UK Foreign Secretary Cameron urges Trump/Republican backing for Ukraine war

UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron was rebuffed by Donald Trump after seeking to get the US Congress to release $95 billion in war funding, including $60 billion earmarked for NATO’s war with Russia in Ukraine.

The Biden administration’s funding bill is being blocked in the House of Representatives, where Trump’s Republicans have a majority.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, left, speaks during a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Washington. [AP Photo/Kevin Wolf]

Cameron was acting in the first instance as a representative of British imperialism and other European powers concerned that the war against Russia will be lost without additional funding for Ukraine’s armed forces. Ahead of his trip, Cameron and Stéphane Séjourné, his French counterpart, wrote an op-ed in the Telegraph, stating, “We are both absolutely clear—Ukraine must win this war. If Ukraine loses, we all lose. The costs of failing to support Ukraine now will be far greater than the costs of repelling Putin. But, as discussed during the Paris Conference in February, we must do even more to ensure we defeat Russia. The world is watching—and will judge us if we fail.” 

In words aimed at the US Republicans they wrote “it is not for France and Britain alone to solve these challenges… we can rally others to join us in overcoming them.”

Ukrainian President Zelensky intervened Monday, the first day of Cameron’s US visit, insisting, “It is necessary to specifically tell Congress that if Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war. If Ukraine loses the war, other states will be attacked.”

In his mission to keep the UK at the forefront of NATO’s US-led war, former prime minister (2010-15) Cameron posted on social media last week from a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, “Britain’s put forward its money for Ukraine this year. So’s the European Union. America needs to do it. That is blocked in Congress.

“Speaker [Mike] Johnson can make it happen in Congress. I’m going to go and see him next week and say we need that money, Ukraine needs that money. It is American security, it’s European security, it’s Britain’s security, and they need our help.”

The House of Representatives Speaker Johnson, a Christian fundamentalist fascist, is a pivotal figure in scheduling a House vote on military aid to Ukraine. Known as “MAGA Mike,” he played a major role in supporting Trump’s failed coup following the 2020 election.

Cameron’s trip to see Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Florida mansion could hardly have gone worse and was later described only as a “private dinner.” He was the last person to choose to influence Trump, who is currently demanding the withholding of Ukraine funds to weaken President Joe Biden in the run up to November’s presidential elections—and because he is mainly set on conflict with America’s main economic rival, China.

Trump in fact played a major role in Cameron’s downfall as prime minister. In 2016, Cameron advocated Britain remaining in the European Union, a position supported by then President Barack Obama but opposed by the stridently anti-EU Trump. Cameron stood down following the victory of the Leave campaign.

In February, Cameron likened those blocking aid to Ukraine as appeasers of Hitler in the 1930s. He wrote an opinion piece in The Hill declaring, “As Congress debates and votes on this funding package for Ukraine, I am going to drop all diplomatic niceties. I urge Congress to pass it… I do not want us to show the weakness displayed against Hitler in the 1930s. He came back for more, costing us far more lives to stop his aggression.”

In response, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a leading Trump backer in Congress, said, “David Cameron needs to worry about his own country, and frankly, he can kiss my ass.”

The same month Cameron characterised Trump’s position of allowing Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who don’t contribute enough financially as “not a sensible approach.”

Following his meeting with Cameron, a Trump campaign’s readout said they discussed, “the upcoming US and UK elections, policy matters specific to Brexit [and] the need for NATO countries to meet their defense spending requirements, and ending the killing in Ukraine” as well as “their mutual admiration for the late Queen Elizabeth II.”

To make matters worse, Cameron’s meeting with Johnson in Washington never happened as the Speaker refused to meet him. A UK Foreign Office official was forced to claim. “They’re in contact but [their] diary is not working.”

Cameron added, “I’ve got a whole lot of meetings… and I’m not quite sure who I am and who I’m not seeing.” He was, however, able to meet Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who favours releasing the funding to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Cameron’s trip was viewed as a friendly intervention by Biden. And he was afforded a joint press conference after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In a fulsome introduction, Blinken made clear that Britain was in the front ranks of backing Washington’s agenda not only in confronting Russia, but also backing Israel’s genocide in Gaza and in militarily challenging China.

Blinken said of their talks, “we of course reaffirmed the imperative of continuing to support and help Ukraine defend itself against the ongoing Russian aggression.” He warned that that “the supplemental budget request [for Ukraine] that President Biden has made of Congress is urgent and its imperative… We look to see that brought before the House and to get a vote as quickly as possible.”

He continued, “In the Indo-Pacific, our two countries are aligned on the key issues before us in the Indo-Pacific: ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, standing up when the [People’s Republic of China] is engaged in unfair trade practices and non-market practices…”

The AUKUS (US/UK/Australia) military alliance was declared to be vital in promoting “a free and open Indo-Pacific. Australia’s selection last month of British companies to develop nuclear-powered submarines is a milestone in actually integrating our defense industrial bases.”

Cameron said in reply that continued funding for Ukraine was vital, not just for Britain but was critical to US economic interests. “We know that if we give the Ukrainians the support they deserve, they can win this war… And of course, in terms of the money they need and the support they need, perhaps nothing is more important than the supplemental that the Congress is looking at, at the moment.”

In the most bloodthirsty terms, Cameron insisted that “the best thing we can do this year is to help keep the Ukrainians in this fight… and I make that argument to anyone who will listen to me… I argue that it is extremely good value for money for the United States and for others. Perhaps for about 5 or 10 percent of your defence budget, almost half of Russia’s prewar military equipment has been destroyed without the loss of a single American life. This is an investment in United States security.”

While Cameron’s move to immediately shift Trump’s position fell flat, the New York Times insisted that he was correct to meet “the former, and possibly future, president.” It cited Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the US and Americas programme at leading UK thinktank Chatham House, insisting, “It may not feel tasteful, but it’s shrewd, pragmatic politics of the kind Britain especially has historically been so good at, and probably of the kind that will work best with Trump.”

“There is a lot at stake in US defence of Ukraine and Europe’s security,” she added, “and frankly, I think the effort to influence the US may be wiser and more effective than the aspiration to Trump-proof Europe.”