February 10, 2023
TOKYO – The United States coming together as one to support Ukraine and protect it from Russian aggression will help restore the international order. It is hoped that the White House will continue its efforts to gain bipartisan support for the significance of this purpose.
U.S. President Joe Biden has delivered his State of the Union address to Congress, explaining his policies for the year.
Noting that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has tested the responses of the United States and the world, Biden said, “We united NATO and built a global coalition.” He also stressed, “We will stand with you [Ukraine] as long as it takes.”
Nearly a year ago when the invasion began, the prevailing view was that Ukraine would not be able to resist. However, the U.S.-led arms support, along with the Ukrainian military’s strenuous efforts, has been successful in pushing back the Russian military’s expansion of occupied territories, leading to the current situation in which Moscow has been forced to face a tough battle.
U.S. allies, including North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, Japan and South Korea, have steered in the direction of increased defense spending and stronger defense cooperation.
As authoritarian states, primarily Russia and China, challenge the international order that is based on the rule of law, Biden has certainly displayed leadership and strengthened the unity of the democratic camp.
At the same time, it can be said that his approach of carefully and gradually increasing the level of weapons to be provided to Ukraine in order to avoid a direct military conflict between the United States and Russia or a situation that could escalate into World War III is a product of his rich experience as a veteran politician.
While indicating his policy of competing with Beijing but not seeking confrontation, Biden also emphasized a hard-line stance: “winning the competition with China should unite all of us.”
The problem is that despite the Democratic Biden’s touting of policy achievements, his domestic approval ratings have been sluggish, and the House of Representatives is controlled by the Republican Party that holds a majority as a result of last autumn’s midterm elections.
Some Republicans have expressed negative opinions about prolonging the massive aid to Ukraine. Many criticize the Biden administration’s stance on its policy toward China as weak-kneed.
The administration must secure a budget for assistance to Ukraine with the cooperation of the Republican Party, and in addition, it must strike a balance so that Biden’s policy toward China does not lean toward an excessively hard-line policy. Biden is required to take such difficult congressional measures.
It is inevitable that political conflict will intensify ahead of the presidential election in November next year. Former President Donald Trump has announced his candidacy and has repeatedly criticized the Biden administration and made radical remarks.
The incident in which Trump supporters occupied the U.S. Capitol is still fresh in our minds. Another situation in which democracy is harmed by violence must not be allowed to take place again.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 9, 2023)