President Biden’s attempts to wield influence in Israel and Ukraine, despite being a significant arms and intelligence supplier, face unforeseen challenges.
These challenges have become defining moments in his presidency, as he grapples with the complexities of these international crises.
Biden’s Diplomatic Push in Israel
In Israel, after four weeks of conflict and retaliation in Israel and Gaza, President Biden has sought to leverage the $3.8 billion a year in American security assistance as a means of influencing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tactics.
The administration has been advocating for humanitarian pauses in the bombing of Gaza to mitigate civilian casualties. However, these efforts have not swayed Netanyahu, who remains committed to what he has termed mighty vengeance for recent attacks, even if it results in significant collateral damage in Gaza.
In Ukraine, the situation is no less complex. The senior military commander of Ukraine, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, recently acknowledged a stalemate in the conflict, a term that American officials had been cautious about using for over a year. This assessment suggests that both Ukraine and Russia are entrenched, and unable to make substantial advancements on the battlefield.
Consequences of General Zaluzhny’s Candid Assessment
While the Biden administration recognizes the challenges, they fear that General Zaluzhny’s candid assessment could impact efforts to secure aggressive funding for Ukraine’s war. It may also embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin to dig in, hoping for a shift in U.S. leadership that could lead to a reduction in American support.
Despite the substantial role the United States plays as Israel’s key ally and Ukraine’s hope for independence, President Biden’s influence over the strategies employed by these nations in their respective conflicts has proven more limited than initially anticipated.
Both Israel and Ukraine view these as their own battles, with profound stakes in the outcomes. As Representative Seth Moulton, a former Marine who served in Iraq, aptly noted, “There is a long history of US presidents realizing they don’t have as much leverage over Israel as they thought,” and the same holds true for Ukraine.
As these conflicts persist, President Biden’s legacy is intrinsically tied to the actions of these nations and the ultimate resolution of these wars.
The challenges he faces underscore the intricate dynamics of international relations and the complexities of diplomacy in regions where the U.S. has vested interests.