It takes some time for outside people like myself to truly absorb the fact that nothing with respect to foreign policy happens in isolation. We are learning details, some just out today, that make clear that the problems rooted in Ukraine threaten more than Ukrainian stability. It threatens NATO’s stability and thus American security and policy interests worldwide.
First the transcripts.
Dr. Fiona Hill and Lt. Colonel Vindland testified last week. The transcripts were released today. The first striking detail from Vindland’s testimony include a word that should stun anyone, “Democrats”: From the L.A. Times:
He told lawmakers he had “no doubt” that Trump was asking for a “deliverable” from Zelensky — a public announcement about investigating Democrats — before Trump would agree to let the newly elected leader of a struggling democracy visit the White House.
“The demand was, in order to get the White House meeting, they had to deliver an investigation. That became clear as time progressed from how this thing unfolded,” he said.
“Investigating Democrats,” not limited to the Bidens?
Unless Vindland really meant “a couple Democrats” or “certain Democrats,” which is possible (though hard to imagine) it appears that the smear job was more open-ended. They wanted to dirty-up the entire Democratic party under threat that Ukraine won’t get its meeting. This goes beyond the aid money.
Fiona Hill testified to a blow-up meeting in June in which Ambassador Sondland declared that Trump put Sondland in charge of the entire Ukrainian matter. The announcement came as news to the people who thought they were in charge, or would otherwise normally be involved.
Hill then dropped a real bombshell, that the matter had gone so far as to include “death threats.”
Hill said she and other foreign service officers had been subject to similar vitriol. She described receiving death threats, phone calls and unsolicited door knocks at her home after joining the National Security Council, and said she was “furious” to see Yovanovitch targeted and intimidated.
She said Yovanovitch, who had pushed Ukraine to crack down on corruption, had “been subject to a pretty ruthless, nasty defamation” campaign.
Nothing about U.S. policy should ever involve death threats to anyone, American or otherwise. If the testimony is verified, the urgency of all this just went through the roof. How can any American threaten another American’s life over “foreign policy”? If and when the public hears the direct testimony from someone who experienced “death threats,” everyone will sense something is very wrong. Even Republican officials in DC will almost have to demand that “everything” be examined.
Meanwhile, tying this to world security, Ned Price, a former CIA official and national security councilman, told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that since 2014 Ukraine has come “under threat from an increasingly assertive Moscow,” except this is not the Cold War, but an ongoing and active conflict.
“The other way you can think about this, Ali, is going beyond Ukraine and remembering that Ukraine is a front line state,” said Price. “If Ukraine did not have the resources to defend itself, that would be seen as a green light to Vladimir Putin, not to push further into Ukraine but to look into places like Georgia and catastrophically for us to take aim at our Nato allies. It is catastrophic for us.
NATO allies all subscribe to Article 5 of the NATO treaty. That would suggest if Moscow is aggressive towards them, the United States NATO would call to defend one of our allies up to and include in a military form. It is not only abusive power. It is not only improper. It is actually a national security threat that President Trump subjected us to, in a sense.”
This is how it ripples.
We are going to hear just a ton of stuff about the “Deep State,” that none of this is true, and to the extent that any of it is true, it’s nothing more than “globalists” trying to wrestle control of U.S. foreign policy. The defense will have to evolve as fast as the facts dictate. But very few will doubt that if there was a legitimate move to alter any agenda, even a “globalist agenda,” it should all have been out in the open, not emerging through details in a probe of “corruption” in Ukraine.
This is horrible. We knew that the U.S.’s reputation was on the line throughout the world. Now it is being described as a fundamental threat to overall U.S. security. Republicans will be increasingly backed further into a corner. It is not simply a procedural problem. It is not just the Bidens. It isn’t even just “Democrats.” This goes well beyond any original claim, including “get over it.” One doesn’t “get over” death threats easily, nor having to justify destabilizing NATO relations and U.S. security.
We haven’t had a public hearing, yet. It may well come to a point where those public meetings open a can of worms that nobody wants to see, not too closely anyway.
Absorption comes in steps.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter:@MiciakZoom