Bombs rain down on Kiev, America gets ready for Putin's wrath, and Hunter Biden enjoys his money

It finally happened, and everyone should have seen it coming: Russian bombs are now raining down on Kiev — and Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Mariupol — making Ukraine a full-blown war zone with reports of civilian and military casualties piling up.

Long lines of cars are streaming out of the country.  Russian troops are pouring in from multiple directions.  Ukrainians with kids are hiding in basements.  Missiles are raining down.  Back in Moscow, long lines are streaming at banks as desperate locals seek to get their money out before it's devalued to nothing, frozen in sanctions, or otherwise expropriated.  Cyber-attacks are taking down Ukrainian government websites.  Attacks on the electrical grid are expected.  It's all-out warfare as Russia's Vladimir Putin seeks to conquer and annex the country, which he sees as entirely Russian, the righting of a wrong, as well as the command of geography.  It's a partial truth that has no consent from the westward-leaning Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian president's sad realization of what was happening after upbraiding the West for its panicked warnings is pathetic.  He's now begging for arms.  He's begging for help from the United Nations.  He's calling the reserves (he needs to be calling the regulars at this point).  He ought to have been prepared to play dirty with Russia — counter-cyber-attacks, terror attacks inside Russia, illegal alien warfare, and other poor man's war tactics — because he's fighting an invading nuclear Russia that is playing for keeps.  And what's really bad — as the West hand-wrings and upbraids Russia — is that Ukraine is fighting this alone.

This tweet by Katya Yushchenko, the wife of a former Ukraine president who had been poisoned earlier, likely by Russia-linked interests, tells us the root of the tragedy:

They begged and couldn't get in.

Why the heck wasn't Ukraine made a member of NATO if protecting Ukraine was as important to the West as it now claims?  Without that membership, Ukraine was a sitting duck.  Surely, some ace strategist at the NSC should have noticed this.  With enfeebled Joe Biden in power and his wokester military leadership demonstrating their chops for war in the disastrous Afghanistan pullout (which made the USSR's 1989 Afghanistan pullout look good in comparison), Putin knew that the window of opportunity was right now.

The U.S. claimed that it supported the membership, dating from 2008, but Germany, a country that doesn't live up to its promised military spending on NATO, reportedly was the power that vetoed it.  U.S. support was lip service, though, since the U.S. didn't do anything other than talk about it.  Deadbeat Germany ought to have been easy to muscle into changing its stance, given that it wasn't pulling its NATO weight, but Democrats like Joe Biden and Barack Obama were too busy gushing their admiration for socialistic German chancellor Angela Merkel and waving through the NordStream 2 pipeline from Russia so that Germany could scrap its nuclear plants; put in inefficient, unsustainable green energy; and still get real energy from Russia on the side. 

Worse still, this unresolved conflict on NATO membership left Ukraine hanging.  Vladimir Putin's original demand was for the West and Ukraine to guarantee no NATO membership.  That would have made Ukraine neutral, like Austria or Finland, which is a compromise, an imperfect solution, but a workable arrangement if history is any indicator.  Austria and Finland have been pretty well placed for the region in keeping the peace with paranoid Russia, and there have been no problems.  If NATO couldn't agree to make Ukraine a member, it ought to have gone the neutrality route to keep Putin from the door.

As Daniel Davis wrote two days ago in 1945:

Ignore these realities by stubbornly clinging to the fiction NATO’s door remains open to Kyiv, and the U.S.  will likely reap rotten fruit: potentially tens of thousands of Ukrainian people dying in an avoidable war, NATO security damaged — and regardless of which choice NATO makes, Ukraine will remain outside of NATO.

The West at large is trying every diplomatic way imaginable to avoid compromising on any of its baseline positions and refusing to grant Putin any of his key demands (which are no NATO membership for Ukraine, a return to 1997 security lines, and no intermediate- or short-range missiles near Russian borders). NATO prefers to resolve the crisis in a way that results in Putin standing down his military buildup, preserves the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and keeps the door open to future NATO aspirants.

