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The United States and the principle of Spider-Man

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite Associated Press Activists supporting Ukraine demonstrated outside the Capitol in Washington on Saturday as the House of Representatives voted to approve $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and other allies.

Stéphane Baillargeon

Published yesterday at 12:00 a.m. Updated at 6:41 p.m.

  • United States

The political wind turns and dissipates the fog of war.

The American plan to militarily support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, voted on by the Republican-majority House of Representatives this weekend, should be adopted in the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday. President Biden, a defender of massive military aid, could enact the new law that same evening. The Pentagon promises to deliver aid quickly, especially to Ukraine, if Congress approves it promptly.

This outcome marks a major turning point in a clash between American elected officials which lasted for months on Capitol Hill. The three packages combined total about $95 billion U.S., or more than $130 billion Canadian. This is the equivalent of five times the annual budget of the Canadian Department of Defense.

“The United States is the military superpower in the world. So, the Spider-Man principle applies: great power implies great responsibilities,” sums up Charles-Philippe David, founder of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, attached to UQAM.

The United States specialist underlines the importance of this consensual step, while the superpower finds itself divided, fractured, on so many national and international issues, from abortion to the climate crisis or immigration.< /p>

“The voted aid helps to alleviate the internal bleeding a little,” adds Mr. David. Elected officials realize that they are playing with the security of the United States and the security of America’s allies. We have just seen a moment of “bipartisanship”, a brief moment perhaps, which we can appreciate because this kind of consensus has been extremely rare over the last eight years. »

The United States is the military superpower in the world. So the Spider-Man principle applies: with great power comes great responsibility.

— Charles-Philippe David

House Speaker, Republican Mike Johnson, has changed his mind after two years of opposing aid to Ukraine. “I would rather send ammunition to Ukraine than send our boys to fight,” he said in an emotional speech. In total, 112 Republican elected officials still voted against the law.

“I think Mike Johnson had a sort of revelation or enlightenment at the top of the mountain,” confides Charles-Philippe David, a specialist in United States international relations. A US intelligence briefing was said to have been a turning point. The information made him realize that the situation was very perilous for the Ukrainians. He decided to form an alliance with the Democrats, which was not the case before. This time, he agreed with Joe Biden and he was not afraid of his Trumpist minority. »

Ukraine, at war with Russia for two years, will receive two-thirds of the aid released, nearly US$61 billion in military assistance and economic aid. During the vote, parliamentarians waved Ukrainian flags in the House.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked America, saying “the Lifesaving Aid Law will prevent the war from spreading and save thousands and thousands of lives.” Moscow, on the contrary, responded that American funds would lead to the deaths of even more Ukrainians.

The attacked country is desperately short of ammunition, particularly artillery shells. Ukrainian soldiers have abandoned important positions in recent weeks, unable to respond to Russian army fire. The industrial town of Avdiivka fell in February.

61 billion This is the amount, in US dollars, that Ukraine will receive in humanitarian and economic aid. Taiwan will be entitled to 8 billion, Israel to 13 billion and the inhabitants of Gaza to 9 billion in the form of humanitarian aid.

CIA boss Bill Burns warned last Thursday that Ukraine could lose the war by the end of the year without massive additional aid. The United States provides three-quarters of the country's external military support, not counting economic and humanitarian contributions.

The rest of the military aid is provided by around thirty countries, including Canada. The observation of the superpower is also confirmed in this imbalance of international support. “If Spider-Man exists, other superheroes can exist alongside it,” continues Mr. David. Europe can and will do more. Everyone has realized that, in NATO [the Western military alliance], member countries need to get much more involved. »

Iran in the crosshairs

The plan was approved Saturday in the House with the vote of Republicans in part because it is linked to aid granted to two other allies. Taiwan will be entitled to 8 billion to help it face the threat of invasion from China, which considers the island as one of its provinces. Representatives in Congress also threatened to ban TikTok in the United States if the social network does not cut its ties with its Chinese parent company.

Israel, which continues its offensive in Gaza and finds itself under threat of attacks from Iran and Lebanon, receives 13 billion US dollars. More than $9 billion in humanitarian aid released for Gaza residents and “other vulnerable populations around the world.”

“The majority of Americans are still on the side of Israel, despite the criticism of some young people,” says Mr. David. But a majority also recognizes that the situation in Gaza, the humanitarian situation, is very, very, very worrying. »

He recalls that, according to another principle of political science, international crises always favor a sort of national union and, ultimately, the President of the United States, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Tensions between Iran and Israel have led to attacks on both sides since the start of the month. An Israeli strike destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, killing several people, including two generals. Iran responded on April 13 by launching hundreds of drones and missiles against Israel, which was able to intercept almost all of them.

“Joe Biden is walking on eggshells because of Israel, but I think the Iranian crisis has made Republicans aware that this is not the time to undermine the president’s leadership,” concludes Charles-Philippe David. I don't know what's going to happen in a week, or a month. Maybe Donald Trump will make inflammatory statements and the Republicans will still do all sorts of stupid things. But let's say that this weekend, we had a moment of taking responsibility, according to the Spider-Man principle. It may be a parenthesis, but it’s a parenthesis appreciated by a lot of people…”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116