THE COLUMN: Why Are We In Ukraine?

By now, it's a commonplace to observe that, in accordance with Conquest's Third Law of Politics, our country is ruled by a cabal of her enemies. The brief Trump interregnum between 24 years of Clinton/Bush/Obama—in retrospect, nearly indistinguishable in the havoc each wreaked on the United States—and now the first term of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., is barely a blip on the radar screen of Progressivism. As Mark Antony observes during Caesar's funeral oration: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Welcome to the boneyard of America.

This is, alas, true regardless of whether the men themselves were of good character. Clinton wasn't, Bush more or less was, Obama isn't, and Biden is one of the worst men ever to assume the presidency: a bully, a liar, a plagiarist, a mediocrity and, at this stage of his senescence, a clear and present danger. As for Trump, no one ever mistook him for a secular saint, and indeed he was brought down and done in by his own manifest personal imperfections, poor personnel choices, and chronic inability to control his self-destructive solipsistic nature. But in Trump's case the good he did has already been interred with the bones of his presidency, and we are now left at the mercy of a vengeful Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party determined to bring us to heel and ruination.

Case in point: the Ukraine. Back in 1965, an accidental president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, hit upon the brilliant idea of fully involving the U.S. in a pointless war in Vietnam and southeast Asia. Nobody wanted this war. "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong," observed Muhammad Ali around that time, upon learning that his vengeful draft board had just reclassified the heavyweight champion of the world from 1-Y (qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency) to 1-A. Most Americans agreed with him. LBJ, however, didn't care. We had to save Asian boys from the consequences of their imported Gallic laziness and martial impotence.

What a steaming pile of Texas codswallop that was, and even those of us who were in high school at the time knew it. But thus began the Forever Wars, the latest incarnation of which is currently being held in Kiev, Ukraine, formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Although it's in a war zone, the manifest lack of danger to visiting American politicians and aging rock stars is quite obvious, as Jill Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and even Mitch McConnell have all showed up in party attire to what's supposed to be a live-fire zone, to take in the sights and perhaps enjoy a few golden oldies. Cui bono, or should I say cui Bono? As the playwright David Mamet notes in his new book, Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch: "When all politicians are agreed, someone is getting bought off."

This would be the same Ukraine whose dirty fingerprints are all over every significant scandal of the past several years, including the odiferous Burisma deal with the Biden family, as well as various electoral shenanigans in which prominent members of the amoral establishment political-consulting class have been involved up to their eyeballs, including David "Jake Lingle" Axelrod, Steve Schmidt, Mark Penn, Paul Begala, and Paul Manafort. As U.S. News noted in 2014:

Manafort isn’t alone in plying his trade in the former Soviet republic; as the Times noted in 2007, former Bill Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg was working for Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yushchenko, as were GOP operatives Steve Schmidt and Neil Newhouse. By the 2010 presidential campaign, the Times reported, Yuschenko had retained another former Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, while then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had hired David Axelrod’s old firm, AKPD Media. (It’s a small world after all: Schmidt would go on to manage John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign against AKPD client Barack Obama; Newhouse would in 2012 poll for long-time client Mitt Romney in his presidential bid.)

The U.S.-Ukraine political nexus hasn’t just involved campaign work. As Reuters’ Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel reported last December, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, “a Brussels-based organization sympathetic to [Yanukovych] and his political party” had paid nearly $1.5 million over the preceding two years to the firms of lobbying heavyweights like Republican former Reps. Vin Weber and Billy Tauzin and Democrat Anthony Podesta (whose brother John is a senior counselor in the White House). Where the Centre gets its funding is unclear, Reuters reported: “In a filing with the European Union, the group listed its budget for the financial year ending in November as 10,000 euros, or about $14,000 – a fraction of the $1.46 million it paid the Washington lobbyists.”

It's also the birthplace of Alexander Vindman, the professional rat fink who was one of the central figures in the bogus first impeachment of Donald Trump, which was occasioned by Trump's raising the issue of the Biden family's involvement in the Ukrainian financial sewer system:

I was a 44-year-old U.S. Army lieutenant colonel assigned to a position equivalent to that of a two-star general, three levels above my rank. Since July 2018, I’d been at the National Security Council, serving as the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia. Recently, deep concerns had been growing throughout the U.S. foreign-policy community regarding two of the countries I was responsible for. We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement toward Russia. But now there were new, rapidly emerging worries. This time the issue was the president’s inexplicable hostility toward a U.S. partner crucial to our Russia strategy: Ukraine.

