A Biden administration official and a European diplomat in Washington say the government is discreetly pivoting from pushing Russia out to a defensive attitude in Ukraine.
U.S. Administration Shifts Strategy in Ukraine Amidst Ongoing Conflict and Aid Challenges
Despite backing Ukraine’s goal of complete victory, negotiations are underway to move Kyiv’s military from a faltering counteroffensive to a stronger defensive position against Russian forces in the east. Strengthening air defenses and boosting Ukraine’s defense industry are part of this shift. Despite U.S. Congress’s opposition, the purpose is to strengthen Ukraine’s negotiating position and give armaments.
The administration official emphasized Ukraine’s aggression before negotiations. Ukrainian forces continue to attack without discussions, causing Russian deaths. During peace discussions, political risks preclude the administration from publicly revising its position. The Biden administration struggles to manage Ukraine during an election campaign.
The crisis threatens U.S. and European aid to Ukraine, requiring a defensive response. Republicans in Congress are blocking $60 billion in Biden aid. Therefore, the administration routinely discusses battlefield needs and goals with Ukraine. While the U.S. nears the end of its military aid to Ukraine, offensive and defensive support remains.
Biden Administration Shifts Ukraine Strategy and Navigates Global Challenges Ahead of Election Year
The administration’s change may allow Ukraine time to negotiate with Russia. Ukrainian NATO membership may be expedited to boost its negotiating position while the U.S. and Europe negotiate. Public statements indicate no NATO membership negotiations. Putin may concede Ukrainian territory under partly Russian control, but it’s complex. Biden must manage the war, avoid election-year headlines, and maintain public support amid changing policies and geopolitics.
In addition to Ukraine, the Biden administration is addressing Middle East issues to prevent war. Foreign policy matters in the upcoming election because global issues could affect Biden’s electoral status and voters’ views of his global leadership.