How Trump Betrayed A Democracy Under Attack By Russia
For centuries, Ukraine was the crown jewel of the Russian and Soviet Empires. Ukraine was the bread basket of Russia and the USSR and contained many valuable natural resources. During the 20th century, Ukraine was also a valuable industrial base for Russia and the USSR. That’s why the Germans targeted Ukraine for invasion in both World War I and II. Millions of Russian soldiers died defending this region in both world wars.
Since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, there has been a tug of war between Russia and the EU and NATO over Ukraine’s alignment. Vladimir Putin deeply resented the loss of Eastern Europe to NATO and he has done everything he can to keep a former part of Russia and the USSR in his orbit.
In 2004, Ukraine for the first time elected a pro-EU and pro-NATO government. The Ukrainian people had to overcome a concerted effort by the pro-Russia party to steal the election. The Russians even tried to poison the leader of the pro-EU party!
In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych — a Putin ally — was elected president of Ukraine. (Incidentally, Paul Manafort was a long time campaign consultant for Yanukovych.) Eventually, Yanukovych was ousted in 2014 and replaced by a pro-EU and pro-NATO government. In response to this setback, Putin invaded Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has been at war with Russia ever since.
As we have all recently learned, Trump tried to blackmail Ukraine into providing dirt on the Bidens. As Anders Aslund, a real Ukraine expert, notes: “There is no honest accusation against Biden. What Trump wanted was a fabrication, not an investigation.”
Trump’s threat to withhold military aide threatened the security of a democracy under Russian attack. What would Reagan say about that? “Trump was using our tax dollars — support for a country literally under attack from a foreign adversary — to try and falsely destroy his political opposition. This is a betrayal of everything that the United States is supposed to stand for, everything we are supposed to be. “ Ben Rhodes, former adviser to President Obama.
Trump’s betrayal of an important US and EU ally is just one of many impeachable offenses committed by the former TV reality star since January 20, 2017. Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 to steal the election and then tried to cover it up. (And now he’s doing it again.) The orange hued mogul has profited off his presidency by encouraging representatives of special interests and foreign powers to stay at his hotels and join his club at Mar-A-Lago. Finally, Trump has rejected all Congressional subpoenas that have requested witnesses and documents. Like Nixon, Trump has taken the position that executive privilege is absolute.
The time is now for the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings. I don’t expect Trump to be removed due to the supine Republicans in Congress who have violated every “principle” they claimed to hold dear during the Obama Administration. But we need to lay down a marker and take a stand against a lawless and reckless president. If we don’t follow through with impeachment, Trump will be further emboldened to break the law.
The most important thing is to oust Trump and his rubber stamp Republican allies in Congress on November 3, 2020. Democracy and the rule of law will be on the ballot. Will the American experiment in democracy launched in 1776 fail or will we live up to our lofty ideals? The stakes are that high. Now let’s get it done!