"Our" Russia strategy"? Easy enough for a guy born in Kiev to say. And "inexplicable" only if you're rooting for the other side. But if like all of the Democrats and at least half the Republicans in Congress you're on the bipartisan team Gravy Train, elbow deep in the one supply chain—the military-industrial complex's arms-procurement racket— that's working just fine, you're sitting pretty while real Americans suffer. After all, nothing's too good for keyboard whiz Volodymyr Zelensky and Plucky Little Ukraine, so the hell with your baby formula.

True, the latest money-laundering bill to emerge from Maerose Prizzi and Yertle the Turtle's congress is temporarily on hold because that skunk at the garden party, Rand Paul, refused to make unanimous this latest looting of the American treasury:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul defied leaders of both parties Thursday and delayed until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine and its allies withstand Russia's three-month old invasion. With the Senate poised to debate and vote on the package of military and economic aid, Paul denied leaders the unanimous agreement they needed to proceed. The bipartisan measure, backed by President Joe Biden, underscores U.S. determination to reinforce its support for Ukraine's outnumbered forces.

The legislation has been approved overwhelmingly by the House and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Final passage is not in doubt.

Of course it's not. Why would it be? From LBJ's Vietnam to Bush pere et fils' unfathomable obsession with Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Establishment's newfound fealty to the Ukraine and its roundheeled banks and politicians, and their proxy war with Russia, Americans of my generation have hardly known a moment's peace. And for what? No bono here: the nation's economy is shot, its infrastructure's a joke, its military can't fight, its police are hamstrung in the face of decriminalized crime, its institutions are all under assault by the demon spawn of the Frankfurt School, and its domestic tranquility has been torn asunder.

Instead of listening to Johnson, we should have listened to a far greater president, the man who won the war in Europe, and one of the finest military/logistical minds this country has ever produced. Naturally, in his day, he was scorned by the Democrats as "stupid" and "inarticulate," just as pretty much every Republican president elected since has been. But hear him out:

All class, and not bad from a poor kid from Abilene, Kansas. Ike's gift was a clear-eyed assessment of reality, an understanding of his enemies, and the willpower to get the job done. He, better than most of his contemporaries, grasped the rapid increase in technological change and its unholy partnership with the federal government occasioned by World War II. "Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields." But even with (and perhaps due to) his long years of military service, beginning at West Point and ending as Commander-in-Chief, he was under no illusions about the dangers of such a partnership ahead:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction... American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions... This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience... Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications....

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The ancient Romans had a stricture against keeping legions under arms in the Italian heartland. It was Caesar's defiance of this edict in 49 B.C. when he crossed the Rubicon with the Thirteenth Legion and headed for Rome, that ultimately spelled the end of the Republic and the descent into civil war. Now here we are, being driven toward war with Vladimir Putin's Russia by a relentless military-industrial propaganda campaign organized by a corrupt gerontocracy in command of our armed forces in support of a dubious cause, for absolutely no good reason of state. 

What are we going to do about it?

Our 'Comprehensive' Political-Media Complex

Liberals are always banging on about "comprehensive" solutions to this or that generally non-existent problem. "Comprehensiveness" appeals to their innate control-freakism, their passion for "settled" issues (such as science, or abortion), their faith in a priestly class of secular experts to guide the unwashed, and most of all their desire to supervise both their surroundings and their fellow man. The 20th century was filled with such examples, from Mussolini's Fascism to Hitler's National Socialism, to Marxist-Leninism and Stalinist Communism, to Maoism in China. The death tolls ran into the many, many millions, but so what? Comprehensiveness doesn't come either cheap or easy. After all, another word for "comprehensive" is "totalitarian."

