Moon of Alabama – Nov 14, 2019
NBC News is not impressed by the first day of the Democrats’ impeachment circus. But it fails to note what the conflict is really about:
It was substantive, but it wasn’t dramatic.
In the reserved manner of veteran diplomats with Harvard degrees, Bill Taylor and George Kent opened the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday by bearing witness to a scheme they described as not only wildly unorthodox but also in direct contravention of U.S. interests.
“It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression,” Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in explaining why Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to the most immediate target of Russian expansionism didn’t align with U.S. policy.
But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical.
“In direct contravention of U.S. interests” says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares “it is clearly in our national interest” to give weapons to Ukraine.
But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such?
President Obama was against giving weapons to Ukraine and never transferred any to Ukraine despite pressure from certain circles. Was Obama’s decision against U.S. national interest? Where are the Democrats or deep state members accusing him of that?
Which brings us to the really critical point of the whole issue. Who defines what is in the “national interest” with regards to foreign policy? Here is a point where for once I agree with the right-wingers at the National Review where Andrew McCarthy writes:
[O]n the critical matter of America’s interests in the Russia/Ukraine dynamic, I think the policy community is right, and President Trump is wrong. If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin’s anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions.
But you see, much like the policy community, I am not president. Donald Trump is.
And that’s where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him — not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts — in charge of making policy. If we’re to remain a constitutional republic, that’s how it has to stay.
We have made the very same point:
The U.S. constitution “empowers the President of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements between the United States and other countries.”
The constitution does not empower the “U.S. government policy community”, nor “the administration”, nor the “consensus view of the interagency” and certainly not one Lt.Col. Vindman to define the strategic interests of the United States and its foreign policy. It is the duly elected president who does that.
The president does not like how the ‘American policy’ on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He had stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign and won the election. It is not ‘malign influence’ that makes him try to have good relations with Russia. It is his own conviction and legitimized by the voters.
[I]t is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve “at his pleasure” are there to implement them.
There is another point that has to be made about the NBC’s assertions. It is not in the interest of Ukraine to be a proxy for U.S. deep state antagonism towards Russia. Robber baron Igor Kolomoisky, who after the Maidan coup had financed the west-Ukrainian fascists who fought against east-Ukraine, says so directly in his recent NYT interview: