How Sending Aid to Ukraine is Saving the U.S. Billions of Dollars

The U.S. giving financial aid to Ukraine is an "incredible" investment for the country, as Washington is spending "peanuts" for what, economist Timothy Ash told Newsweek, would eventually produce wins "at almost every level" if Russia is defeated.

Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Congress passed a spending bill worth $13.6 billion in aid to Ukrainians and, in May, the Senate approved nearly $40 billion in additional support—a major package including military, economic and humanitarian assistance.

U.S. aid to Ukraine, Ukraine military
In this photo, soldiers of Ukraine's 5th Regiment of Assault Infantry put ammunition into a crate at a front line near Toretsk in the Donetsk region on October 12, 2022, amid the Russian invasion. British economist Timothy Ash believes the U.S. aid to Ukrainians is an "incredible" investment for the country. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

On November 15, the White House asked Congress to approve a further $37.7 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, of which $21.7 billion would go in defense aid and $14.5 billion for direct budget support to Ukraine.

Some House Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have been calling for the U.S. to halt aid to Ukraine, asking for the funds to be reallocated somewhere else. On Thursday last week, Greene led the introduction of a resolution calling for Ukraine aid funds to be audited.

But Ash says the amount of money that the U.S. is spending on Ukraine is nothing compared to what the country is getting in return.

"These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total U.S. defense budget of $715 billion for 2022," wrote Ash in an article published on the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) website.

"The assistance represents 5.6 percent of total U.S. defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the U.S., a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger. In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia's conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to U.S. lives."

Ash told Newsweek that the U.S. defense budget exists to counter whatever threats the U.S. faces, and at this very moment, Russia would be among the biggest threats to American security, together with China, North Korea and Iran.

"If you take the total U.S. defense budget and kind of allocate to likely threats, compared to what I estimate with the spend-per-threat [of Russia], which is between $100 billion and $150 billion, spending $40 billion for Ukraine this year is just an incredible spend-per-threat," Ash said.

"Spend-per-threat" is a term that he had coined to indicate the amount of money spent to deter a certain danger coming from another country.

"The ability to erode Russia's conventional force with no threat or no loss to U.S. life is just incredible. The ability to destroy your enemy without putting your own forces at risk with relatively modest investment just strikes me as a gift for the U.S.," Ash said, adding that America's spending on Ukraine is, over the long term, "a no-brainer."

The British economist also thinks that keeping up with the new arms race Moscow "has now triggered with the West will surely end up bankrupting the Russian economy." Russia, whose GDP is only $1.8 trillion, has no chance of keeping up with the defense spending of the West, whose combined GDP is $40 trillion.

"Vladimir Putin will have to divert spending from consumption to defense, risking social and political unrest over the medium term, and a real and soon-to-be present danger to his regime," said Ash.

"Just imagine how much more of a bargain Western military aid will be if it ultimately brings positive regime change in Russia."