That their "comprehensive" solution to the largely illusory "problem" of "climate change" would destroy the legacy of Western technological civilization from the Industrial Revolution to the present is of no moment to them since they, personally, would not suffer in the slightest. Like the nomenklatura of the old Soviet Union, they exempt themselves from the more onerous strictures they've prescribed for the hoi polloi. After all, what good are private jets and beachfront property if you can't use and enjoy them?

The masses, however, are still stubbornly refusing to cooperate. So it has been with unutterable joy that the international Left has greeted the timely arrival of the coronavirus as a wedge with which to crack open the commoners' resistance to their desired "new normal," a world that will make the human ant farm that is China look like Texas by comparison.

Behold the once-respectable British magazine, The Economist, which like most other formerly journalistic organizations in Britain, Europe, and the U.S., has gone all in for the Brave New World in which the citizenry sacrifices liberty for safety and the slaves thank their masters for taking care of them:

"The first law of Ecology,” as the environmentalist Barry Commoner put it some five decades ago, is that “Everything Is Connected With Everything Else”. That is particularly true of global warming. It ties together almost all of the world’s means of transport, manufacture and growth; its buried geological past and its melting Arctic ice. Like the covid-19 pandemic, climate change is a global problem. They both feed a sense of unease by being the result of everyday human behaviour at the same time as being propelled by unbiddable forces supremely indifferent to humanity. The responses to both require levels of co-operation that governments find hard. To help readers appreciate these challenges, The Economist is running a series of six weekly climate briefs alongside its extensive covid-19 coverage. The first looks at the politics of climate change. Other themes include climate science, carbon cycles and the energy transition.

"The first looks at the politics of climate change." Of course it does: to a thoroughly politicized media, everything is a political issue. Newspapers and magazines once had dedicated science and medical beat reporters with backgrounds in the fields they were covering. Like the arts, the science beats was not the province of general-assignment reporters but of specialists: sending City Hall reporters to cover the opera or the latest developments in vaccines would have been unthinkable. Not, that is, if the publication wanted to retain any credibility with its readers.

Today, everything is political. At the root of every story concerning just about anything is this fundamental premise: how will this affect the next election? In the current climate, this has been expanded to: how can we use this to destroy Trump/conservatives/the Republicans/Christians/white men/other enemies of the people? Just yesterday, The New York Times essentially awarded itself a Pulitzer Prize for its bogus "1619 Project," a thoroughly dishonest piece of crude cultural-Marxist clickbait masquerading as resentful historical revisionism whose central thesis was that the preservation of African slavery was the principal reason for the American Revolution.

As it was designed to do, The New York Times’ woefully mistaken 1619 Project just won a Pulitzer Prize. Worse, the award for commentary actually went to Nikole Hannah-Jones for her essay introducing the series — that is, to the article that brought the most sustained criticism from historians across the spectrum for its naked errors of fact.

The project’s central conceit is that “out of slavery grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system.” Hannah-Jones even argued that the main reason American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery — a claim so contrary to the truth that the Times eventually corrected that part of her essay, though only to add two words: Now it says “some of” the founders fought chiefly for that reason.

Apparently, willful error can now win you the most elite prize in journalism.

Ah, but facts don't matter any more -- and, minus facts, it's easy to win journalism's equivalent of an Oscar. Post-modernist "facts" are mere constructs, to be manipulated by the media for partisan political advantage. Never mind that slavery was far from the animating principle behind the Founders' desire for personal and political freedom. Never mind that Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant puts their careers and lives on the line to free black Americans, and that Lincoln died for it. Never mind that the "climate" has changed, and will continue to change, countless times. And never mind that prior to this year, a severe but still minor virus like Wuhan, never shut down those very industries the Greens wish to destroy. 

What a coincidence. And how convenient that the tightening "comprehensive solutions" to the waning coronavirus panic/pandemic should be exactly the same as the comprehensive solutions to "global warming." And how wonderful that the formerly adversarial media has become such a willing mouthpiece for governments everywhere.

In his farewell address, President Eisenhower -- the supreme Allied commander in World War II -- famously warned of the "military-industrial" complex that even by 1961, when he left office, had wrapped the Pentagon's tentacles around the institutions of government. Today, we might more aptly worry about the political-media complex, abetted by the tech companies, that comprehensively controls the means of discussion, and wants to make damn sure that you never realize it.