On November 9, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion titled “Red vs. Blue: How Will the New Composition of Congress Affect US Policy?” Discussion moderator Andrey Sushentsov, programme director of the Valdai Club, asked the participants how much domestic political turbulence associated with the past midterm elections will affect the US foreign policy, Russian-American relations, and the Ukrainian crisis.
Dimitri Simes, president of the Washington-based Center for the National Interest, commented on the preliminary results of the election, noting that although the exact results are not yet known and the fate of several seats in the Senate has yet to be determined, the most likely scenario is the long-predicted option in which the Republicans will control the House of Representatives, and the Democrats will retain control of Senate.
This means that the Republicans will not be able to determine US policy, but will be able to control specific budget items and conduct investigations. As a result, Ukraine will probably not receive the unconditional multibillion-dollar support that it has received so far, and the Biden administration will have to explain to congressmen what America is doing in Ukraine and how it is going to get out of this situation. “I think that some kind of correction of American foreign policy towards Ukraine is not only possible, but also probable,” he stressed.
Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Director and Research Fellow of the HSE CCEMI, noted that we should expect more active discussion in Congress on the allocation of funds to Ukraine, but funds will still be allocated. Speaking about US domestic policy, he stressed that the midterm elections are traditionally seen as an indicator of support for the incumbent president and the start of a new presidential campaign.The intensity with which the midterm campaign was campaigned shows just how divided the country is. In fact, America is in a state of political civil war, and after the elections this conflict will only intensify, Suslov believes. In the medium term, he expects the Republican House of Representatives to attempt to impeach Biden. Turning to foreign policy, the expert pointed out that the Ukrainian conflict is perceived as an existentially important element for the United States in the transition to the “new Cold War” paradigm. Therefore, the policy regarding Ukraine will not change and the pro-Ukrainian consensus will not disappear, but the implementation of this policy will be fraught with difficulties.