Can the U.S. stand with both Israel and Ukraine?
You know that old saying about being able to walk and chew gum at the same time? Julianne Smith, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, is living it as the U.S. pledges support to both Israel and Ukraine.
Who is she? Smith has been the ambassador to NATO since 2021.
- She is in Brussels and attended two meetings last week: the normal NATO defense ministerial that includes defense ministers from all member states; and the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), which includes more than 50 countries, and meets to discuss what Ukrainian requirements look like that particular month.
What is the latest?
- The U.S. now finds itself trying to stand with Israel as it prepares for a ground war in Gaza, and also continuing to stand with Ukraine as war there grinds on.
- Smith makes the case that, based on the discussions at those two meetings in Brussels, the U.S. has the capacity to do both.
- Her reassurance comes after a senior NATO officialsaid Western weapon stockpiles are nearing "the bottom of the barrel." In response, Smith told All Things Considered: "We've had 16 of these UDCG meetings, and each and every time, Ukraine walks away with additional forms of assistance. It does not mean that it's always easy."
- At the same time, U.S. support of Ukraine requires commitment and money that's approved by a Congress that is currently in paralysis without a speaker. Congress also just excluded support for Ukraine in the temporary budget deal, which expires next month.
Listen to the Consider This episode on how Palestinians appear to have been killed in reprisal attacks in the West Bank.
What is Smith saying?
Smith spoke to All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly this week. Here's what she said.
On whether aiding both Ukraine and Israel comes at the expense of the United States' own military readiness:
On whether U.S. Congress paralysis and the temporary budget deal make it harder for her to plan:
- Biden has been steadfast in his support of Israel since the attacks by the militant group Hamas on October 7. Israel is continuing its bombardment of Gaza in response.
- On Thursday night, Biden will give a national address from the Oval Office, where he is expected to discuss Hamas' attack, Israel's response and the war in Ukraine.
- Here's the available evidence of what happened at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza
- Children make up nearly half of Gaza's population. Here's what it means for the war
- Aid could arrive in Gaza starting Friday, Biden says, as calls for a cease-fire grow
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