Nov 11, 2019
In the ongoing impeachment hearings, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, an Army officer working with the National Security Council, said that Trump had demanded what is called a quid pro quo, or “this for that,” from Ukrainian officials. In exchange for an investigation of his political opponents, Trump would grant Ukrainian leaders a meeting presumably leading to the release of U.S. military aid.
Trump hoped for an investigation that would show that Democrat Joe Biden’s son Hunter had been involved in corrupt dealings when he served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company—something he could use against Biden in the upcoming elections.
Even National Security Advisor John Bolton, a right-wing hawk, tried to distance himself from these maneuvers, comparing them to “a drug deal.”
Trump has replaced experienced diplomats like ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch with those who would do his bidding. Yovanovitch herself testified that Trump and his cronies got rid of her in order to “find someone who was more suitable for their interests.”
The officials testifying against Trump are part of the permanent state apparatus of the U.S. military and State Department. They actually run U.S. policy overseas, no matter who is in office. They are angry that Trump put his own short-term political interests above what they call the “national interest.”
But what is this U.S. national interest in Ukraine?
Diplomats like Yovanovitch have for decades carried out a policy to support the interests of U.S. capitalists, using the power of the U.S. state to help these capitalists put their hands on Ukraine’s riches. They have worked to pull Ukraine into the U.S. orbit, and to hold the line against competing Russian interests.
Since 2014, Ukraine has been caught in a civil war which pits the U.S.-allied Kyev government against Russian-supported forces in the eastern part of the country. War has reinforced the Ukrainian government’s dependence on U.S. military aid, a situation encouraged by diplomats like Yovanovitch since it allows them to press even further to open the country to penetration by U.S. imperialism.
Trump is certainly a corrupt operator, putting himself above everyone else. But neither is the U.S. “national interest,” defended by the military and state department officials testifying against him, in the interests of ordinary people in Ukraine or the United States. For the Ukrainian population, U.S. policy has been a disaster, leaving the population caught in war, with their standard of living plummeting.