The Republicans’ victory in the U.S. may increase support of Ukraine?

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2014/11/05 • Politics

Article by: Liudmyla Vannek

U.S. voters decided to give the majority of the seats in the U.S. Congress to the representatives of the Republican Party. As a result of the interim elections held on Tuesday, the Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This means that Democrat Barack Obama will be forced to seek compromise with the legislative government during his last two years as President. Voice of America correspondent Bohad Tsiupin observed the elections in Washington and live on Svoboda Today we discussed the possible consequences of political change in the U.S. for Ukraine in particular. 

Is it clear why President Obama’s party suffered defeat in the elections? 

Almost all political experts have predicted success for the Republicans, and this is not surprising to the Democrats and their President, Barack Obama, however, it means trouble, naturally. Throughout the last two years, conditions for general and Presidential elections will be set up.

The Democrats are a bit disappointed, as they point towards economic improvement in the U.S. President Obama says that the U.S. is successfully leaving the crisis behind, there are people who call to see how oil prices have decreased, in particular on car fuel, which is an important factor for American citizens. However, it is obvious that the citizens of the U.S. expect and demand more of their government.

The Republicans claim they will be more assertive: solve immigration issues more radically, which concern many, they fill be firmer when dealing with threats like Islamic extremism etc.

Bohdan, our listeners may recall the assertive claims of Republican Senator John McCain who, when visiting Kyiv during Maidan and afterwards, claimed the U.S. had to support Ukraine more, even with weapons, and put more pressure on Russia using sanctions to stop the war. The Republicans now control the body of legislative government, does this mean that Washington’s policies on Ukraine will change and John McCain may execute his own claims? 

Liudmyla, the listeners of Radio Liberty may also recall the ardent support of Ukraine on part of Obama’s Administration. The U.S. President himself used every opportunity to defiantly condemn Russian aggression. On Tuesday, for example, Washington stated they did not acknowledge the so-called elections the separatists held in the east of Ukraine.

So both leading U.S. parties share the opinion that supporting Ukraine is necessary, they think that adherence to international laws and agreements, preservation of peace in the world and the principle of border integrity, especially in Europe, correspond to the national interests of the U.S. And the American parties have practically no differences in defending these principles.

However, in regard to Ukraine, our audience is probably more interested not in mottos and principles, but in concrete action. As to action, I think it is probably too early to expect dramatic or immediate change in Washington’s policies on Ukraine. One thing is when politicians from an opposing party criticize the President from another party – here they can be harsh, but in developing decisions, the Republican-controlled Congress and the Democratic Administration of President Obama will seek common decisions and will only execute them having reached an agreement.

It is quite possible that there will be new initiatives. Obama will not hasten to veto the proposals of both Chambers of the Congress, therefore it is now worth observing whether political statements will turn into concrete action.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Dirk Smith

    Yesterday’s election results will definitely benefit Ukraine. Barack Chamberlain is an abject failure on all counts.

  • Halyna Klymuk Chomiak

    I don’t think it matters. It isn’t in the interest of the G8 to help Ukraine. As long as Russia is up Ukraine’s b…… it isn’t bothering anyone else. Republican or Democrat in USA has no role in this

    • wmhall

      So you say!! You must be russian! Do you want Ukraine to come to your land, take what Ukraine wants, kill, destroy lots of buildings, rape the women, steal the treasures, have rigged votes to steal territories? Russia NEEDS to get out of Ukraine fast– take these paid terrorists with you! Pay war damages, leave our Crimea now! You only see Russian tv– so much lies, and propaganda! get the truth Halyna!

      • Halyna Klymuk Chomiak

        wmhall you didn’t understand what I said. I said Ukraine has been left out in the cold all alone and the G8 doesn’t care. Neither do the republicans nor the democrats. I don’t read or listen to RT don’t say things like that if you don’t know who you are accusing. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tatianaserafin/2014/01/23/on-the-ground-in-ukraines-maidan/

        • wmhall

          OK, sorry Halyna— I live here in Southern Ukraine, have a permanent residents status— Bought a home, car etc. Then along came the darn russians with their appetite to invade, and destroy ! It seems not enough help yet, BUT I see it on the horizon! Slava Ukraina! This country is a very loving, and peaceful one— does not need this problem! Sorry.

