(L-R) US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US President Joe Biden, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin look on during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2023. InternationalIndiaAfricaThe White House has asked Congress for $106 billion in funding to allow Washington to continue supporting its allies in three separate global flashpoints: Ukraine, Israel and Asia. Sputnik reached out to retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and international geopolitics and military affairs consultant Earl Rasmussen for his take on the situation.Congress will almost certainly pass President Biden’s massive $106 billion supplemental funding request bundling new assistance for Tel Aviv together with other security spending, because “no one is going to vote against aid to Israel,” Rasmussen told Sputnik.
The $106 billion spending package, which includes $61.4 billion in additional assistance to Ukraine, $14.3 billion for Israel, and $7.4 billion for military and economic tools designed to “counter China,” also features $13.6 billion in funds to address the crisis at the US’s border with Mexico.
The supplemental, wrapped up into must-pass national security spending legislation, is widely seen as a means to outmaneuver and placate House Republicans weary of providing more aid to Ukraine, but who have made clear over the past two weeks that they’re more than willing to send additional US financial and military assistance to Israel.AmericasBiden Excuses Push for Israel, Ukraine Aid as Matter of ‘National Security’ in Rare Address Yesterday, 03:45 GMT“You may see some adjustments in the figures,” Rasmussen said, predicting “some jockeying back and forth” and possible modifications to spending priorities. The analyst added however that even if anti-Ukraine aid holdouts manage to win some concessions, Biden could still end up using his presidential authority to shift funds back to Kiev once the money is approved.The spending will “obviously” benefit some people, the observer conceded, reacting to Biden’s comments in his speech Friday about aid to Ukraine and Israel being “a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.”“I mean, he’s truthful that we’re giving basically aged or stockpiled equipment [away] primarily to Ukraine. And we’re replenishing our own stockpiles. So in that way, yeah, I guess you could say that that’s ‘increasing our security’ from that perspective and making a lot of money for the weapons manufacturers, the military-industrial complex and other people in between,” Rasmussen said. “The money laundering is going strong. The laundering machines are running full blast. But as far as actual benefits to the country…good investment? I’m sorry, I disagree with that. Personally, I think they’re living in a different world,” the observer added.Rasmussen stressed that the spending “does not help the average American,” and will actually harm the country’s security overall, because it will ramp up tensions with Russia, potentially escalate the Palestinian-Israeli crisis into a regional conflict, and further increase the risks of war with China.“The US is pushing for three conflicts. I am doubtful we could win one conflict. We definitely cannot support a multi-front war, even if it’s a proxy war,” he emphasized.
Rasmussen expects the funding in the supplemental request to “embolden Israel,” giving Tel Aviv “basically a continued green light…to do whatever they want to do in Gaza,” up to and including a ground invasion.“We’ve blocked and used our veto power in the UN to block every attempt at a ceasefire resolution, it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from. I think the latest one was from Brazil…And there are apparently leaked State Department messages that went out to Embassy staff not to mention the word ‘ceasefire’, not to use ‘negotiation’, basically giving guidance essentially [that] it’s a green light for Israel to do whatever they want,” the observer pointed out.AmericasUS Government Deficit Widens By 23% To $1.7Tln For Fiscal Year 2023Yesterday, 21:53 GMTThe only consolation, in the retired US Army officer’s perspective, is the fact that US reserves of some weapons are “drained” or at “extremely low” levels, meaning the Pentagon won’t be able to immediately increase military support for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan even if it wanted to.“Even with our industries ramping up, and they won’t be ramped up for another two or three years, they still cannot match the production rate that Russia has, let alone if you throw Iran into the mix as well,” Rasmussen said, recalling, for example, how some 300,000 155-mm shells of artillery ammunition in Israel were quietly sent to Ukraine earlier this year, making them unavailable for use by the IDF after the escalation with Hamas earlier this month.“We have had problems supporting one front from a proxy position. We cannot support two. And if we get directly involved, it’s really, really bad,” Rasmussen concluded.AnalysisBiden’s ‘Weak’ Speech Tying Ukraine, Israel Funding Reflects ‘Bankrupt’ US Policy in Mideast Yesterday, 15:01 GMT