Now the results speak for themselves.

The West is talking about the whole thing as if it's an attack on NATO, but acting like this is only Ukraine's problem, not their own.  Putin has made threatening noises to Poland and the Baltics.  Finland has signaled that it now wants to apply for NATO membership.  It doesn't seem as though it's all going to end with Kiev.  And Putin was very, very specific about what would happen to the West if it tried to stop Russia from taking Ukraine: "Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history."  There may be more to this than just Ukraine.  High oil prices for America and electrical power grid attacks may be in the works for us.  And it may well be that Putin is talking nukes.

What was at the root of Germany's opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine?

That Ukraine was just too corrupt to be allowed into the alliance.

Yes, the place was corrupt.  In 2021, it ranked a lowly 122 out of 180 countries evaluated by Transparency International in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index.

Transparency International added this for perspective:

The African state of Eswatini (Swaziland) is next to Ukraine, also having scored 32 points [out of 100]. Zambia, Nepal, Egypt, the Philippines, and Algeria are one point ahead — all with 33 points each.

Germany said Ukraine was too corrupt to be in NATO.

But it takes two to tango on corruption. Did it help that Germany's opposition was accompanied by the odd fact that former chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder was the power behind the NordStream 2 pipeline?  The guy was a leftist, not an oilman, yet somehow he got that well-paid job from the Russians.

It wasn't just Schroeder who was on the other side of the Ukraine corruption equation.  There also was Joe Biden — and, more specifically, Hunter Biden.

Via Instapundit, Austin Bay of StrategyPage has some cogent observations about what Hunter Biden's seat on the Burisma board meant for Ukraine, which desperately needed that seat at NATO:

The Ukrainian government contends the Russian-backed war in its Donbas region prevents it from effectively pursuing economic and political reform. The war slows reform, but since 2015 many Western creditors disagree argue Ukraine hasn't treated corruption as the grave security vulnerability it is.

Why? Fair question. U.S. government and media preach reform — but there is increasing evidence that U.S. leaders and institutions don't practice what they preach.

Earlier this month John Solomon, reporting in "Just The News," analyzed State Department emails obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.

One email, written on Nov. 22, 2016, by former U.S. embassy official George Kent, was particularly chilling. It directly contradicted mainstream media reports in 2020 and public testimony by U.S. officials that "insisted Hunter Biden's lucrative job with the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings ... had no impact on U.S. efforts to fight corruption in that country."

Solomon reported that in 2016 State Department officials in Ukraine told Washington "that Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine 'undercut' U.S. efforts to fight corruption in the former Soviet republic."

Kent included this guidance: "The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter's presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine."

Kent added: "Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior, with the (Biden) family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules in the oil/gas sector."

Hunter Biden's blatant corruption and hypocrisy had and still have real world strategic and national security costs. If defending Ukraine is a U.S. security interest, American participation in corruption undermines our security efforts. Hunter Biden was hindering Ukraine's warfighting and corruption-fighting effort.

So Hunter Biden's need to take baksheesh undercut U.S. security interests, left Ukraine a corruption-soaked mess unfit for NATO membership, and opened the gates wide for Russia to move in on Ukraine.  Ukraine was too corrupt to be a member of NATO, yet Western interests were knee-deep in perpetrating that corruption and reaping big dollars for themselves.

Way to go, Joe.  Biden family corruption was one of many reasons why Ukraine couldn't get into NATO and secure the Article 5 protections it needed to deter Russia.  Now it's fighting alone and hoping it can defeat the Russian juggernaut, which is only just beginning.  Whether Putin intends to stop just there is anyone's guess.  He's not in a friendly mood right now and has the wherewithal to use his oil earnings to wreak untold havoc on the West.  Is Hunter enjoying his money now?  We know that no prosecutor seems to be able to stop him.

We hope Joe and Hunter are proud of themselves.  This is a war they made possible as they helped themselves to the goodies.

Image: Alerta News24 Twitter screen shot.

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