The kerfuffle over President Trump’s phone call to recently elected, reform-minded Ukrainian President Zelensky, has, as usual obfuscated reality. Although there is no question that the call took place, the way in which it is contextualized misses the mark: the media claims that Trump is guilty of using a foreign leader to advance his own personal agenda, while also alleging, but not explaining, how this call ‘puts America’s national security at risk’. It’s difficult to see how claiming it was Ukraine and not Russia that ‘interfered in our democracy’, i.e.,the 2016 presidential election, has anything to do with America’s current security.
By temporarily withholding weapons from Ukraine, President Trump arguably made it more difficult for that country to defend itself over what the US media calls ‘a Russian invasion’ (Russia says that it is merely assisting the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of the Donbas in their struggle against a neo-fascist central government which was installed by the US in 2014, after it fomented a ‘revolution’ against the former, pro-Russian President. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine an invasion that would not have seen Russian troops in Kiev in a matter of hours. And the US press admits that Trump’s blackmailing of Zelensky was about soliciting so-called ‘dirt’ on the man who is expected to challenge him next year.
Here’s the explanation: Since his election in 2016, Trump has been accused of ‘cozying up to dictators’, (on good days, ‘authoritarians’), especially Vladimir Putin. That penchant is considered a mortal sin, yet we are never told why it is unpatriotic for the US president to pursue friendly relations with the President of the other massively nuclear-armed nation. The answer is that he has access to a cornucopia of vital minerals, in addition to the oft-mentioned oil and gas. What nobody EVER talks about is the fact that under President Clinton, the US adopted a Security Doctrine drafted by a Deputy Secretary of Defense named Paul Wolfowitz, which stated that:
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.
That draft having been widely criticized for being too candid, it was amended thus:
Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source… The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the re-nationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.
Subsequent presidents have produced their own National Security Doctrines, however NONE have modified this basic principle: the US’s foreign policy must be based on the overriding objective of remaining top dog.
Clearly, there are two threats to America’s position as ‘indispensable nation’: China challenges US economic hegemony, while Russia sits on all those minerals. In a 2007 speech to the Munich Security Conference, after seven years in office, President Putin declared that he would no longer wait for the US to accept Russia as an equal partner. Why is this crucial? Because in a 1999 agreement between President Bush and former President of the Supreme Soviet Mikhail Gorbachev, it the later would agree to the reunification of a then divided Germany, NATO forces would not move ‘one inch’ beyond that country’s eastern border.
In flagrant violation of that agreement, whose text is available in the State Department’s on-line archive, the very next year, not only did the former East Germany become part of NATO by being reunited with German Federal Republic: All the countries of Eastern Europe through which Russia has historically been invaded, were successively welcomed into NATO as they were accepted into the EU.
By 2017 NATO tanks reached the Russian border, where, with no publicity, they have been sitting ever since, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. (Picture Russian tanks sitting on America’s borders with Canada and Mexico…)
During the 2016 presidential campaign, the prim and proper Hillary Clinton made no secret of her intention to ‘rein in’ the Russian President, while Donald Trump, who bragged about petting beauty contestants, repeatedly made clear his intention to work with Moscow.
As soon as Russiagate erupted (the Russians ‘interfered in our democracy’ via the internet!) his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow were presented as un-American. (According to a very recent leak, Trump told the Russian ambassador at the time of his election that he was not worried about accusations of Russian interference ‘because we do it all the time’. (Current Secretary of State Pompeo recently confessed laughingly that the US routinely indulges in a gamut of dirty tricks, but that doesn’t prevent the press from accusing the president of being un-American — or whatever.)
The first three years of the Trump Presidency have been dominated by an incredibly convoluted — and expensive! —government investigation into Russian election interference, however, the conclusions of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller failed to find the president guilty of collaboration with the ‘enemy’. Perhaps buoyed by this result, Trump found nothing better to do than call the newly elected President of Ukraine, the former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, to ask him to investigate the actions of former Vice-President Joe Biden, whom the Democratic Party is promoting as its 2020 candidate. As I verified while writing my book ‘Russia’s Americans’, at the time when Biden was Obama’s point man for the Ukraine (following the US-engineered overthrow of the elected president of that country), Biden’s son Hunter was awarded a seat in a Ukrainian oligarch’s energy company, known as Burisma. It occured to me at the time that this was rather shocking, but apparently, the powers that be thought nothing of it at the time.
Not until the pre-2020 election season did President Trump decide to smear his presumed opponent for his son’s involvement in a private Ukrainian gas company. The press pointed out that Hunter Biden had no knowledge of Ukraine, however only one source noted that by offering American technical expertise, he and his associates obtained access to Burisma’s considerable oil fields. The press continues to yell about Hunter’s $50,000 a month salary, but fails to explain how Trump’s interest in the Bidens puts our national security at risk.
No one has pointed out that given its standoff with Russia over Crimea and the Donbas, Ukraine had no reason to help a pro-Russian American to enter the White House. However, after a whistle-blower revealed Trump’s conversations with Zelensky, we learned that aside from holding up weapons deliveries to Ukraine, Trump revived an obscure claim that it wasn’t Moscow that interfered in the 2016 election, but Kiev. The young, new president is unlikely to be able to confirm what happened in 2016, but what is highly relevant is the fact that in that conversation, Trump quietly opined that “Crimea is what it is” followed by ‘I hope you (Russia and Ukraine) can work things out.’
There you have the reason why Donald Trump is being impeached: not because he is a gangster, but because he is sticking by his original refusal to see Russia as an enemy, betraying the still very relevant Wolfowitz Doctrine.
Deena Stryker is a US-born international expert, author and journalist that lived in Eastern and Western Europe and has been writing about the big picture for 50 years. Over the years she penned a number of books, including Russia’s Americans. Her essays can also be found at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.