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America’s Indo-Pacific allies — Australia chief among them — got a stark reminder of one of the constants of contemporary international relations: that the competition for US strategic and tactical attention is global, unrelenting and filtered through US domestic politics.

Ukraine is simply not a high strategic priority for the United States, but most certainly is for Putin and Russia. But after the poorly managed Afghanistan pull-out and allies seeking reassurance about US steadfastness, it would not take much for the Biden administration to be drawn into countering Putin’s designs on Ukraine.