As the battlefield in Eastern Europe settles into a stalemate, with both sides entrenched as the winter weather deteriorates, Western support for Kyiv seems to be tailing off. In the United States, rising numbers of Americans say their country is spending too much on the war and should try to end it quickly. The White House is asking legislators to approve around $24 billion in new military and other aid—but the Republican Party controlling the House of Representatives is refusing to approve any more help without concessions on stricter border and immigration control. In Europe, the EU has invited Kyiv to begin negotiations to join it—yet Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, is holding up further EU aid to Ukraine. What’s happening with its allies in the West?

James Goldgeier is a professor of international relations in the School of International Service at American University and the author of several books on U.S. foreign policy toward NATO and Russia. As Goldgeier sees it, American public opinion has been changing for a number of reasons—not least the growing perception that U.S. dollars aren’t making a difference in the conflict. The Republicans in the House, meanwhile, are aligning increasingly with Donald Trump, the former U.S. president and likely Republican nominee in 2024—an admirer of Putin who’s long questioned American support for Ukraine. European backing for Kyiv remains relatively strong, despite all the challenges the conflict has brought to the continent—but as the political fortunes of the European populist right rise, those fortunes are complicating EU support for the war effort.

That development, Goldgeier says, heightens the threat an aggressive, authoritarian Moscow might represent, not only to nearby democracies but to the entire international order created after World War II. And all of it hangs on a highly uncertain question that won’t be resolved for the better part of a year: who’ll win the U.S. presidential election in November 2024 and hold power in Washington by January 2025.

Michael Bluhm: First off, how would you characterize the situation on the battlefield?

Micaela Parente

James Goldgeier: The front lines really aren’t moving much, and it seems very tough for either side to gain much of an advantage.

On the question of manpower, we’re now seeing extraordinary reports about Russian casualties: Of the original invading force of about 360,000 soldiers, some 300,000 have been killed or wounded. Clearly, there are significant Ukrainian losses as well, but there isn’t clear public data on those numbers.

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