Ukraine: Vadym Prystaiko says UK ‘last line of defence’
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Amid tumbling approval ratings, Mr Biden’s tough stance against Russia is being used to signal his strength and ability to manage potential conflict. Speaking to the Russian President, Mr Biden warned him that the United States would respond “decisively and impose swift and severe costs” if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine. The Pentagon has deployed 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe to bolster NATO countries, as well as sending about 180 tonnes of ammunition to Ukraine over the weekend.
Through extensive research, Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, political economy and public policy professor at the University of Birmingham, has found leaders facing electoral pressure often tend to adopt more extreme, costly policies to prove themselves to their electorate.
He told Express.co.uk: “The US President Joe Biden, facing low approval ratings has been taking a relatively hawkish stance, sending 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe and has threatened Russia with crippling sanctions.
“Competence is hard for voters to accurately assess, this opens up the space for naturally belligerent leaders to gain ascendancy.
“Consequently, doves (more gentle, typically peaceful leaders) also act tougher to compete in that space.
“The Ukraine Russia conflict is the latest example of costly conflict with politicians escalating to gain electoral advantage at home.
“More generally, the model rationalises the persistence of conflict.
“It also shows when international bodies like the U.N. can dampen conflict.”
Professor Bandyopadhyay recently published research using mathematical modelling that shows a clear pattern of politicians across the globe acting in more severe – or ‘hawkish’ – ways in conflicts in an attempt to be re-elected.
Mr Biden began his presidency with unusually high poll numbers, enjoying a 55 percent approval rating in late January 2021, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
But his numbers tanked in August, when the US made its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and have not recovered since.
President Biden’s public approval rating fell to the lowest level of his presidency last week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The national poll found that 41 percent of US adults approved of Biden’s performance in office, while 56 percent disapproved and the rest were not sure.
The prior week’s poll had put Biden at a 45 percent approval rating and 50 percent disapproval.
The tumbling approval rating could spell disaster for the Democratic Party which risks losing control of Congress in the November 8 elections.
Professor Bandyopadhyay added: “During times of conflict, hawkish policies carry the day. One only needs to look at the upper hand that hawks had in determining US foreign policy, as well as the electoral success that more hawkish leaders have enjoyed recently to see that tough policies and politicians dominate in times of conflict.”
Russia denies it intends to invade but has massed more than 130,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and has sent more troops to exercises in neighbouring Belarus, encircling Ukraine on three sides.
President Putin has gathered thousands more military personnel at sea and the UK can see Russia has brought in “combat enablers” in the form of fuel, medical supplies and bridging assets.
US officials have confirmed Russia’s buildup of firepower has reached the point where it could invade on short notice.
In a statement, the White House said: “President Biden was clear with President Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our Allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian armed forces chief commander Lieutenant General Valeriy Zaluzhny and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov issued a more transparent threat to President Putin.
They said: “We are ready to meet the enemy, and not with flowers, but with Stingers, Javelins and NLAWs (anti-tank and -aircraft weapons).
“Welcome to hell!”
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