Primary race between Republicans and Democrats is gaining momentum on the Ukrainian track

Joe Biden Donald Trump

On January 15, the primaries within the Democratic and Republican parties started in the United States, which is the starting point of a long electoral process, according to the results of which either a new Republican president will take the oath of office on January 20 next year, or the incumbent head of state Joe Biden will take a second term. And the Ukrainian track is one of the central cases in the struggle between Democrats and Republicans for the presidency, which provides an exceptionally high status in world politics, enormous power and the opportunity to become an integral part of world history.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the armed conflict has been at the very epicentre of American politics. And obviously, it will remain one of the main storylines of the struggle within the American establishment, as both Republicans and Democrats are trying to use the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation as their trump card in the upcoming elections, the Ukrainian socio-political magazine Focus wrote. In this context, the main stumbling block is the issue of aid to Ukraine, which is opposed by a significant part of the Republicans, especially the conservative faction and personally its ideological leader, Donald Trump, who won a convincing victory in the Iowa Сaucuses.

Fierce debate continues today in the United States between Democrats and Republicans over a bill to provide Ukraine with a new batch of multibillion-dollar aid. The White House proposes to provide Kiev with the largest financial package of more than 60 billion US dollars. The Republican Party, in turn, is systematically blocking the Democrats' legislative initiative, demanding that the funds reserved to support Kiev be directed to the construction of protection structures on the southern border of the United States to curb the flow of illegal migration through Mexico.

At the same time, the Republicans are ready to make concessions on the Ukrainian issue if the Joe Biden administration agrees to curb illegal migration across the U.S.-Mexico border and toughen migration policy toward foreign migrants. Democrats, however, refuse these compromises for purely electoral reasons. Millions of Latin American refugees with U.S. citizenship traditionally vote for Democrats. And those Latin Americans who will eventually obtain a U.S. passport will also support Democrats. At the same time, an increase in the percentage of so-called "Latinos" in the population structure of the southern U.S. states, which have historically supported the Republicans, may turn them into a stronghold of the Democrats' electoral base.

As a result, both Democrats and Republicans are stubbornly standing their ground, and the American political system cannot find a way out of the situation and is clearly failing. Against this background, U.S. President Joe Biden turned to the language of threats in dialogue with the Republicans. He said that his colleagues from the Republican Party will have to "pay for a lot" if they refuse to support the bill to provide aid to Ukraine in 2024. A little earlier, Democratic U.S. Senate member Chris Murphy warned that the Republicans' "political games" could lead to a "war in Europe."

At the same time, while the majority of Democrats have developed a consensus on the need for further support for Kiev, the Republicans lack a unified point of view on the issue of building a political course toward Ukraine in the context of its war with Russia. Thus, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, at the close of the conference with his fellow party members, advocated a deal with the administration of Joe Biden, providing for a compromise in which the Democrats will accept programs to strengthen border control on the border with Mexico, and the Republicans will give them the go-ahead for the allocation of aid to Ukraine, albeit in significantly reduced amounts, the Hill wrote with reference to representatives of the Republican Party. "McConnell urged his colleagues not to lose sight of the urgent challenges to the country's national security, which are represented by Russia, Iran and China", - stated the publication.

The unexpected political flexibility of some Republicans makes the leaders of the Republican establishment and supporters of a more rational distribution of the U.S. budget from among the Republican Party noticeably nervous, forcing them to raise the stakes in the confrontation with the Democrats, and thus "burn bridges" in negotiations with the White House administration. Against this background, the Republican political technologists resort to rather tough and dirty methods of political struggle with their opponents. It is not surprising that amid the bickering between Republicans and Democrats, former Ukrainian MP Andrey Derkach, who is under U.S. sanctions and suspected of treason in his homeland, emerged from the information shadow. He has avoided appearing in public since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but in early January, he gave an interview to Italian-American journalist Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, during which he presented documents allegedly showing deep corrupt ties between the Biden family and Ukrainian politicians and businessmen.

In general, promoting the Biden family corruption story is the central storyline in the entire Republican Party election campaign. It is the financial machinations of the American leader that are being pressed by the Republicans, who have initiated an investigation into the financial irregularities of the American leader, which, if real evidence is revealed, may become a trigger for the launch of impeachment proceedings against the head of the White House. In turn, Biden called the actions of opponents "a political stunt".

It is noteworthy that the journalist Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, who published Derkach's interview, is the wife of ex-Trump adviser George Demetrios Papadopoulos, who was arrested by prosecutors on perjury charges and later pardoned by Trump before the end of his presidential term. In general, it is possible that the media story of "Biden's corruption" is linked to the pre-election manipulations of Trump's election headquarters and his contacts with Russian representatives, which fits into the framework of his confrontation with his opponents from the U.S. Democratic Party for the presidency.

However, apart from the election results themselves, many observers are concerned about the answer to the question of whether the US support for Ukraine will continue if the White House administration changes. Kiev believes that Washington will continue to support Ukraine regardless of the further US president. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with the Polish magazine Uklad Sil that the party affiliation of the new US leader would not prevent Kiev from winning the war, as support for Ukraine corresponds to Washington's long-term strategic interests.

Kamran Mamedov is a Moscow-based Azerbaijani journalist born in Georgia who focuses on South Caucasus issues.

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This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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