A fascist and a capitalist go into a bar and the bartender says, what can I get for you, Mr. Trump?
Something truly momentous has occurred. President Trump recently tweeted that we’ve spent eight trillion dollars fighting and policing the Middle East, with thousands of our soldiers dead or badly wounded, and with millions of people dead on the other side.
“Going into the Middle East is the worst decision ever made in the history of our country! We went to war under a false and now disproven premise: Weapons of mass destruction. There were NONE!”
Make what you will of Trump’s fetish for publicity, but he shouldn’t have said this. Put it this way. Presidents are not supposed to say this. Here’s why.
The admission by a sitting U.S. president that Washington invaded Iraq under a “false” and “disproven” premise — a lie — that ended up “killing millions” amounts to an official admission from the U.S. government that the G.W. Bush and successive administrations are responsible for war crimes resulting in mass murder.
What to do about it? Well, Article Six of the Constitution seems to make it clear. The invasion was an act of aggression (the supreme international crime) as codified in the UN Charter, which, upon ratification by the United States made it “the supreme Law of the Land” under Article Six.
There’s a couple of “supremes” in there, but in this case it reminds of the childhood game of rock-paper-scissors where supremacy is relative because all the perpetrators got away clean. A less quoted clause in Article Six — the one following the “supreme Law of the Land” — points the way: “and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.”
Taken seriously, this seems to mean that any individual can bring the case to any judge. The virtual impossibility of doing this is a measure of the bromide that we are a nation of laws, and that nobody is above them.
You could say Trump is owed something for his admission, except that nothing will come of it save for its further shattering of a national myth. His compulsive and unchecked self-promotion — the sword he lives by — looks like it may be the sword he dies by. That which led him to release the summary transcript of his telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
He did it for the hit on Joe Biden, his leading political contender and the favored candidate of old guard capitalist imperialists. Evidently, Trump figured his role in the conversation would be written off as business as usual, while Biden’s role would be front and center and not just for a news cycle.
Trump’s mistake was of atomic proportion. It would have been so simple to deny the transcript’s release on “national security” grounds, the presidential excuse of choice. But like the fable of the frog and the scorpion, his nature couldn’t pass up the chance to advance the cause he fights for. Himself.
But back to Biden. He really did force Ukraine’s then-president Petro Poroshenko to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company on which Biden’s son, Hunter, sat as a board member with pay up to $50,000 a month.
According to Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, on Oct. 9, 2019 Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach publicized documents which he claims “describe the mechanism of getting money by (sic) Biden Sr.” (He clarifies in an interview with IUNA two days later that the son was “built into” the structure, which was headed by Biden Sr.).
“This was the transfer of Burisma Group’s funds for lobbying activities, as investigators believe, personally to Joe Biden through a lobbying company. Funds in the amount of $900,000 were transferred to the U.S.-based company Rosemont Seneca Partners, which according to open sources, in particular, the New York Times, is affiliated with Biden. The payment reference was payment for consultative services.”
(Writer’s note: A NYT article does not allege that Joe Biden is personally affiliated with Rosemont, only that shortly after his father became vice president, Hunter Biden created the network of Rosemont firms jointly with Christopher Heinz and Devon Archer. The Times article goes on to say that Burisma paid $3.4 million to a Rosemont company from April 2014, when Biden and Archer joined the board, to late 2015, with payments continuing after that).
And Joe Biden does not deny that he had the prosecutor fired. He openly boasted about it on videotape from a Council on Foreign Relations affair last year (which anyone with an internet connection can watch) where he said he told Poroshenko that his plane was leaving in six hours, and if he wanted that 1 billion dollar loan guarantee that prosecutor had to be gone by then. And he got that assurance.
Biden claims in his defense that his role in the firing was not driven by personal motives, instead relegating it to the general “ineptitude” of the prosecutor in rooting our corruption. His take on this is unsurprising in that prosecutor Shokin did slant pro-Russian, enough to make Biden’s world shake.
If any more evidence of why Biden had Shokin fired is needed, there is the sworn affidavit of Viktor Shokin before an Austrian court on Sept. 4, 2019, in which he states (excepted directly from the affidavit):
“Poroshenko asked me to resign due to pressure from the US Presidential administration, in particular from Joe Biden, who was the US Vice-President. Biden was threatening to withhold USD $1 billion in subsidies to Ukraine until I was removed from office.”
“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings (“Burisma”), a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors.”
What set out to be a zero sum game — Biden’s loss is Trump’s gain, or, Trump’s loss is Biden’s gain — could turn out to be a double loss. As far as it goes, that would be a gain.
James Rothenberg, of North Chatham, writes on U.S. social and foreign policy.