By Ralph Nader

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Biden announced that the U.S. government would help Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” Despite being someone who taught classes on the “separation of powers,” he nonetheless continues the unilateral presidential practice of starting or involving the U.S. in foreign wars without Congressional authority.

Biden, aware of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and Putin’s dictatorial rule, started out cautiously but soon proceeded to repeatedly change his “No’s” to “Yes’s” regarding increased aid to Ukraine.

First, Biden said “No” to sending an advanced missile and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to the latest tank and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to F-16 fighter planes and then said “Yes.” Then he said “No” to cluster bombs and then relented with these brutal child killer weapons. (According to Human Rights Watch, “Clearance is dangerous, time-consuming, and expensive. Doing it well involves highly trained professionals with specialized equipment carefully marking and examining land meter-by-meter.”) Biden said “No” to using U.S.-supplied weapons to attack military targets within Russia. But then he said “Yes” to hit targets inside Russia for “limited purposes.” All along he opposed any soldiers from NATO going to Ukraine and now he is starting to relent, with some French “military advisers” on their way, that had to have had his approval.

Through the bloody World War I-type trench fighting with immense casualties on both sides, Joe Biden seems to be willing to arm Ukraine down to the last Ukrainian family. Everybody in his circle believes that only peace negotiations can end this war. Yet Biden failed to push his State Department and the UK Prime Minister to further productive negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Turkey during the first month of the war.

Biden accepted advice that Ukraine would get a better deal after the Russians were pushed back to the border. That has not happened and is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
So, the tens of billions of dollars flow to Ukraine. Israeli leaders used the legislation providing aid to Ukraine to secure more billions for weaponry and war costs from a deficit-ridden Biden budget. Meanwhile, crucial necessities of life for millions of American children and their needy parents remain underfunded or unfunded.

As for this Congress, with its rubber-stamp hoopla, its committees have continued a tradition of failing to have intensive policy oversight public hearings, as Senator William Fulbright had on the Vietnam War. The Afghan and Iraqi “wars of choice” (meaning they were illegal offensive wars) dragging on for many years witnessed a surrendering Congress avoiding serious public hearings, even on the annual $50 billion spent on these military adventures that circumvented the Committee process altogether.
Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein, who has testified before Congressional Committees over 200 times, has written about this Congressional surrender in our print newspaper Capitol Hill Citizen(See, capitolhillcitizen.com) as well in his new report Congressional Surrender and Presidential Overreach, with a preface by Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Does anyone in the powerless citizenry really care that their most direct branch of government – its 535 legislators – is not exercising precise and serious constitutional obligations, such as having the exclusive war-declaring power? For many years now, U.S. presidents have been free to start wars, mini-wars, and armed incursions in any country they choose with total impunity. This is constitutional authority seized by the Executive Branch from Congress which doesn’t want the responsibility clearly invested in it by our Founding Fathers.

A little-noticed practical result from this Empire-meddling is that our government is avoiding leading a “peace race” and reviving the requisite arms control treaties, especially such as the long-time faltering or expiring nuclear arms treaties with Russia. Moreover, Biden is spending far more of his precious time weaponizing the Israeli genocide, while weakly waffling about the issue of Israel committing war crimes, rather than spending his time strengthening and defending all life-saving regulatory agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, and Agriculture’s crucial missions for America. Moreover, there is a potential avian flu epidemic lurking on our dairy farms that is being neglected. (See, Dr. Rick Bright’s op-ed in the New York Times, June 5, 2024, titled, Why the New Human Case of Bird Flu Is So Alarming).

Biden has always been quick with the delivery of weapons and deployment of armed forces abroad and very slow with diplomatically driven conflict avoidance. The one very belated exception was the gridlocked war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. In 2021, he left Afghanistan abruptly, without taking along several thousand terrified Afghans, who were working as drivers, technicians, and translators, who were dangerously exposed.

Joe Biden squares off in the first presidential debate against Trump on June 27, 2024. Convicted felon Donald knows how to dominate his opponents in debates, if the moderator lets shouting, lying Trump get away with violating the time rules. It is almost certain though that he will go after Biden’s “endless wars.” Biden better have a Gaza ceasefire in place, because the lawless, violent Netanyahu would love to have lawless Trump back in the White House. As President, Trump supported outright annexation of the Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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