It isn’t every day that Democrats and Republicans are on the same side of anything, so it may come as a surprise that the nation of Ukraine has not only brought them together, but brought them together in opposition to the White House. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle feel the United States should send lethal weapons to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia. The White House does not.
Only minutes before the 113th Congress was about to adjourn in December, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act passed unanimously. Four days later President Barack Obama signed it into law, authorizing $350 million in lethal and nonlethal military assistance to Ukraine. But while the bill allowed the United States to send weapons to Ukraine, it didn’t force the administration to send them – and it hasn’t. Ukraine is still waiting.
The U.S.-Russian relationship is complicated – real complicated. On the one hand, there are disagreements and clashes between the two countries over Ukraine’s sovereignty. On the other hand, they need to work together on things such as a nuclear deal with Iran. And that may mean that even though Congress has overcome its usual gridlock on this one issue, the former member of the Soviet bloc may never get its weapons.
On this week’s podcast, guest host Todd Zwillich decodes the web of foreign policy issues around sending – or not sending – weapons to Ukraine. It’s a story that reaches from Washington to Moscow to Berlin to Tehran.
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