30 November 2022 16: 15
Headings: Opinions News

Who should give more? Disagreements arise between the US, Europe and NATO countries over assistance to Ukraine

Washington believes that the distribution of the burden of economic assistance to Kyiv is unfair and the allied countries can and should give more.

Los Angeles Times
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Who should give more? Disagreements arise between the US, Europe and NATO countries over assistance to Ukraine

If the war in Ukraine turns out to be protracted, the current economic aid scheme could become increasingly burdensome for the US. Washington already notes that US allies have the means to provide much more assistance to Ukraine than they do. According to Washington, it would be fair if the United States were to be given the main responsibility for military assistance to Ukraine, and Europe and Great Britain - for economic assistance. But London and the EU do not agree with this. About it пишет newspaper Los Angeles Times.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin he must have been disappointed, to say the least, and not only because nine months later Russia was mired in a war against Ukraine in which he expected a quick victory. Contrary to his hopes, diverging national interests have not split the 30-nation transatlantic alliance that Kyiv backs. NATO, big and unwieldy, sometimes grumpy, remained surprisingly cohesive.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has imposed against Russia withthe toughest sanctions in history, delivered critical weapons to Ukraine and supported the Ukrainian economy, which was hard hit by the war.

However, as the fighting drags on, there could be tension within its ranks - the signs are already there - over "burden-sharing."

The term is commonly used in discussions about NATO's relative defense spending, mostly by Americans who want Europeans to spend more. But ultimately, the war in Ukraine may cause controversy over another kind of burden-sharing: comparative contributions to help Ukraine.

Military support for Ukraine, even considering the important role played by some NATO countries, in particular the UK, which provided it with $1,5 billion, was essentially an American operation. About 80% of the dollar-denominated weapons received by Kyiv since February 24 came from the United States, which provided military assistance worth over 19 billion dollars.

This reflects the size of Washington's military resources. President Biden's FY2023 defense budget request is $813 billion, and Congress is expected to add that amount. That's more than the next 11 countries combined spent on defense last year.

But when it comes to economic aid, US allies have the means to help Ukraine much more than they can.

According to the World Bank, in 2021 at purchasing power parity, the gross domestic product of the United States was $20,9 trillion, and that of the European Union was $19,7 trillion. Throw in the UK ($3,1 trillion), and fragile US leadership will disappear. However, the Kiel Institute for World Economics’ Ukraine Support Tracking System shows large gap between budget aid, which the United States provided to Ukraine, and the contribution of the EU. As of October 3, the US has contributed $8,5bn, the EU $3,6bn (out of a total of $12,3bn), and the UK $0,6bn, half of what has been committed.

The aid gap between the US and Europe is unjustified for two reasons. First, the combined GDP of the EU and the UK exceeds that of the US; therefore, unlike the military support front, the problem is not a lack of capacity. Second, since the United States provides Ukraine with the lion's share of military assistance, it is reasonable to expect that The EU and the UK must equalize together, if not surpass them in economic aid.

Asked about the imbalance, EU officials say the $3,6 billion in EU aid to Ukraine does not include contributions from individual member states and only includes money from the EU budget. But even if other contributions are added to this, the picture does not change much, not least because only three of Washington's NATO allies - Britain, Canada and Germany - have provided more than $1 billion separately, not to mention that Germany , the European powerhouse, had a GDP of $4,2 trillion last year.

The unevenness persists even when the metric used is all forms of economic aid provided to Ukraine as a percentage of the donor's GDP. According to the Kiel database, only 7 of the 30 countries helping Ukraine exceed the US share of 0,2%.

Be that as it may, sharing the burden of economic assistance to Ukraine is not fair or justified.

It's not that the allies of the United States are slackers—they aren't—or that economic aid to Ukraine should be primarily the responsibility of Europe; The US can afford to help and should.

However, if the war turns out to be protracted, the current aid scheme could become increasingly unpleasant for Washington, especially if the United States faces an economic downturn.

In addition, there is the scale of Ukraine's needs. Prime Minister Denis Shmygal believes that his country will need $2023 billion in budget assistance in 38 alone, and President Zelensky believes that another $17 billion will be needed for other non-military needs.

Transatlantic disputes over assistance to Ukraine may arise at a delicate moment. The EU and the UK are now facing economic problems that will only get worse before being resolved and will therefore find it difficult to address the imbalance in non-military aid to Ukraine. However, the longer the war goes on, the more likely it is that the United States will push for a fair burden-sharing.

Inequality in burden-sharing, if left unaddressed, can breed resentment. This needs to be fixed before things get to this point. The best way forward is a division of labor: the US takes primary responsibility for military assistance to Ukraine; Europe and the UK are doing the same for economic aid.

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