In a 60 Minutes interview, President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen both stated that the US can manage the wars in Israel and Ukraine while maintaining its overall international defense. However, they differed on the military goals of their allies in each conflict.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) aims to “rout Hamas and eliminate its leaders after the slaughter they perpetrated.” The first phase involved cutting off food, water, and energy to Gaza and using airstrikes. Now, the IDF is in formation for a ground invasion of Gaza City.
Israel has told the 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to leave their homes and move to the southern half of the territory. The plan is to send the army into Gaza City to overwhelmingly defeat Hamas as a movement and kill or capture its leadership. Understanding the military goals of Washington’s allies in each conflict is crucial to understanding the current situation.
The Hamas attacks have exposed blind spots in Israel’s monitoring of hostile activities within Gaza, leaving Israeli forces uncertain about what they will find in Gaza City. Hamas uses an unmapped tunnel system and has built and stored numerous rockets undetected. Hamas’ terrorist attacks aim to prepare Israel for a ground assault in Gaza City, but it’s unlikely that Israel will easily win the battle.
If an overwhelming defeat of Hamas is possible, it will be enormously costly in terms of time, resources, and lives. Ukraine faces similar dilemmas, with the American public having to provide $44 billion and massive military equipment. The Ukrainian forces began retaking territory with the launch of the counteroffensive, pitting a US-armed, US-equipped, and US-trained force against a Russian army fortified by trenches and minefields.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in heavy casualties and equipment losses, but Russian lines remain largely unchanged. If Ukrainian forces were to push the Russian army out of Donbas and Crimea, it would be expensive and costly. Biden and Yellen’s calls to fund wars in Gaza and Ukraine would put a heavy financial burden on the American people, forcing them to pay for military campaigns that are likely to fail.
Increasing the tax burden to fund wars in faraway lands would likely be unpopular, but the burden is real. The current monetary system suggests that Washington can solve global problems without increasing taxes, but wealth is actually confiscated indirectly through inflation rather than directly through taxation. The American public needs to heal from the savings-starved, debt-ridden, and inflation-strained state of the country. Forcing the US to fund a deadly stalemate in Ukraine has been a disaster, and taking even more to bankroll the devastation in Gaza only worsens the situation.