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The Great Game – Funding for Ukraine freezing

We take a closer look at what's going on in the Red Sea, where major shipping giants have re-routed cargo ships to travel south of Africa. Simultaneously both the EU and the US are struggling to find political backing for continued funding for the Ukraine war. Read my outlook and prognosis right here in the Great Game!
2023-12-19

Welcome to this week’s Great Game – your weekly geopolitics brief. This week, we take a closer look at the struggles of keeping up funding for the Ukraine War as well as the ongoing struggles in the Red Sea that we have predicted for several editions here. Let’s start in Washington:

Funding drying up for Ukraine

The recent Senate blockage of a vital funding bill, including aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, alongside border security enhancements, has been a pivotal moment in U.S. politics. The bill’s failure, primarily due to partisan divides, reflects a broader trend where domestic issues overshadow international commitments.

The $111 billion bill, integral to Biden’s foreign policy strategy, aimed to bolster American allies and assert U.S. global leadership. Yet, Republican insistence on stricter border regulations, highlighting their domestic focus, impeded its progress. This standoff not only hampers U.S. international relations but also illustrates the growing polarization in American politics.

This impasse suggests a bleak outlook for Ukraine. While some funding and weapons are likely to eventually reach Kyiv, the amount and sophistication might be less than desired. This constraint could predominantly affect Ukraine’s offensive capabilities, subtly altering the dynamics on the battleground. The U.S., though committed to supporting Ukraine, seems reluctant to escalate the conflict with more advanced weapon systems. This cautious approach, influenced by internal political dynamics, indirectly shapes the course of the Ukraine conflict, underscoring the intricate interplay between domestic politics and international affairs.

In the European Union, the inability to agree on continued funding for Ukraine’s war effort is a complex issue. The recent EU summit in Brussels, while advancing Ukraine’s EU membership talks, stumbled over a proposed €50 billion aid package for Kyiv, primarily due to Hungary’s opposition. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, known for his close ties with Russia, objected to allocating such substantial funds from the EU budget for a non-EU country. This disagreement among EU leaders reflects not only the varied national interests within the bloc but also the delicate balance of managing relationships with external partners like Russia.

The EU’s approach to Ukraine’s situation is cautious yet hopeful. While immediate financial aid faces hurdles, there’s optimism for a resolution in early 2023. The EU’s commitment to supporting Ukraine, coupled with the desire to maintain internal cohesion, suggests a gradual but steady approach. However, the immediate outlook remains uncertain, hinging on complex negotiations and the balancing of diverse national interests within the EU.

Overall – this underscores my expectations that a virtual stalemate on the frontline leaves the West with a significant dilemma.

We take a closer look at what’s going on in the Red Sea, where major shipping giants have re-routed cargo ships to travel south of Africa. Simultaneously both the EU and the US are struggling to find political backing for continued funding for the Ukraine war. Read my outlook and prognosis right here in the Great Game!

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