      • Halyna Klymuk Chomiak

        wm you are very angry. so am I . but you shouldn’t be attacking me. you should calm down and read what I wrote and interpret it correctly.

  • Don Casavant

    I would not expect miracles right away. I think that the Republicans might actually try do something other than make speeches, however, Obama is still President and he can veto anything radical that the Republicans want do do. Let us hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

  • disqus60

    The elections weren’t only a “win” for Ukraine, but for America. Yes it will benefit Ukraine. To date, the Obama administration and Democratic Party have done very little to help Ukraine from a proactive stance, but only begrudgingly and after European lead, which was far too slow and too little. Republicans have to overcome an entrenched bureaucracy to make changes, but it can pass bills that will pressure Obama to act in ways he would otherwise not, such as providing defensive weapons and assistance to Ukraine. I will do my part as I know millions of other Americans will, to continue to pressure our government to do more to help the Ukrainian people in their struggle for independence, prosperity and security.

    • Don Casavant

      I just read the same article…maybe there is more hope than I thought! I know that McCain is an honorable man, and he has always tried to do what he says he will do!
      The Ukrainian Army only needs a chance to win against Russia and they get the chance if they can get some modern equipment and weapons.

  • http://ideamaidan.com/ IdeaMaidan

    Unfortunately, this article doesn’t really give much of any concrete information regarding what’s actually going on and what changes might be expected vis-a-vis the Republican takeover of the Senate.

    Here’s my brief overview:

    McCain has been among the strongest advocates for Ukrainian assistance and will likely continue to be so; however, what has changed in his status is that he is now head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the primary duty of which is to
    oversee how the Pentagon spends the money allocated to it. I’m not sure how this might affect Ukrainian issues in any way. McCain will also be able to conduct congressional hearings on matters concerning Pentagon policy, so it is possible he will be able to push the Administration on its Ukrainian policy in this way. Keep in mind that the previous head of this Committee, Democrat Carl Levin, has already been pushing for Ukrainian assistance; McCain may very well dial this
    up, though.

    Republican control of the Senate will affect the ways in which bills are or are not prioritized, the speed in which they are dealt with, and probably most important, whether bills are even allowed to be voted on by the full Senate body or not.

    Mitch McConnell (R-KY) now takes over as leader of the Senate and thus becomes the hetman on this. Legislation of course has to get through the appropriate Senate committee first, and so the committee head for any particular area of concern is very important, too.

    Republican Bob Corker is expected to take over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker has also been a strong advocate for Ukrainian assistance, but then again, so has the previous head of this Committee, Democrat Robert Menendez. In fact, these two have co-sponsored a Ukrainian assistance bill—the
    Ukraine Freedom Support Act—and have already shepherded the bill through this Committee.

    It is therefore up to McConnell to take matters any further. Whether or not he decides to prioritize this bill will probably also depend on how he feels the majority Republicans, as well as the minority Democrats—the margin of difference here is only about 7 seats, after all, so the Democratic vote in the Senate still does very much count for something even now—are likely to vote on the matter. The consensus is that the Senate Republicans overall will almost certainly be arguing for a much more proactive American foreign policy approach at this time—probably inclusive of a pro-Ukraine, anti-Putin angle—but there is also still a strong isolationist wing in the Republican Party to contend with, not to mention the fanatical bunch for whom budget cuts supersede all else.

    So, there may actually be any number of Republican Senators not particularly clamoring to vote for Ukrainian assistance. There is a cadre of Democratic Senators, on the other hand, who have been and can be counted on to remain strong supporters of Ukrainian assistance—for instance Chris Murphy (D-CT), who accompanied McCain on his visit to Maidan last Winter.

    In summary, there may be some change in how Ukrainian issues are prioritized in upcoming days; any legislation that can get through the Senate will need Democratic backing too, however.