soaring prices and borrowing costs, economic slowdown, and inflation in the West. Furthermore, there has been a rise in antiwar rhetoric
and opposition to sending more money to Kiev from Republican frontrunner ex-President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as well as GOP 2024 nomination hopefuls like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy. Last month, polling revealed
that a slim majority of Americans are now against sending more aid to Kiev.
Volodymyr Zelensky would be right to be worried about emerging cracks in support for Ukraine, said Richard Becker, author of the book Palestine, Israel and the US Empire.
“The support for Ukraine in this conflict has been really relentlessly whipped up in the mainstream media in the US. I think the average person, if you go and talk to them, would say 'Yeah, well, Ukraine, we're for Ukraine, I guess.' But I think it's more like they don't really understand what people are thinking about on a day-to-day basis,” Becker, also the West Coast coordinator for the Answer Coalition, told Sputnik.
More and more people in the US are arguing the case for funding social programs inside the country, where the level of poverty in general has vastly increased, rather than sending billions and billions of dollars in aid to fund Ukraine, Richard Becker underscored. Zelensky coming to “thank” the American people for billions' worth of aid to Ukraine might be seen as an attempt to "plug the hole in the dike" that could “grow very big, very quickly,” he added.
“This is the worst possible time for him [Zelensky] to come here. We're facing a government shutdown or facing yet another spending crisis. And he comes with his hat in hand and says, I need some more dough. I just think it's the absolute worst time for him to come in this,” Daniel McAdams underscored.
"As to support for Ukraine, I think we're starting to get to a tipping point," agreed Jeremy Kuzmarov.
“Even though the media has been very biased in its coverage of this conflict, things are starting to trickle out in the media. The leaked documents about the corruption, about… weapons not getting to the front lines, and slowly and Americans are waking up, people are questioning use of taxpayer dollars when they see the counteroffensive going nowhere,” the pundit asserted.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been “treated like a demigod every time he comes in,” has "sold his country out of foreign interests,” he added, saying:
“I think more and more people are waking up. I mean, they billed the counteroffensive... You know, the media kept spotlighting generals and other politicians, who said, ‘Oh, yeah, this is going to be successful and we're winning…' I mean, this is an unwinnable war, because Americans do not understand the political dynamics… that there was the illegal coup in 2014... that this illegal government passed draconian language laws, was trying to eviscerate their culture, and trying to transform Ukraine into, basically, a proxy of the Western countries and sell off its economy to foreign interests.”
Weighing in on the possible outcome of Volodymyr Zelensky's trip to the US to drum up more aid, Daniel McAdams offered his vision of how things might play out, saying:
“Well, what I think and what a lot of others think is going to happen is that he [Zelensky] is going to be told it's time for negotiations. This is not going well. You know, there is the estimate that they [Ukraine’s Armed Forces] have lost some 71,000, I think, dead and wounded in the course of this counteroffensive… They're running out of people. They're running out of weapons. They've lost two British tanks... Zelensky is coming in to Washington with literally nothing… He is going to the UN General Assembly to try to get the Global South on his side, and he brings absolutely nothing... So it's an impossible task… I think what is going to be told when he meets with whoever is running Biden is, ‘look, it's time to talk. This is over.'"
Pondering on whether there is an exit strategy for the Biden administration to “save face,” Daniel McAdams said:
“Well, I think they still believe their own rhetoric in Washington, DC, I think in their mind, they can somehow get this conflict to freeze and just kind of put it on hold throughout the election cycle. Well, the Russians aren't going to play that game.”
Referencing how the Minsk Accords negotiated by Russia, France, Germany, and Ukraine in 2014-2015 were used as a ploy
to buy time to arm and train the Ukrainian military, the pundit added:
“Russia's clearly winning… why would you pause? So it's yet another fantasy that they have.”
As for attempts to “woo” the Global South countries
that are refusing to wade into the Ukraine conflagration, “these are the same countries that have been sanctioned and bullied and battered by the US,” Daniel McAdams
“You know, they're finally getting their chance to get back at US foreign policy, which has always been a disaster. 'Do what we say or we'll sanction you. If you if you don't respond to that, then we'll bomb you.' And the Global South is sick of it. It's tired of it. That's why you're seeing so many changes in Latin America. In Africa, they are sick of… this imperialist mentality. They're looking to China and Russia as partners rather than overlords. And, you know, the world has changed, but Washington doesn't see it whatsoever,” Daniel McAdams emphasized.
"More countries… do not want their money invested in the corruption in Ukraine… they may be aligned more with Russia or China. Many countries in the Global South lean more and more with China, Russia…the world landscape is shifting,” Jeremy Kuzmarov agreed.