[23 March 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: Two wars, the consequences for America’s standing

Relevance: GS II (International Relations)

Prelims- Conflict zone with geographical location

Mains- Impact of conflict over world 

Why in the news? 

The extent to which the Ukraine and Gaza wars will be influenced by U.S. election-year politics versus following their own course remains uncertain.

The U.S. and the Ukraine War /  Ukraine War influenced by US election- 

  • Global Issues and U.S. Elections: The conflicts in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas are unfolding amidst the lead-up to the U.S. presidential elections in November 2024. The extent to which these conflicts will be influenced by election-year politics versus their own course is unclear, but the U.S. plays a significant role in both.
  • U.S. Assistance to Ukraine: The U.S. has provided substantial military and civil aid to Ukraine, totaling $75 billion since February 2022. However, an additional $60 billion in assistance has been held up in the U.S. Congress, potentially impacting Ukraine’s military capabilities.
  • Uncertainty Surrounding Further U.S  Military Aid: There is uncertainty about whether the U.S. will provide further military aid to Ukraine in 2024, as a new package approved by the Senate needs to pass the House of Representatives.
  • U.S. Position on Ukraine Conflict: The U.S. aims to prevent a Russian victory in Ukraine but also wants to avoid further escalation or prolongation of the conflict.
  • Political Dynamics in the U.S. Congress: Speaker Mike Johnson faces challenges in passing the Senate bill for further military aid to Ukraine in the House of Representatives, as it may lead to divisions within the Republican Party.

Israel and its Gaza actions/ criticism of Israel action by USA-

  • U.S. Concerns and Criticisms: President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have publicly raised concerns about Israeli strategy in the conflict with Hamas, signaling a shift in public sentiment within the Democratic Party and the liberal Jewish-American community.
  • Criticism of Netanyahu’s Leadership: Former U.S. official Richard N. Haass, along with others, criticizes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict, suggesting it has damaged Israel’s relationship with the U.S. and caused harm to innocent Palestinians.
  • Israeli Military Actions in Gaza: The destruction in Gaza due to Israeli military operations is highlighted, with concerns about potential further civilian casualties if Israeli forces target Rafah.
  • Netanyahu’s Political Motivations: Netanyahu’s motivations are questioned, with suggestions that his actions are primarily driven by his own political survival rather than strategic considerations.

The Trump factor/ Trump’s potential impact on the situation are-

  • Potential Disruption with Trump Victory: A victory for Mr. Trump in the upcoming U.S. election could lead to significant disruptions in U.S. policy, particularly regarding Ukraine. Trump’s policies towards Ukraine are expected to differ from those of the current administration.
  • Continued Support for Israel: Trump is likely to maintain strong support for Israel, as evidenced by his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
  • Implications for NATO and European Security: A Trump victory may lead to uncertainty and shifts in U.S. commitment to NATO and European security. European allies are concerned about filling potential gaps left by a change in U.S. policy.
  • Potential Ukrainian Collapse: The momentum in the conflict is currently with Russia, and if Ukraine is unable to regain it and the U.S. decides to step aside, there is a possibility of a Ukrainian collapse.
  • Wider Consequences: American unreliability in European security matters could have broader consequences, impacting alliance relationships in the Indo-Pacific region, including with countries like South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and India.

Impact of Gaza crises on Ukraine war –

  • Diverting attention- The conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Israel-Hamas war, is diverting attention away from Russia’s war in Ukraine, benefiting Russia by shifting focus from its aggression against Ukraine
  • Support from Africa and Latin America- Russia is seeking allies globally to support its interests, especially in Africa and Latin America, as part of a strategy that started under Vladimir Putin’s leadership
  • Decline in Moscow’s influence Israel-Hamas conflict serves as a distraction from the war in Ukraine but poses risks for Russia, potentially leading to a decline in Moscow’s influence in the Middle East regardless of the conflict’s outcome


The conflicts in Ukraine and Israel’s actions in Gaza are intertwined with U.S. politics, especially the upcoming presidential elections. U.S. assistance to Ukraine faces uncertainty, while criticism of Israel’s actions and concerns about a potential Trump victory add complexity to the situation.

Prelims PYQ-

Southeast Asia has captivated the attention of the global community over space and time as a geostrategically significant region. Which among the following is the most convincing explanation for this global perspective? (UPSC IAS/2011)

a) It was the hot theatre during the Second World War

b) Its location between the Asian powers of China and India

c) It was the arena of superpower confrontation during the Cold War period

d) Its location between the Pacific and Indian oceans and its pre-eminent maritime character

Mains PYQ-

Q-There arose a serious challenge to the Democratic State System between the two World Wars.” Evaluate the statement. (UPSC IAS/2021)


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