American assistance to Ukraine has surpassed the annual cost of “endless” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As the protracted conflict raging between Ukraine and Russia continues unabated, Congress lawmakers and President Joe Biden have appropriated $110 billion in economic and military assistance to Ukraine.
Some Ukrainian-friendly advocates have suggested that the cost of assisting Ukraine in its struggle against Russia is “peanuts” in “grand strategy terms.”
Trita Parsi, executive vice-president of the non-interventionist Quincy Institute, disputed the assertions of these pro-aid analysts. “Washington’s rhetoric aside, Ukraine is vital to Russia but peripheral to America. And without America’s military support, Ukraine may not run out of will power, but it will run out of bullets, @tparsi writes.”
Anthony Cordesman, emeritus chair of strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in 2022 that the “costs of such aid are low in grand strategic terms.”
Timothy Ash, a fellow at Chatham House, argued, “It's Costing Peanuts for the U.S. to Defeat Russia.”
Ash contested that “from numerous perspectives, when viewed from a bang-per-buck perspective, U.S. and Western support for Ukraine is an incredibly cost-effective investment.… A Russia continually mired in a war it cannot win is a huge strategic win for the U.S. Why would anyone object to that?”
Parsi pointed out that aid to Ukraine has surpassed the costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars:
“The cost of the war thus far is not, contrary to Ash, ‘peanuts.’ The U.S. support for Ukraine in 2022 amounted to $68 billion, and the White House requested another $34 billion. In comparison, the war in Afghanistan cost $23 billion per year in its first two years. In 2011, at the height of the surge, the war cost $107 billion. The Iraq War cost $54.4 billion and $91.5 billion in its first two years, respectively. According to the Cost of War project at Brown University, the failed global ‘war on terror’ cost $8 trillion and caused more than 900,000 deaths over the course of 20 years.”
Parsi added that America’s and the West's incessant backing of Ukraine has led to the alliance of Russia, China, and Iran:
“There are other strategic costs. As the war drags on, it contributes to the formation of a Russian-Chinese-Iranian alliance. While Putin likely is disappointed in Beijing’s lukewarm support for his war, the two countries have intensified their collaboration on several fronts, including with Iran. It is ‘only natural’ that countries facing pressure from the U.S. would move closer together, a Chinese diplomat told Axios. This is even more true when it comes to Russian-Iranian relations, which have assumed a more strategic character in the past year, with Tehran providing drones and potentially also missiles to the Russian war effort (a path U.S. officials don’t believe Tehran would have taken had Trump never left the Iran nuclear deal).”
It is estimated that the cost of providing never-ending assistance to Ukraine is also greater than the annual military budgets of every country other than China and the United States.
Breitbart News published an article confirming that “aid to Ukraine eclipsed”:
- American aid to any country in one year since “at least” the Vietnam War,
- Russia’s 2023 $84 billion military budget,
- Every country’s military budget except for China and the United States,
- American aid for communities affected by drought, hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, and natural disasters—by $4 billion.
American assistance to Ukraine almost matches the base spending of the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security put together.
Assistance to Ukraine is nearly as large as the $118 billion “the United States will spend on medical care for all U.S. military veterans.”