american railroad crossing signal and train

A story about how the infrastructure in the U.S. is paradoxically affected by the war in Ukraine

Read Time:5 Minute, 59 Second

The turn of February and March 2023 was marked by man-made and natural disasters in the United States, which showed the country’s serious vulnerability to such events. First, on February 3, a freight train carrying toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, phosgene and hydrogen chloride derailed in Ohio. More than 50 freight cars were carrying them, so the train accident quickly became a local environmental disaster, and 2,000 people were evacuated from nearby homes in 10 days. On February 21 in the same state there was a fire at a steel plant in Oakwood Village. According to the initial version of the investigation, it began after an “unknown incident,” although according to eyewitnesses, a loud explosion preceded the fire. Military and civil aviation were not spared from the troubles as well. On February 16, a Black Hawk military helicopter crashed near Huntsville, Alabama, killing all those on board. On February 22, five people died when a twin-engine plane crashed in Little Rock, Arkansas. They were all working for the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) and were on a work flight.

In early March, a natural disaster struck the country in the form of a global snowstorm that even covered the California area. Across America, hundreds of thousands of people were cut off from civilization. Some towns quickly ran out of food, medicine and gasoline, and the death toll from the weather plagues exceeded 20 people. And the event did not only highlight the guilt of ruling Democratic Party officials for the destruction of the country’s infrastructure and security system, but also their indifference to the events as they unfolded. Governor of California Gavin Newsom, for example, tried to quickly flee the state, flying far away from the storm on personal matters. Apparently, he thought he had recently been re-elected for a second term, so he might miss addressing his state’s problems. The fact that Newsom is now one of the potential Democratic presidential candidates and Biden’s understudy adds spice. And he’s not intimidated by that status, not that he can be reminded of all the state’s problems, from skyrocketing crime and drug addiction to dilapidated infrastructure that constantly causes blackouts. It was at the time of the blizzard that Republican and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited the state as part of his tour and managed to pay more attention to Californians’ problems than Newsom.Ā 

Alas, Newsom’s logic is peculiar to Democrats in the White House as well, being the main motive behind Joe Biden‘s behavior. Realizing that he has hopelessly missed the social and economic agenda at home, the president is betting on foreign policy populism, which is associated with Taiwan, Iran and, above all, Ukraine. A whopping nearly $45 billion was allocated to support Ukraine when the 2023 budget was passed in December. Disgruntled Republicans have calculated that if we divide the total cost of support for Ukraine among all U.S. districts, each district will receive $200 million. Public opinion shows the same stance, even among Biden’s fellow party members. Back in late 2022, the Ukrainian crisis dropped to number six on the list of major foreign policy issues of concern to Democrats. They are mostly concerned about climate change, preventing a new pandemic, terrorism, and cybersecurity. The sentiment among Republicans is even more telling. For them, the Ukrainian crisis is only ranked tenth on the list of the most pressing issues. Republicans are primarily concerned about the migration crisis, terrorism, and drug trafficking. Already in February 2023 the first poll, which came out after the announcement of the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine by the end of 2023, showed that the share of supporters of further funding of Kiev among the Americans dropped below 50% for the first time. At the same time, 47% of Americans believe that it is time to stop doing this. But despite this data, the American president remains faithful to the “Ukrainian case”.

With this approach, it is quite normal to ignore domestic problems, and while in the Democratic states local governments are still somehow trying to feign concern for the electorate, the Republican states are completely out of the White House zone of interest, because they will not bring votes to the electorate in 2024. The state of Ohio, which turned out to be the most affected this winter, was indicative. At first, amid the obvious environmental problems and panic of the local population, local authorities said that nothing terrible had happened. After that, Secretary for Transportation Pete Buttigieg waited a full 10 days just to express his concern and say that “we shouldn’t pay so much attention to the chemical train accident.” Even more interesting was the situation in Ohio for Joe Biden, who in those days was heroically battling a Chinese balloon. Instead of going to Ohio, Biden’s team went to Europe, where Kamala Harris spoke at a conference in Munich and the president visited first Kiev and then Warsaw under the “threat” of Russian bombing. As a result, it was not until two weeks later that residents began to receive aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Amid all the tragicomic of the situation, Donald Trump volunteered to solve the problem by visiting the state and bringing humanitarian aid. The Trump campaign delivered a truckload of bottled water to residents of the affected city. Also, as part of his visit, Trump met with Senator J.D. Vance, who recently endorsed his candidacy for president, and assured the citizens of Ohio that they were not forgotten. Only after this political humiliation did Buttigieg visit the state, and afterwards cynically stated that the incident did not qualify as a traditional disaster, and therefore no special support for the victims should be expected. Biden, fearing the negative reaction of the locals, was afraid to come to Ohio at all.

However, even the wisest recommendations of Biden’s political advisers cannot change the situation that is negative for him. The country is now in a deep social and economic crisis, to which may be added the collapse of the country’s largest banks, predicted after the bankruptcy of Silicon Valley. The White House is trying to convince Americans that the banking system is working reliably. And they shouldn’t rush to withdraw money from deposits, which could lead to the collapse of other regional banks, following Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Biden promised not to bail out investors with shares in failing banks at the expense of the U.S. government, but as in his recent address to the nation, his words don’t seem sincere or confident. Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that Biden’s ratings have dropped since the beginning of the year due to the secret document scandals and the resurgence of inflation. Biden is starting to lag behind Trump in many polls, who, by contrast, is becoming increasingly popular. Even many Democratic politicians and pundits are now turning their backs on the incumbent. The impression is becoming clearer that in 2024 only a miracle or a fantastic development can save him. Well, or even more massive falsification of the election results, which he has already tried in 2020. 

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