SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. – The man who played a president on television is today facing threats to his life and…...
The irony here is that he may not know it and, certainly, helping Ukraine is not his intention. There is…...
Ukraine’s relationship with its diaspora over the last almost 30 years has been manifestly positive, yet tangibly troubling. Meetings have been held on the highest levels, honors and trinkets bestowed, even joint efforts made in observances, celebrations and remembrances. Diaspora representatives have served in the government of Ukraine with some latitude as to legal requirements and limitations for such service.
I admit that I was provoked or encouraged by recent events in the United States. However, my observations apply to more than one country and transcend simple party politics. Cost cutting and small government Republicans have driven the national debt to an all-time high and progressive Democrats have totally changed colors on foreign policy in this case for the better. America is upside down. But so is the world. The Pope proclaims that women may read in Church but not serve as priests. For that he is applauded. How generous and progressive!
Mine is neither a lamentation nor a condemnation. It is simply an observation. Whether it’s a conclusion of good or bad depends on one’s perspective. The question is what role does ideology or principle play in politics today. The answer is a very small one, at best. This is not an American phenomenon.
The criminal political trial of Ukrainian historian and dissident Valentyn Moroz was taking place on November 17, 1970. Several dissidents were called by the Soviet government to testify for the prosecution against the defendant. Among them was the dissident Shestydesiatnyk artist Alla Horska. Alla refused to testify, as did the others. Nevertheless, with no evidence, which was not a problem in Soviet trials, Valentyn Moroz was convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda and sentenced to 14 years.
On November 28, 1970, Alla traveled to the village of Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region near the city of Fastiv to the home of her father-in-law to pick up a sewing machine. She did not return home. Her husband Viktor Zaretsky panicked and went after her the following day. The house in Vasylkiv was locked. The police declined to allow forcible entry. That same day, Mr. Zaretsky’s father was found decapitated near the tracks at the nearby Fastiv train station.
The Pentagon recently announced that at the request of the Polish government more U.S. troops would be deployed to Poland and at the request of Ukraine’s government more military assistance would be rendered to Ukraine, including missiles, radar equipment as well as more joint military exercises. All of these are positive steps in the European and U.S. relationship. What is missing in these recent announcements by the currently rudderless Pentagon has been in fact on the table since the Bucharest Summit in 2008.
During his most recent visit to the United Kingdom, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy raised this issue once again. Ukraine needs a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for NATO. In 2008 the U.S. under President George W. Bush was prepared to make that happen. It was stymied by France and Germany, two historically Russia-friendly states. Eight months later in Brussels the issue was a mere mention in the final communique. Since then there has been an unnerving quiet.
The severely criticized decision rendered on October 27 by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine that declared certain provisions of Ukraine’s anti-corruption legislation unconstitutional and the impetuous reaction thereto of the president of Ukraine, who introduced legislation to dissolve the entire Constitutional Court, created a needless constitutional crisis of international proportions in Ukraine.
This crisis further destabilizes Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against the vicious military aggression from the Russian Federation that has been ongoing for over six consecutive years and as it tries to contain the number of new COVID-19 cases, which now surpass 12,000 in a single day.
During the last weekend of the summer, my wife Eva and I traveled to Rehoboth Beach, Del., where, by chance, sitting on the sand next to us was a couple speaking Polish. Since Eva and I speak Polish, we struck up a conversation and found much to talk about – travels in Europe, books and culture. Jan and Beata came to the U.S. in the early 1980s, became U.S. citizens and found good employment with the U.S. government as scientists. Before they came to the U.S., they lived in Socialist Poland. Inevitably the conversation drifted to politics and Donald Trump. In no time, they made it known how much they loathed him as a person. Mixing colorful Polish expletives, they thought he is a vulgar boor whose behavior is outlandish, who lacks the diplomatic skills essential for a president of a superpower.
“I like Putin and he likes me” – these exact words were spoken by U.S. President Donald D. Trump on September 21, at a meeting with voters in Ohio. This meeting was not the first time for such a remark. Such remarks have been heard from Mr. Trump since his 2016 election campaign. They explain his behavior toward Vladimir Putin and Russia during the past 20 years, even when he was just a businessman trying to build his Trump Tower in Moscow. A deeper analysis of Mr. Trump’s state of mind is probably not necessary. His own sister has said that he thinks only of himself and his personal affairs, and is guided by nothing else.
When between 2016-2017 I was serving as special advisor to the prosecutor general of Ukraine, I would tell everyone at the Prosecutor General’s Office who would listen, and even to those who didn’t want to listen, that a high level of rule of law was absolutely essential for proper development by any complex modern society, including, of course, Ukraine. As applied to prosecutors, rule of law meant the fair, principled and neutral administration of the law. This meant treating every case or possible case similarly, regardless of who the potential or actual defendants might be and, of course, maintaining a clear divide between politics and the administration of justice.
Because I had already served as a federal prosecutor for over 20 years, I used examples from my own experience and more broadly from U.S. Justice Department (“DOJ”) rules and practice to explain how the prosecutor general or any Ukrainian prosecutor should conduct him/herself to be in concert with rule of law principles. I am glad that I am not in Ukraine now because I would repeatedly be wiping egg off of my face.
Joe Biden has a history of failed races for president, having run in 1988 and gotten two delegates and in 2008, when he dropped out after a fifth-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses with less than 1 percent of the vote. Yet, today Mr. Biden is the Democratic Party’s nominee after all other contenders incredibly withdrew just before “Super Tuesday.” Did Mr. Biden make a Faustian bargain with the extreme radical left of what once was the Democratic Party?
This is not conjecture – read the 110-page “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations,” a socialist manifesto that Mr. Biden signed with Sen. Sanders, the successor to another failed “Socialist Democrat” for president, Eugene V. Debs. The Biden-Sanders manifesto is every bit as radical as Mr. Sanders wanted. In May, Mr. Biden vowed that he wants “not just to rebuild the economy, but to transform it.” (The Wall Street Journal, “The Biden-Sanders Manifesto,” July 30). The world has seen what a “transformed economy” looks like in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Ukrainians in the United States and elsewhere have much in common with African Americans. We can learn a lot about their shared struggle by comparing African American and Ukrainian history.
African American history in America
For over 350 years Black people endured the cruelty of slavery, racism and Jim Crow laws in America. Historians have estimated that of the over 10 million Africans that fell victim to the slave trade, between 300,000 and 400,000 were brought to the United States during the 17th and 18th centuries. One source points out that, outside of the traditional count of the slave trade, an additional 500,000 Africans also came against their will, under compulsion or duress, as indentured servants, or perished en route to America. Taken together, as many as 900,000 Africans were forced in a variety of ways to come to the United States, or perished along the way.