Kiev Pro Quo

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She makes an excellent point.

Without looking at the suggestions she got from “politics Twitter” (in order to make the challenge more interesting), I put my thinking cap on and came up with “Kiev Pro Quo” or #KievProQuo, with “Kiev” having one syllable, making it rhyme with “leave”. That’s how the American diplomats have been pronouncing it, since one syllable is closer to how the Ukrainians say it. The two-syllable “Kee-ev” is how the Russians pronounce it.

I raced back to Twitter. There was no time to lose!

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Checking out the competition, I was stunned to see that someone else got there first. He beat me by 45 damn minutes. (If only we’d gone to dinner sooner. If only the waitress and cook had been faster.)

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So there it is, America. Now all we have to do is spread the word (or phrase).

For more on “kiev” vs. “kee-ev” and whether it’s “Ukraine” or “The Ukraine”, see this helpful explanation.

A High Crime or Misdemeanor If Ever There Was One

Federal law says that a public official (such as the President) who, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value (such as the announcement of a criminal investigation into a prospective political opponent) in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act (such as inviting a foreign leader to the White House or delivering military aid to that foreign leader’s country) is guilty of bribery.

The Constitution says the President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Our president directly, indirectly and secretly demanded something of value to his political campaign in return for performing official actions. That’s one solid reason he should be impeached and removed from office.

It makes no difference that the foreign criminal investigation was never announced and never took place. It makes no difference that the military aid was ultimately delivered (after the president’s corruption was revealed). The president made it clear to his subordinates and his lawyer that he wanted to bribe the president of Ukraine. Attempted bribery, even if discovered in time to be interfered with, counts as bribery.

There are other reasons he should be removed from office, including the fact that a grand jury would have indicted him for obstruction of justice if the Department of Justice had chosen to prosecute, and the fact that he is knowingly receiving “emoluments” (i.e. cash) from foreign governments while in office, something the Constitution forbids. But bribery is the offense the Democrats are investigating and publicizing at the moment.

Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, summarized today’s testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland in thirteen minutes. It’s worth watching.

The View from Ukraine

By pointing out recently that there are a lot of Russian speakers living in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, I didn’t mean to imply that Ukrainians in those areas are pleased with the Russian occupation. The New York Times printed two op-ed pieces today by Ukrainians who dispute the idea that the Russians are welcome anywhere in Ukraine. 

In “The Myth of a Divided Ukraine”, Natalka Sniadanko writes that:

In recent days, in cities across the region, people have gathered to protest Russian aggression. Thanks to Mr. Putin, Ukraine has seen a rise not only in Russian-speaking Ukrainian patriots, but also “Russian-speaking Russophobes,” who identify as Russian but want nothing to do with him.

In “Crimea: Russia’s Next Afghanistan?“, Olga Dukhnich says that she lives and works among ethnic Russians who are deeply worried by the Russian occupation:

The leaders of Russia may be ruthless and determined, but they are not blind. They can try as hard as they can to shut the eyes and ears of the Russian public back home and in the Crimea through shameless propaganda on every TV channel. But — staged rallies and corrupt local quislings aside — the Russians, now that they have landed, surely see that they are not welcome, but feared, even by the ethnic Russians who they thought would embrace them.

Despite Ukraine’s recent political and economic problems, it is hard to imagine that many Ukrainians, ethnically Russian or not, want to go back to being ruled by Moscow instead of staying independent and moving closer to the West. Nevertheless, the most recent indications are that the Europeans, especially the Germans, don’t want to jeopardize their economic relationship with Russia, their principal supplier of energy. For that reason, there may be a very limited Western response to the Russian invasion.

Update:  If you want an excellent summary of Ukraine’s recent dictatorship and revolution, read this article written a few days ago by Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale and the author of a great book called Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. It’s especially helpful if you’ve heard that the revolution was led by fascists, the story Putin has been pushing.

The Russians in Ukraine

If you want to see what’s probably going to happen to Ukraine, take a look at the New York Times map below. In the orange area to the west, people speak Ukrainian and voted for the opposition in the last election. In the blue areas to the south and east (including the Crimean peninsula), most people speak Russian and voted for the President who was recently impeached.

It shouldn’t be a surprise if Russia eventually absorbs the blue areas. The West will strongly object, but nothing too bad should happen so long as the Russians don’t move too far west and their natural gas keeps flowing through Ukraine to Europe. On the other hand, nothing very bad should have happened after Franz Ferdinand was shot in 1914. (Other maps are here.)

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