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CEPA: Ukraine a cross the US has to bear

U.S. President Joe Biden in Kyiv in February this year, meeting President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
U.S. President Joe Biden in Kyiv in February this year, meeting President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Source: president.gov.ua/photos

Taking stock of the scale of the United States' commitment to Europe from World War Two onward helps in conceptualizing what is at stake in support of Ukraine today, a piece which first appeared on website of the CEPA Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) argues.

The article, by Lt Gen. (Ret.) Stephen Twitty and Ivanna Kuz, states that now is a time for determined US leadership, one which must galvanize our allies and partners and concentrate on both a decisive Ukrainian victory, asking the question and the means whereby that goal – a goal well within reach – might be attained.

The stakes of not doing so are clear – losing investments by allowing Russia to prevail not only relate to material losses, but would constitute nothing less than a betrayal of all those US servicemen who laid down their lives in the European theater during World War Two, and many more who committed to establishing a democratic Europe free from both nazism and communism, Twitty and Kuz write.

The US and the EU between them enjoy "the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship and ... the most integrated economic relationship in the world," and it is America, more than any other single country, which has worked hard in support of Ukraine over the past 21 months since the current invasion started.

A peace on humiliating terms that involve Ukraine's forced dismemberment would be a terrible outcome, not least because Russia under Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted to keep its word – as evidenced by the 2008 invasion of Georgia, the 2014 annexation of Ukraine, the insurgency war in Eastern Ukraine starting the same year, and the full-scale invasion from February 2022, the piece goes on.

Moreover, it would pave the way for further setbacks, emboldening not only Russia but also other totalitarian states worldwide.

In Europe alone, Russia will be looking to destabilize Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Visegrad states, the Balkan countries, indeed anywhere that Russia views either as formerly being under its purview, as openly stated its ambitions in Putin's chilling demands of December 2021.

The material costs: The US exported US$354 billion in services to the EU in 2022; a surplus of US$96 billion, while in the opposite direction, The EU exported US$555 billion of goods to the US in 2022, with a surplus of USUS$164 billion.

Both blocs have contributed enormous foreign direct investment towards each other, amounting to around US$2.75 trillion each.

US investment in Europe is around four times higher than in Asia; this without taking into account investments into non-EU member state the UK of more than US$1 trillion.

The legacy: The UN, a largely US-led creation designed to maintain international peace and security, its judicial arm, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank not to mention NATO are all organizations, built from the ground up from the ashes of World War Two, facing existential threats from Russia.

The Marshall Plan aimed at post-war recovery invested US$13.3bn (approximately US$150bn in today's dollars) for western European countries.

While there were around 250,000 US troops in West Germany on the eve of reunification and the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, the US also lost some 416,800 service members while ridding the planet of the twin threats of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Twitty and Kuz note.

The full CEPA piece can be read here.

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Stephen Twitty is a Silver Star recipient, Distinguished Fellow and a member of the International Leadership Council at CEPA, while Ivanna Kuz is a Senior Program Officer with the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at (CEPA specializing in Ukraine, Black Sea security, NATO, and the future of European security.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: CEPA

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