Why Trump's Ukraine shakedown is a lot worse than you think

By Amar Shergill | Special to Elk Grove News |

By now, you probably have at least a basic understanding of the impeachment investigation underway in Congress.  Perhaps, however, you aren’t aware of the geopolitics that make President Trump’s shakedown of the Ukrainian Prime Minister far more egregious than is immediately apparent. The reputation of the United States as a reliable ally was already damaged by Trump’s behavior on the world stage but the latest revelations make his presidency untenable.

The basics of the impeachment have been reported as follows: President Trump called newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and asked for a ‘favor;’ that Ukraine investigate the activities of the son of former Vice-President Biden. His request was backed up by similar communications from officials in his administration.  Zelensky was well aware that hanging in the balance was Trump’s refusal to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine.  The obvious quid pro quo was that the aid would be delivered when the investigation was initiated.  What has not received as much attention is why it was in our national interest to support Ukraine militarily.

In February 2014, Russian forces entered the Ukrainian province of Crimea. After a sham referendum, the peninsula was formally annexed by Russia in March 2014 and has remained firmly in Russian control since that time. What receives less media coverage in the U.S., however, is that the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine has been the site of ongoing military conflict since immediately after the Crimean annexation. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers infiltrated the region, resulting in thousands of military and civilian casualties. Although there have been a number of ceasefires and Russian forces have established an ’independent’ government in the region, the situation remains tense with regular military engagements and the real possibility of a return to open warfare.

Since the beginning of Russian hostilities, the United States Congress has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid for Ukraine. These aid packages were in recognition of the important strategic position that Ukraine holds geopolitically. A strong and independent Ukraine is an integral component of our European strategy and representing U.S. interests in the region.

Conversely, Russia will go to great lengths to control territory, influence Ukrainian politics, and destabilize the nation to prevent it from strengthening its ties to the European Community and NATO.  Ukraine’s geographical position also makes it a key player in energy transmission, control of the Black Sea, and as a gateway to Eastern Europe. 

President Trump disregarded our vital national interest when he unilaterally decided to withhold Congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine. This action alone may have been grounds for impeachment but it became a certainty when evidence revealed that he did so in pursuit of information to be used against a political opponent.

We expect our leaders, and the President in particular, to put the interests of the nation ahead of their own political goals.  President Trump extorted the Ukrainian President to help win the 2020 election; he offered a deal of ‘arms for political dirt.’ Trump did not care that hanging in the balance was European security and our ally’s ability to defend itself against Russia. The only effective recourse for this breach of trust and duty is impeachment.

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.


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Randy Bekker said...

Call for the vote!

JD said...

I can see Mr. Shergill, like so many of the DNC elites, has bought into the neocon worldview. I am not defending Trump, possibly one of the most corrupt Presidents in history (it remains to be seen if he’ll beat out Harding for that title), but the key point here is that corruption in regards to foreign policy is pretty much par for the course in Washington. Or did Mr. Shergill sincerely not know that Biden’s son Hunter was appointed to the board of the Ukraine’s largest gas company, Burisma Holdings, not two days after the American backed overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian government. Or that the new Ukrainian Finance Minister was a former State Department official who achieved Ukrainian citizenship literally the day before becoming the new Finance Minister and the day after the overthrow? And it doesn’t stop there. I suggest Mr. Shergill read the piece I linked below by Joe Lauria that gives a pretty good summary of the recent history of corruption in American foreign policy, which is most certainly NOT party specific (as in, both the Democrats and Republicans are basically corrupt imperialists, and this is to say nothing of the long history of corruption in American foreign policy). However, the best bit comes from Mr. Lauria’s quote from former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali where he wrote:

“Coming from a developing country, I was trained extensively in international law and diplomacy and mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness.”

I’m not sure that, ever since Theodore Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach to foreign policy, we’ve ever actually used anything remotely resembling diplomacy. And maybe Mr. Shergill doesn’t care since he so clearly is more interested in “American interests” in Ukraine (he literally used the word “interest” four times, and each time it was more about ours than anyone else’s) rather than what the actual interests of the Ukrainian people might be (like maybe wanting imperial countries like the US and Russia to leave them the eff alone!). The people of the US really need to stop letting their fear of (or loyalty for, as the case may be) Trump blind them to the very real and very obvious greed and corruption of all of the political elites, regardless of whether or not there is a D or R after their name. Or the rest of the world will continue to hate us for the colonialists we clearly are.

Joe Lauria’s piece: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/09/26/what-isnt-mentioned-about-the-trump-ukraine-scandal-the-routine-corruption-of-us-foreign-policy/

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