‘Borrowing From China To Fund Ukraine’ – US’ Plans To Support Kiev With Over $40B Military Aid Faces Domestic Criticism

Former US President Donald Trump slammed the Biden administration for providing over $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine amid Russia’s military operation and urged Europe to do more to deal with its regional concerns.

“Why are we giving more than $40 Billion to Ukraine while Europe, by comparison, is giving very little, and they are greatly more impacted by a Russian invasion, obviously, than the US,” Trump said in a statement on Thursday.

Trump said he was able to get European countries to pay their fair share to NATO and the Biden administration should do the same.

Trump added that China and others are “smiling all the way to the bank” with respect to the billions of dollars the United States is sending to Ukraine since February.

The United States will have authorized roughly $60 billion in total for Ukraine in recent years if the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill passes the Senate next week.

Earlier, Press Secretary Jen Psaki had stated that the White House encourages all US senators to immediately pass the $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine and believes it already contains sufficient oversight measures to prevent any misuse of the funds.

Joe Biden-Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky with his US counterpart Joe Biden. (file photo/Wikimedia Commons)

“Well, I would say that we agree oversight is critical, that’s why the package already includes millions of dollars to support additional oversight measures, including additional funding for existing inspectors general, and we encourage all senators to promptly pass the bill as it stands,” Psaki said during a press briefing. “We feel what’s in there is sufficient.”

US Senator Rand Paul earlier in the day delayed a Senate attempt to fast track the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill, citing concerns over government spending, debt and inflation. Paul had demanded an amendment to the legislation that would provide for further federal oversight of the money and weapons being sent to Ukraine.

The United States will have authorized roughly $60 billion in total for Ukraine in recent years if the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill passes the Senate next week.

Senator Paul had also stated that only the top five countries in the world spend more than $60 billion on military expenditures and the figure almost equals that spent by Russia.

The United States will have to borrow the money from China in order to give it to Ukraine, the Republican senator added.

File Image: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping

The $60 billion total is more than that spent on cancer research or collected in gas taxes and exceeds the budgets of the Department of Homeland Security and Energy Department, Paul said.

Boosting ASEAN

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden announced a range of initiatives worth $150 million to deepen relations between Washington and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during a summit in the US capital, with a large portion dedicated to maritime security and law enforcement in the Indo-Pacific, the White House said in a fact sheet.

Biden is hosting his counterparts from the ASEAN countries this week for a special summit. The leaders are expected to discuss the security concerns and economic opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region, including other urgent matters related to Myanmar and Ukraine.

“Today, the United States and ASEAN will inaugurate a new era of partnership, guided by the complementary objectives of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. In that spirit, President Biden is announcing over $150 million in initiatives that will deepen US-ASEAN relations, strengthen ASEAN centrality, and expand our common capacity to achieve our shared objectives,” the White House said on Thursday.

About 40% of the investment will go to security cooperation, supporting ASEAN partners conduct law enforcement activities in the Indo-Pacific, and to boost their capacity in the region, the White House said.

“The United States is committed to supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific’s Maritime Pillar,” the release said. “Today we are announcing $60 million in new regional maritime initiatives, most of which will be led by the US Coast Guard (USCG).”

The US Department of State, the US Department of Labor, and the US Coast Guard will also launch new efforts to help ASEAN countries counter illegal and unregulated fishing in the Indo-Pacific, and to prevent forced labor in the fishing industry, the release said.

In addition, the United States will expand US Coast Guard training to ASEAN partners’ law enforcement agencies, which will include enhancing their readiness, institutional development, sustainment of equipment, and workforce professionalization, the release said.

Moreover, the US Coast Guard will deploy a cutter to Southeast Asia and Oceania to participate in security operations and to conduct training.

The United States is also going to invest $40 million to mobilize $2 billion of blended financing for clean energy infrastructure in Southeast Asia through the Smart Power Program. The investment aims at decarbonization and strengthening of the region’s power system as well as the deployment of clean energy technologies, according to the release.

China-missile boat
File Image: PLA Navy’s fast attack missile boats during an exercise in the East China Sea on February 22, 2022.

One of the initiatives is the launching of a US-ASEAN Climate Solutions Hub to provide technical assistance to ASEAN member-states in order to accelerate low-emission development and resilience strategies, the release said.

The list of joint initiatives also includes space cooperation, reduction of methane emissions, the US-ASEAN transportation dialogue partnership, and investment in climate-smart infrastructure, the release said.

The ASEAN member states include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The White House said it did not invite the Myanmar junta and the outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte decided to skip the summit.