Biden's Recklessness Is Turning Ukraine Into Another Afghanistan | Opinion

As Putin's war on Ukraine rages on and Washington continues to pledge more aid and weapons to the besieged nation, the entire situation is starting to look ever more like another Afghanistan.

After less than five months of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States has spent $8 billion, which is more than we spent during the first five years in Afghanistan.

Western officials, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, have been warning that Russia's war in Ukraine will last for years. And President Biden is planning to keep the spigot open indefinitely. In June, Biden said the U.S. would provide support to Ukraine "as long as it takes" to win its war against Russia. And on Friday, a senior Pentagon official spoke about gearing up to give assistance to Kyiv for "months and years" to "defend their democracy."

As Americans, we all want Ukrainians—and everyone around the world—to live in a democracy. But that could be an unachievable goal for Ukraine in the near future. U.S. billions will not stop Putin's war, and like Afghanistan, Ukraine is not a mature candidate for a Jeffersonian and Western-style government.

Despite the rosy image of Ukraine painted by Washington politicians and the mainstream media, the country remains one of the most corrupt places in the world, ranking 123rd out of the 180 countries on the corruption scale, only slightly worse than the legendarily corrupt Russia, which is 139th.

Ukraine New 50-Mile Range Rockets
A senior Biden administration official said Ukraine has promised to fire new U.S. rocket systems only at Russian targets within Ukraine and not strike deeper into Russian territory. In this combination image, U.S. Marines fire a HIMARS launcher while conducting rapid insertion training at Avon Park Air Force Range, Ukainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) stands in the town of Bucha, Joe Biden during a meeting with Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell , May 31, 2022 Getty

Washington's democracy promotion project, as noble as it may sound, has been tried and failed many times around the world. And it is unlikely to succeed in Ukraine.

What's more, no one in the Biden administration has given us its definition of victory yet. As in Afghanistan, the goal posts are unclear and keep moving. Various members have suggested that the U.S. must keep weapons flowing to Ukraine and sanctions tightening on Moscow until Russia is permanently "weakened" and its military capability degraded, "so Putin doesn't do it again."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will declare victory when his forces reclaim all of the country, one fifth of which is now controlled by Russia. But even with our aid, Ukraine's definition of victory is implausible given Russia's overwhelming military superiority.

But as the stock prices of major U.S. defense companies and nuclear weapons manufacturers surge during the conflict, no one is keeping track of how much we are spending. The opposite: Politicians in both Washington and Kyiv have blasted U.S. Congresswoman Victoria Spartz because she called for oversight of U.S. aid to Kyiv. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko accused Ukraine-born Spartz of spreading Russian propaganda. And when Spartz called on Zelensky to remove his top advisor Andriy Yermak for allegedly having close Russian connections, her colleague Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of the U.S. Congressional Ukraine Caucus, criticized her for playing into Putin's hands.

Spartz is right to ask questions. Corrupt foreign officials misusing U.S. donations is not a novel problem. Indeed, it's exactly what happened in Afghanistan.

That a U.S. Congresswoman would side with a foreign leader against an American colleague for trying to ensure that American taxpayers are not taken for a ride by corrupt politicians is despicable.

Our 20-year engagement in Afghanistan cost the United States $2.2 trillion and 6,200 American lives. President Biden and his helpers in Congress appear to be heading in the same direction with Ukraine, at least when it comes to financial and military aid.

The President has an opportunity to rethink this doomed project now. He absolutely must.

Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of  "Putin's Playbook: Russia's Secret Plan to Defeat America." She also wrote the foreword for "Zelensky: The Unlikely Ukrainian Hero Who Defied Putin and United the World."

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.