In the past 10 months since Russia’s cruel attack on Ukraine, I have consistently expressed my deep concern about the seemingly endless American support to the Ukrainians. The war and our costly involvement portend to be a major issue in American politics in 2024 if we continue to fight this senseless proxy war with Russia.
The U. S. aid to Ukraine through December 2022 totals $68 billion since the beginning of the war in February of last year. In addition, the U.S. Congress on Dec. 23 approved a $45 billion aid package to Ukraine — two days after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s wartime visit to Washington. These statistics do not include the significant expense in bringing hundreds of Ukrainians to America and helping them settle here. The aid packages (amounting to $113 billion) are earmarked for military equipment, humanitarian aid and economic support to the Ukrainian government to recover from lost revenues from drastic disruption, the result of relentless Russian attacks on factories and energy sources.
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Despite sporadic news of Ukraine’s successes in the war, the continuation of this terrible war is principally dependent on sustained monetary and military support from the United States.
In retrospect, the U. S. foreign policy in regard to pushing for Ukraine’s admission to NATO has been a major mistake. In 2008, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made the initial strong effort in this context. William Burns, U. S. ambassador to Russia at the time and currently our CIA director, warned Rice of the consequences of Ukraine becoming a NATO member.
Russians would surely consider this step a threat to their security, inevitably leading to hostilities. Burns was representing the widely held views of policymakers and scholars in Moscow — remarkably prescient as recent events have demonstrated.
Europeans, while being quick to make statements of support, have limited capability or willingness to earmark resources for Ukraine. The U.S. support to date represents about 70% of all aid to Ukraine. As in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we are once again the suckers in a foreign conflict.
My big dilemma is to come up with concrete suggestions to bring the Russia-Ukraine war to a sensible conclusion. I feel that, absent our resources made available in such abundant quantities, the Russians might stop further destruction of Ukraine.
They might even decide to give back much of the captured territory rather than attempt to conquer the bulk of the country. In short, the bloody and destructive war would likely end soon after the aid to Ukraine from the U. S. and other sources stops. I am confident that whatever aid that Ukraine currently receives from Europe will stop soon after the discontinuation of American support.
I also believe Putin is counting on a scenario that involves active opposition from American and European public opinion, forcing a precipitous loss of support for Ukraine. This will provide the most welcome relief to European citizens who have suffered enormously from their governments’ costly stand against Russia.
After the war ends, I am quite sure that Americans and Europeans will provide the very large assistance to Ukraine that would be needed to rebuild the decimated country. The great satisfaction in this process will be that the gratuitous annihilation in lives, property and production of goods will end and Ukraine can then look forward to a slow but steady recovery.
Sadly, much of it would be accomplished by postponing urgent social and infrastructure projects in America. That is often the price we have to pay for intervening in unnecessary and avoidable wars.
Suresh Chandra, Ph.D., is professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. He lives in Ponte Vedra.
This guest column is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Times-Union. We welcome a diversity of opinions.


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