Things aren't just rotten in Denmark
In late January of 2018, then–former vice president Joe Biden laughingly related a story about his 2016 visit to Ukraine. At the time, a Ukrainian prosecutor by the name of Victor Shokin was investigating corruption that touched on Biden's son Hunter's dealings with Burisma, a Cyprus-registered company operating in Kyiv that deals with energy exploration and production. They were paying Hunter in excess of $83,000 a month for his services as a board member. Hunter's exact duties are not known, but it is claimed that he "advised" the company, though he admittedly knew nothing about energy. However, he was the son of the American vice president.
Shokin had been instructed by then-Ukrainian president Petro Porshenko to abandon any further inquiries into Hunter's activities, since it could harm Ukraine's relations with the United States. Shokin instead pressed on.
As Biden tells the story, he was in Ukraine in 2016 and would be leaving in six hours. He was authorized to grant a billion dollars in U.S. government loan guarantees to Ukraine, but he said he would not provide the guarantees unless Shokin was fired before he left. Biden gleefully went on. "Well, son of a b----. He got fired."
On July 25, 2019, President Donald Trump called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to congratulate him on his party's success in the latest elections. During the course of a friendly conversation, Trump and Zelensky reflected upon the fact that both men were attempting to drain their respective swamps. In that vein, Trump asked a favor: could Zelensky look into the firing of prosecutor Shokin, which Biden had publicly boasted of, and the subsequent lack of investigation into Hunter's Burisma dealing? Zelensky readily agreed, recognizing the importance of a good personal relationship with the U.S. president. As a result of this phone call, Trump was impeached by a Nancy Pelosi–led House of Representatives.
In early 2022, according to a CNN interview, Zelensky asked the Biden administration "to personally say directly that we are going to accept you into the NATO alliance in a year or two or five, just say it directly and clearly, or just say no." Zelensky said, "And the response was very clear: 'You're not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.'" In fact, according to Reuters, December 9, 2021, "US President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Kyiv's bid to join NATO was in its own hands." If he wanted it, he was in.
All parties well understood that a Ukrainian membership in NATO was a deep, blood-red line for Putin. He simply would not tolerate it and would do anything he felt necessary to prevent it.
During late 2021 and early 2022, Biden's people spoke multiple times with the Chinese government, supposedly urging them to talk Putin out of an invasion of Ukraine. During those same talks, the U.S. maintained its falsely stated position that Ukraine was welcome to join NATO. The U.S. held no misconceptions that the Chinese would not pass these discussions along to the Kremlin.
How can this be seen as anything less than a direct provocation for Putin to invade? Biden even made a ridiculous public statement that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine would be okay.
To date, thousands of people have been killed, and more than two million people have fled Ukraine. According to U.N. figures, 549 civilian deaths and 957 injuries in Ukraine had been reported as of March 10. Twenty-six of those deaths were children.
So — Donald Trump asked a favor of Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate whether a Ukrainian prosecutor had been fired, at Joe Biden's demand, in order to get a billion dollars of loan guarantees from the government in which Biden was the vice president. That request to look for corruption led to impeachment for Trump. Joe Biden and his administration knowingly allowed, likely even encouraged Vladimir Putin to believe that they were all in on a Ukrainian NATO berth, thus ensuring Putin's invasion of Ukraine and thousands of deaths and likely billions in property damage.
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Marcellus uttered, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Well, Marcellus didn't have the faintest.
Image: Ben Stanfield.