REVIEW - US Presidential Race And Ukraine: Where Do The Candidates Stand?

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd August, 2023) As Americans brace themselves for what is shaping up to be yet another monumental presidential election, rhetoric on Ukraine is already filling the airwaves, revealing sharp differences among candidates in both major parties, although it is questionable if the issue will be a priority in the minds of US voters when they cast ballots in 2024.

With the country at a crossroads, navigating through a host of complex challenges and shifting priorities, the forthcoming 2024 election promises to be a pivotal moment that will shape the trajectory of the nation and reverberate across the globe.

Although the primaries will not begin until February, and the party conventions are a about a year away, Democrats and Republicans are already gearing up for the fight, with the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine demanding the attention of candidates on both sides of the political divide.

Overall, more and more Americans are saying the US should back Kiev, although the intensity of this support seems to be waning among potential Republican voters. A Reuters/Ipsos survey published from June reported that 65% of the respondents favored US supplying weapons to Ukraine, a sharp increase from the 46% recorded in May. However, a Pew research poll in June found a rising percentage of Republicans believe the US is giving too much military aid too Ukraine.

There appears to be a clear divide among the Republican Primary field, with hawkish anti-Russian sentiment on one end, and vows to end the conflict on the other.

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he could end the war immediately, while at the same time criticizing the Biden administration for letting the Pentagon run out of ammunition. Along similar lines, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy proposed a peace treaty that would freeze the current battle lines, establish a Korean-style armistice, and prohibit Ukraine from entering NATO.

Most Republican candidates, however, are in favor of the US continuing to send military aid to Ukraine. Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, has made the conflict in Ukraine an equal priority to domestic issues like border security, urban crime, and the energy crisis. Pence is also aligned with President Joe Biden on sending cluster munitions to Ukraine while urging Kiev to be patient about entering NATO.

Trump's former UN Ambassador Nikki Hale, in full support of aiding Kiev, said the world needs to counter Russia effectively in order to send China a message not to invade Taiwan. Meanwhile, Senator Tim Scott has also backed and applauded US military packages to Ukraine.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Ukraine needs military hardware to ensure the conflict ends on terms acceptable to Kiev. Former Arkansas Asa Hutchinson and ex-congressman from Texas, Will Hurd, both back arming Ukraine with the latter even suggesting the U.S. government should be sending even more aid.

On the Democratic side, Biden, who of course is committed to sending as much aid to Ukraine as possible, faces little opposition, although Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has surprised in early polling, and now has almost 15% of the vote, according to poll aggregator Real Clear politics (RCP).

RFK has opposed the Russian special operation in Ukraine but said he realizes Washington played a major role in provoking it. The campaign told Sputnik that RFK Jr., if elected, would seek a peace deal with Russia that respects both Ukrainian sovereignty and Moscow's security concerns, opposes Kiev joining NATO, and called Biden's decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine a "reckless escalation."

Despite the fact White House policy toward the Ukraine conflict will be critical to America's future, doubts loom as to whether it is or will be a priority in the minds of US voters come election time. Several experts told Sputnik that US elections won't be decided by a foreign war and that it is not much of a factor among the majority and certainly not with the Democrats.

Former CIA analyst and station chief Philip Giraldi thinks it all depends if the conflict is still ongoing and on the candidate.

"(It) depends on whether there is a candidate who is antiwar that would give voters, who are becoming tired of what is going on, an option to express their exhaustion with it," Giraldi said. "If not, and since both parties are pretty gung-ho for the war to defeat Russia, I would imagine it will be a non-issue in terms of who wins unless the GOP opts to play the card that Biden, or whoever replaces him, mishandled the conflict, just as the White House failed in the Afghanistan evacuation."

Former hedge fund manager and political analyst Gerald Celente believes it is too early to tell what will happen in Ukraine in the Presidential primaries in 2024.

"If the war is still dragging on during primary time if the issue is properly addressed and the candidate pledges that rather than going to war he/she would champion for peace and use the money for American prosperity rather than enriching the military-industrial complex," Celente said, "We believe those number would reverse and the candidate would get support from all parties and especially from millennials down."

Professor of African American History at the University of Houston Gerald Horne stated that much remains unclear but a lot depends on what happens on the battlefield and the survivability of the Kiev regime and if the conflict manages to capture headlines.

According to political analyst and former FBI special agent Coleen Rowley, while the ongoing conflict does figure as an election issue, not all of the candidates bring it up.

"Only two of the leading presidential candidates even talk about the war," Rowley said." Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has done a good job of explaining its factual history and promising to end it while Trump, in his usual double-talk way, has bragged that he could quickly resolve the situation. Biden and the other Republican candidates strongly support continuing to arm Ukraine to fuel more war."

Head of the Independent Institute Center of Peace and Freedom Ivan Eland, also thinks the issue will most likely be a minor factor in the 2024 race.

"Republicans have a difficult time taking any advantage of Joe Biden's support for Ukraine because their party is divided on the issue," Eland said. "A small minority is against Ukraine and the rest of the party is egging Biden on by saying Ukraine needs more weapons faster to win-for example, F-16s and ATACMS."