Price on Politics: What has President Biden done to help Ukraine?

Megan+Fisher

Megan Fisher

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

On Feb. 24, Russia invaded Ukraine after months of tensions and military build up. In the almost two months since, the conflict has escalated to new heights. Just recently, Russian troops left the city of Bucha after targeting civilians.

Americans have been sending messages of hope and cooperation to Ukrainian citizens and people of Ukrainian descent around the nation and world. President Joe Biden has been among these Americans.

Biden has been criticized by many as doing too little to help the cause or as not doing the right things. The President, however, has stayed true to his beliefs and actions, not caving to pressure.

What he has done, however (some actions explained in greater detail here), has been exactly what he needs to do.

At the start of the conflict, President Biden announced his full support of the Ukrainian people but promised to not send American troops into the nation. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so there is no obligation for Biden to send troops in.

Biden has, however, announced sanctions against the Russian government and some of its citizens. From President Putin himself to billionaire oligarchs to Putin’s adult children, Russian individuals have been sanctioned. Russia’s central bank has had its assets in the United States frozen, which means that the value of Russian currency will be harder to keep stable. Biden has made it difficult for Russia to survive in a world outside of its own.

American companies and many nations have followed President Biden’s lead. The European Union has put its own sanctions on Russian banks in place, as well as other Russian individuals. So has the United Kingdom and Switzerland, a nation that has famously remained neutral in global conflicts.

On March 16, Biden “announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine,” raising the total of US aid to $2 billion. This included anti-aircraft systems, rifles, armor, helmets, and various other forms of weaponry and other items for military use.

On March 24, President Biden also announced that the United States was “prepared to provide more than $1 billion in new funding towards humanitarian assistance for those affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its severe impacts around the world.”

In doing these things while keeping American troops out of the conflict, Biden is doing exactly what he needs to be doing.

Since Putin first showed aggression towards Ukraine in 2014 when he annexed Crimea, relations between the two nations have been tense. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the world was wondering if it was going to mark the beginning of World War III.

This is a valid concern. If the United States and the rest of NATO got involved in the conflict militarily, it would be likely that China would join on the side of the Russians. Should that have happened, it seems likely that China would not only help Russia in the fight against Ukraine but would also use the opportunity to invade and retake Taiwan. 

Like Ukraine and Russia, Taiwan used to be a part of China. The Chinese government still recognizes the island as a part of China and not as an independent nation.

Had this taken place, the world would have been thrown into chaos. Trade routes and supply lines would be affected the world over. New alliances would be created while others dissolved.

While I cannot say for certain whether events would have played out this way had the United States and NATO sent troops into Ukraine, I can say that the lack of US military involvement has kept it from happening.

President Biden has had to walk a fine line. He could not completely ignore the conflict in the hopes that it would resolve itself. Had he done this, the United States would have no longer been the nation the world turns to in times of need.

He could not have used the full power of the United States military in the hopes that Russian forces back down. Had a conflict between American and Russian troops escalated enough, the situation could have turned nuclear.

President Biden has been able to show US support for Ukraine and its people while avoiding the devastating costs that US military involvement would bring.

The President also realizes the ongoing state of the war. Since the end of WWII, the world has looked to the United States for guidance in times such as these. The President has kept calm and collected while doing what he can to hurt the Russian government and the Russian cause.

While his harsh words do not always seem like they are enough, any president of the United States has influence. His calling Putin a war criminal, for example, has made the world watch more closely what is going on.

Many have criticized Biden’s actions, but they are exactly what they are needed to be: calculated, flexible and able to unite not just the nation, but the world. 

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.