Is the Financial Theft of the Ukraine War Over?
For years, Ukraine was recognized as one of the most, if not “the” most, corrupt nation in Europe. It held on to that reputation all the way up to the day Russia invaded in late February 2022, at which point media worldwide suddenly started rewriting history.
As noted by Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, in a sober and clear-eyed article, published in April 2022:1
“Statements from U.S. and other Western officials, as well as pervasive accounts in the news media, have created a stunningly misleading image of Ukraine. There has been a concerted effort to portray the country… as a plucky and noble bulwark of freedom and democracy …
The notion that Ukraine was such an appealing democratic model in Eastern Europe that the country’s mere existence terrified Putin … is a myth … Even before the war erupted, there were ugly examples of authoritarianism in Ukraine’s political governance …
The neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was an integral part of President Petro Poroshenko’s military and security apparatus, and it has retained that role during Zelensky’s presidency …
The country is not a symbol of freedom and liberal democracy, and the war is not an existential struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. At best, Ukraine is a corrupt, quasi‐democratic entity with troubling repressive policies.
Given that sobering reality, calls for Americans to ‘stand with Ukraine’ are misplaced. Preserving Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity most certainly are not worth the United States risking war with a nuclear-armed Russia.”
Indeed, while President Biden kept sending tens of billions of American taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in the name of “defending democracy,” Zelensky banned all opposition parties in the country and blacklisted American politicians and journalists who questioned the U.S. involvement in the conflict.2 So much for democracy and democratic values.
Is Ukraine Aid Part of a Money Laundering Scheme?
According to the Panama Papers3,4 released in 2016, which have been described as “a giant leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records [which] exposes a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing,” Zelensky is likely just as corrupt as his predecessors, as he, his wife and several associates all own “hidden offshore assets.”
With that in mind, why is the U.S. sending billions of dollars to Ukraine without requiring any kind of accounting for where all this money is going? According to official aid trackers, the U.S. had sent $76.8 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as of the end of July 2023.5,6
The European Union contributed another $85.1 billion in that same timeframe.7 And, in mid-October 2023, Biden proposed yet another $105 billion foreign aid package, $61 billion of which will go to Ukraine.8,9
The lack of oversight combined with the lack of Ukrainian progress in the conflict and the refusal to enter into peace negotiations raises suspicions that these aid packages may simply be another money laundering scheme like we saw with FTX.10,11 At least $178 million sent to Ukraine through the now-defunct FTX crypto exchange may have been laundered back to the Democratic Party in the U.S.12
Ukraine Still Rife With Corruption
Lately, mainstream media have started to revisit the issue of corruption in Ukraine, probably because public perception of corruption may undermine the entire operation.
For example, October 2, 2023, Politico reported receiving a “sensitive but unclassified” strategy paper in which Biden administration officials warn that “Perceptions of high-level corruption” could “undermine the Ukrainian public’s and foreign leaders’ confidence in the war-time government.” According to Politico:13
“The administration wants to press Ukraine to cut graft … But being too loud about the issue could embolden opponents of U.S. aid to Ukraine, many of them Republican lawmakers who are trying to block such assistance. Any perception of weakened American support for Kyiv also could cause more European countries to think twice about their role.
Ukrainian graft has long been a concern of U.S. officials … But the topic was deemphasized in the wake of Russia’s February 2022 full-scale invasion …
More than a year into the full-scale war, U.S. officials are pressing the matter more in public and private. National security adviser Jake Sullivan, for instance, met in early September with a delegation from Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions.
A second U.S. official familiar with the discussions confirmed to POLITICO reports that the Biden administration is talking to Ukrainian leaders about potentially conditioning future economic aid on ‘reforms to tackle corruption and make Ukraine a more attractive place for private investment.’”
No such conditions have been proposed for military aid, however, which makes up the bulk of the money spent on Ukraine. Similarly, in mid-September 2023, Reuters reported14 that “billions of dollars of aid earmarked for Zelensky’s government as well as ambitions to join the European Union ride on Ukraine proving that it is serious about fighting corruption and embracing good governance.”
Zelensky, for his part, has increasingly tried to portray himself as a staunch corruption fighter, firing more than a dozen senior officials on corruption charges in January 2023.
In August h
Article from LewRockwell
LewRockwell.com is a libertarian website that publishes articles, essays, and blog posts advocating for minimal government, free markets, and individual liberty. The site was founded by Lew Rockwell, an American libertarian political commentator, activist, and former congressional staffer. The website often features content that is critical of mainstream politics, state intervention, and foreign policy, among other topics. It is a platform frequently used to disseminate Austrian economics, a school of economic thought that is popular among some libertarians.