The cry from the heart was uttered yesterday by Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister and former President of the European Council. He took to Twitter to speak to Republican senators who on Wednesday rejected the funding plan that included aid to war-torn Ukraine, and told them: “Ronald Reagan, who helped millions of us win their freedom and their independence, must turn in his grave. Shame on you ” !
Ronald Reagan, known here for his economic liberalism, is especially revered in the East for standing up to the USSR during the Cold War; and for having declared on June 12, 1987, in Berlin, addressed to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet number one: “Tear down this wall!” » Two years later, the Berlin Wall fell and the Eastern countries regained their freedom.
Reagan was an old-fashioned Republican, the antithesis of Donald Trump and the isolationist Party he fashioned in his image. A party ready, today, to sacrifice the fate of Ukraine both for reasons of internal politics, but also of fascination with the Putinian authoritarian model. Just look at how yesterday’s interview with the Russian President by the ultra-conservative journalist Tucker Carlsonn is relayed in the Trumpian ranks!
There is both surprise and bitterness in the Polish Prime Minister’s statement, shared by all those in the East who experienced Soviet domination: they conceived an unshakeable faith in American protection. .
A few months ago, a leader of a Baltic state whom I pressed with questions, with other journalists, on the strategic autonomy of Europe, replied to us, annoyed: “my job is first of all to ensure that Americans stay in Europe to protect us.” We can imagine his dismay when the possible next occupant of the White House is ready to abandon Ukraine.
There is voluntarism on the European side: “Europe will be there if the Americans fail in Ukraine,” a senior French official told us recently. However, it will take more than voluntarism.
The EU has taken a big leap forward in supporting Ukraine for almost two years. But it is still far from replacing the United States. Firstly by its industrial impasses: for example, the Europeans were not able to respect their commitment to deliver shells, it will be done almost a year late.
The result is a serious imbalance on the ground, because Russia has truly put itself into a war economy. In Adviivka, a town which was the subject of serious fighting, the Russians fired five times more artillery shells than the Ukrainians, who gave ground. This will certainly be at the heart of the meeting on Monday in Paris of the “Weimar triangle”, France-Germany-Poland.
The international climate at half mast, uncertainties about weapons, fatigue on the ground, weigh on the morale of the Ukrainians and create tensions; President Zelensky’s decision yesterday to replace his chief of staff, the very popular General Valery Zalouzhny, is one of them. The news from Washington certainly doesn’t help.