Obtaining such advanced technology could enable the Russians or the Chinese to “learn a good deal, both about countering specific U.S. capabilities and perhaps learning things they could develop and employ in their own aircraft,” said Jan van Tol, a retired Navy officer and senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
While not as sophisticated as the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, Super Hornets are “4.5-generation fighters, which means they would have some pretty sophisticated systems that the Russians or Chinese would be happy to get hold of,” van Tol said.
Mr Trump still holds much of the party in thrall. He denounced the recent aid for Ukraine, saying: “The Democrats are sending another $40bn to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children.” His base might be energised if, in coming weeks, he announces he will run for president again in 2024. “Fact is if the Republicans take over the House in 2022 us support to Ukraine will come to a halt,” tweeted Ruben Gallego, a House Democrat. Republican leaders, he predicted, would not be able to stop Trumpists like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz “from dictating our Ukraine policy”. Mr Gaetz shot back: “Ruben is correct.”
Such boasting amounts to “wish-casting”, says Eric Edelman, a former Pentagon official under George W. Bush. maga disciples are still a minority among congressional Republicans. Still, he frets, they could grow larger after the elections. If they make up a bigger share of Republicans in the House—where spending bills originate—and particularly if they hold the balance of power, it will become harder to provide more aid to Ukraine. Few expect the fickle Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, to resist the Trumpian right, even though he has praised Mr Zelensky as “a modern-day Winston Churchill”. Pressure will increase on the Senate (whether controlled by Democrats or Mr McConnell’s Republicans) to tame the excesses of maga-world. The matter of Ukraine, says Mr Edelman, is part of “the larger battle for the soul of the Republican Party”.
At this week’s NATO summit, President Biden met for the first time in a year with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, setting aside his long-standing issues with the Turkish leader. But Turkey continues to play both sides of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. If the United States is now willing to deal with Ankara, the next deal should center on persuading Erdogan to side with the West on Ukraine.
The question of whether the Defense Department or the primes should own all the data rights to various elements of the FVL program is a simplistic, false choice, says a CSBA senior fellow.
Finland and Sweden are on the verge of seeking membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a historic shift for two traditionally non-aligned countries and a major expansion of the Western alliance as war wages in Europe.
On Thursday, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin strongly backed Finland’s NATO membership. “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security,” they said in a joint statement. “As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.”
What happens in Helsinki is being closely watched in Stockholm. Sweden’s parliament issued a report Friday that said joining NATO would “raise the threshold” for military conflict. Sweden’s ruling party, the Social Democrats, are having internal debates about reversing their long-held stance opposing NATO membership, paving the way for Sweden to make its NATO aspirations known within the coming days. Finland moved first, but the two are closely coordinating, and will likely apply for NATO membership in tandem.
This is a dramatic turn for two countries that have defined their geopolitical identities around nonalignment — Finland, for decades, and Sweden for two centuries. It will bring close partners into alliance, strengthening NATO’s presence in Northern Europe and putting more pressure on Russia’s borders. After resisting NATO membership for so long, it is a signal from Finland and Sweden they are united alongside Europe, the United States, and its allies during a crisis moment for the continent.
“This is pretty monumental,” said Katherine Kjellström Elgin, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “It’s a fundamental change to the European alliance structure.”
Russia’s invasion on the other side of the world has spurred ordinary Taiwanese to take practical steps to guard against similar action by Beijing.