Problems in the U.S. military and the endless struggle between the White House and Congress over the future budget merged into one in July. The U.S. military budget was at the epicenter of the culture wars. A real rift has formed in Congress, with rival groups proposing a record 300 amendments to the Pentagon budget. This threatens to lead to disruptions in funding for the U.S. war machine. Republicans are trying to add provisions to the budget to ban the imposition of a racial-gender agenda and “drag shows” where men dance in women’s outfits, as well as to stop enlisting “transgender” people. After all, because of their unstable hormonal state, they are primarily a threat to fellow soldiers, who can be shot at any time.
As always, the Ukraine issue is particularly acute. At once, both right-wing and left-wing congressmen offered their amendments to ban the supply of cluster munitions, fighter jets and long-range missiles to Kiev. They have been echoed by Trump, who has been actively incriminating Biden for bringing down the last of America’s arsenals in Ukraine and rendering America defenseless in the face of China. Congress is demanding that the White House articulate a plan for what it wants to accomplish in Ukraine. Lawmakers no longer want to supply arms for the sake of an endless war with Russia. Against the backdrop of fatigue from the conflict in Ukraine, congressmen are even raising the question of withdrawal from NATO. For the first time in modern history, this military budget may be smaller than the previous one due to the optimization of government spending. Many advanced weapons programs will go under the knife. The number of warships will be reduced from 298 to 291. No new missiles will be purchased to replenish those spent in Ukraine. But the most important thing is that in the conditions of the split the Pentagon budget will be adopted only by the end of the year at best. How the war in Ukraine will be financed when the current budgets come to an end remains unanswered.
As a result, the U.S. military budget ended up in a state of uncertainty. Thus, thanks to the treason of 9 neo-conservative Republicans, the Matthew Gaetz amendment banning the promotion of inclusiveness in the military was not passed. But the raucous congressional hearings on defense policy still left almost everyone dissatisfied. Republicans managed to pass some amendments to ban the imposition of a racial-gender agenda in the military, and Democrats are now promising to do everything they can to axe such a military budget. For example, lawmakers failed to approve amendments to ban cluster munitions shipments or to strengthen tranche controls on Ukraine. This has already led both right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats to announce their unwillingness to vote for a war budget. Ron DeSantis has become the second presidential candidate to go on record as opposing the supply of cluster munitions. He fears that Ukraine is turning into another endless war for the U.S. like Iraq, in which Washington will lose again. Trump says the same thing, criticizing Biden for downing the last U.S. arsenals in Ukraine. Militarists among congressmen criticize the budget bill, demanding more money be spent on the military-industrial complex and rebuilding the stockpile of missiles and shells used up on the Ukrainian front. Isolationists are outraged that support for Kiev, albeit in much smaller amounts, will continue. In fact, no one likes this Pentagon budget at all, and no one knows how to pass it in this form. Lawmakers still have a couple of months to fight. After that, there will be big problems with tranches to Ukraine because of the exhaustion of the current budgets. But the rift in Washington is already so strong that it threatens to lead to disruptions in the financing of the entire U.S. military machine of 700 bases in 130 countries.
As part of the discussion on the military budget on the part of radical Republicans, the fate of U.S.-NATO cooperation was also raised. The influential right-wing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene presented 6 amendments to the forthcoming U.S. defense budget. She proposes to start the procedure of withdrawal from NATO due to the fact that the alliance is no longer a “reliable partner” of America. In addition, she called for rejecting further military tranches to Ukraine and negotiating a truce with Russia. Marjorie Taylor Greene expresses the opinion of many Republicans, because they are traditionally skeptical of NATO, considering the other members of the alliance “spongers” of America. In particular, many of them have long called for responsibility for Kiev to be shifted to the Europeans. In American society, the level of support for NATO varies between 50-60%, and this is much lower than in Europe. But it is mostly Democrats who support NATO, and isolationist sentiments have increased sharply over the year and a half of war in Ukraine. More than half of Americans believe that the government should deal with U.S. domestic problems, not foreign crises. Trump hopes to play on the Americans’ desire for isolationism by promising to stop the Ukrainian conflict in 24 hours. He has always actively criticized NATO’s activities. And, according to his former advisers, Trump hopes to raise the issue of disbanding the alliance if he is elected to a second term. He is more interested in competing with China than in dealing with the affairs of Europe. Now it is obvious that the U.S. is not going to leave NATO and all this looks like a political joke. But in a year and a half everything may change, as Marjorie Taylor Greene may become Secretary of State in the Trump administration. Importantly, the situation in Ukraine could lead to an upsurge in anti-war sentiment in Europe and a split within the alliance. Then Trump will have a window of opportunity for the most radical restructuring of military relations with EU countries and the entire NATO structure.
However, the NATO issue is still a question of the future, albeit not the most distant one. At the moment, the pressing issue was financial planning for the Pentagon, in which the White House flatly refused to accept the new U.S. military budget, in which the Republicans want to limit the imposition of a racial-gender agenda in the armed forces. If their plan goes through, the Pentagon would be banned from performing sex-change operations to lure “transgender” people into service and from hosting “drag shows” of soldiers dressed in women’s clothing. With Biden’s rise to power, a rapid liberalization of the U.S. military sector has begun. Democrats are trying to reformat this traditionally conservative institution to suit them. That is why they are actively recruiting “transgender” soldiers and forcing the Pentagon to hold “anti-racist” lectures for privates, which are dedicated to the exploits of BLM.
Cultural differences have turned out to be even more serious than military and organizational ones, and the Pentagon’s budget is unlikely to be stable and understandable against the backdrop of the culture wars raging in the United States. This is already affecting the situation on the Ukrainian front: the Europeans wanted to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in June, but then “suddenly” postponed the training to August and now to October. The training simulators for F-16s never made it to Europe. And that’s unlikely to happen until the Pentagon’s new budget is passed. Washington also fears the capabilities of Russian air defense, and it is not for nothing that American pilots call F-16s an easy target for Russian S-400 systems. Without the U.S. military budget, the U.S. will not be able to agree on the delivery of F-16s to Turkey, and without this, the issue of Sweden’s membership in NATO will hang in the air. In Ukraine, problems with U.S. budgets may arise at the most inconvenient moment against the backdrop of a failed counteroffensive. The rift in Washington is already so strong that even an ordinary event, such as the adoption of the military budget, is now turning into an epic with an unpredictable outcome. And a democratic system that is paralyzed by endless fruitless discussions in parliament will not be able to withstand fierce foreign competition from both China and Russia. A good historical example is Poland in the 18th century, and whether the United States will repeat its fate, we will know very soon.