USA’s Foreign Aid Bill: Oil To The Fire


After six months of turbulent negotiations, both political parties of the United States have finally reached a consensus on passing a foreign aid bill mainly aimed at Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The monetary aid to Washington’s allies has caused a mixture of harsh criticism and unequivocal gratitude, depending on who is asked. Some degree of disagreement remains within the Senate, with 18 senators opposing the bill, notably including Bernie Sanders who rejected it due to the funds being provided to Israel.

His criticism of the bill is echoed by many others due to the current state of affairs in the Middle East. The aid provided to Israel comes during a tumultuous period of relations between the two countries which is exacerbated by the accumulation of Palestinian casualties in Gaza. The US has appropriated $26.4bn to Israel and Gaza, including $4bn for the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, $1.2bn for the Iron Beam, and $9bn in humanitarian aid. However, the bill excludes funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) due to Israel’s claims that the agency was involved in the October 7th attacks. Netanyahu spoke out on Twitter, thanking the United States for their support and for “defending Western civilization.” The Palestinian administration expressed a different stance, condemning the funding and predicting it would “translate into thousands of Palestinian casualties” in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to Nabil Abu Rudeina, the Palestinian President’s spokesman.

However, the better part of the bill addressed a different US ally also currently involved in a conflict: Kyiv. Sixty-eight billion dollars was dedicated to Ukraine as its fight against  Russia had faltered in the previous months. Out of these funds, $13.9bn will be used for defense technology, $13.7bn on defense material,  and over $11bn on the joint military operations of the US forces with the Ukrainian army. The war effort will also be strengthened with the provision of ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery rounds, air defense missiles, Bradley vehicles, and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, among others. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Washington for its support, claiming that the bill “reinforces America’s role as a beacon of democracy and leader of the free world.” Biden has insisted on helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s “brutal campaign,” noting that the destruction of Ukrainian hospitals, kindergartens and grain silos were particularly reprehensible actions. However, this seems paradoxical due to the $26bn being allocated to a country facing even worse accusations than Russia, most of which would be used for military expenditure.

According to Maria Zakharova, an official in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the package sent to Ukraine is a “direct sponsorship of terrorist activities.” Unrelated to foreign aid, the package also includes proposals that will allow the US to take control of frozen Russian assets and use them to rebuild Ukraine, as well as impose more sanctions on Iran, China, and Russia.

Finally, the remaining $8.1bn of the bill was dedicated to the Indo-Pacific region, namely Taiwan. Three-point three billion dollars will be used for the submarine industrial base set up in the region and $1.9bn for the replenishment of stock given to Taiwan previously. Taipei will eventually get control of a $1.9bn Columbia-class submarine and a $200m Virginia-class submarine as well. China firmly opposed the action, criticizing the USA’s involvement in the region and its affairs. 

Unrelated to foreign affairs, the bill also included a new obligation for Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, to choose between selling the app to American owners or getting banned from the App Store in the USA. The original time frame was set at nine months, but it can be extended to a year if significant progress in the sale is made. President Biden will continue to use TikTok for advertising his campaign despite the ultimatum given to the social media platform.

The president of the United States has expressed immense approval for the bill, stating that the USA “stands resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.” However, this view is evidently not shared by everyone, both abroad and within his nation’s borders. More hardline Republicans have urged Congress to focus on pressing domestic issues rather than sending funds overseas. It is safe to assume that this bill has accumulated split opinions across the globe, but one thing is certain: it will affect the conflicts present in the global geopolitical scene.

Vukasin Tolic
Vukasin Tolic
Economics student who holds an interest in discovering the world by writing about it.

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