August 5, 2022

"U.S. officials are starting to grumble about Ukraine and possible corruption. After months of having Americans bake Ukraine flag cupcakes..."

"... and fly Ukraine’s colors outside our houses, there’s a bit of hedging going on now. The government seems to be soft-rolling it, like in this Thomas Friedman piece: 'Privately, U.S. officials are a lot more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they are letting on. There is deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine—considerably more than has been reported.' This is, after all, a former Soviet republic full of rent seekers and minigarchs, and you don’t become president without fraternizing with those people, and those people, well, they don’t just go away once you’re in power, and all the Vogue covers in the world can’t whitewash that."

Writes Nellie Bowles at Common Sense, reviewing the top stories in her column called "TGIF." She's also got this, about Afghanistan:
Funny how that famous terrorist was just hanging out in Afghanistan: 9/11 key plotter and Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri was finally killed, 20 years after the Twin Towers came down. The big “surprise” here is that he was found in Afghanistan, where it seems the old gang is getting back together. It’s so crazy because I read a Taliban leader’s lovely essay in The New York Times—What We, the Taliban, Want—and there he told me they only want peace and harmony, so it was great for us to help them flourish again. The author promised us in the essay: “I am confident that, liberated from foreign domination and interference, we together will find a way to build an Islamic system in which all Afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that are granted by Islam — from the right to education to the right to work.” Now it’s all women banned from schools and old 9/11 terrorists back having house parties. We at TGIF can’t believe the Taliban lied.

70 comments:

Joe Smith said...

If they're starting to grumble that just means they've skimmed more than enough cash already and don't want to appear greedy.

papper said...

What about corruption in the US. Joe and Hunter Biden, anybody? Pot meet kettle.

Michael said...

But is Zelenski more or less "corrupt" than the Bidens? By prevailing local standards. Someone really ought to look into that - maybe the Media or the FBI. Oh, right.

Mike Sylwester said...

This is, after all, a former Soviet republic full of rent seekers and minigarchs, and you don’t become president without fraternizing with those people ...

How come we never read any analysis about President Biden fraternizing with "oligarchs"?

All the time, we read about President Putin fraternizing with "oligarchs".

Now, we are beginning to read about President Zelensky fraternizing with "oligarchs".

Now we read that Ukraine is "full of rent seekers and minigarchs".

How alarming!

Imagine that we had such an alarming situation here in the USA!

=======

Come to think of it, couldn't we say that Hunter Biden was a "rent seeker" in Ukraine?

rhhardin said...

The guy in charge has to pay off (money, franchises, etc) everybody who can cause trouble, in proportion to how much trouble they can cause. It's why a dictator can't be changed without paying off everybody he's paying off as well. A reservoir of trouble has to be taken care of.

Yancey Ward said...

I imagine 50% or more of the weapons being sent are diverted to the black market, and the straight up financial aid is 90% stolen. It is a giant pig's trough.

gilbar said...

It DOES make you wonder, who they'll be selling our high tech weaponry to?

n.n said...

The Baidan/Maidan/Slaving Spring with "benefits" in Obama's World War Spring (WWS) series is, unfortunately, bipartisan, but is, fortunately, not secured through diversity (e.g. color blocs).

Balfegor said...

Is,"minigarchs" the right backformation? (1) Isn't the Greek root "arch" not "garch" (the g in oligarch coming from the "oligos" side, like oligopoly, rather than the "arch" side, like monarch, tetrarch, archon, etc.)? And (2) isn't it mixing Latin (mini) and Greek (arch)?

Whatever the correct backformation would be (micrarch or microarch both sound a bit off too), "minigarch" sounds distractingly wrong to me.

Mr Wibble said...

After they bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, the admin thought that they could restore their foreign policy credentials by ginning up a crisis with Russia. Instead, they pushed Putin into launching an invasion. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to back down, they hoped for either a limited incursion, or a quick Russian victory while publicly proclaiming the West's support for Ukraine. They got neither, and now the whole thing is a bloody quagmire that isn't going away anytime soon, with the US committed to supporting Ukraine, and Europe looking to pay a hefty price this winter. Worse, the longer this war drags on, the more it reveals the weaknesses in the global order which the political class spent decades building for their own benefit. Already a lot of green energy dreams are meeting the ugly reality that you can't keep a modern country warm in winter with solar and wind power, and it turns out that you need a functioning arms industry to replace rapidly depleting stockpiles, or else you risk running out of missiles in the middle of a war.

gilbar said...

And finally: The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new paper out saying no, of course the number of young women transitioning has always been this high. How did they prove that? Comparing the years 2019 with 2017, which is when time began.

n.n said...

The archaic belief that women and girls have an equal and complementary station in life. Wait, take a knee, beg, suck, pay your taxes, good girl. Boys, too, in socially progressive societies. #ForwardToThePast #GenderRegrets

Original Mike said...

Thank God we have an expert on Ukrainian corruption in the white house!

Dave Begley said...

How much money and equipment did we piss away in Afghanistan? And for what?

Is Ukraine the same thing?

China is laughing at us. We wasted at least one trillion while China built up its military. China then crippled our economy. And it was *intentional.*

Now with Manchin's Green New Deal, we are turning our grid over to the CCP and our electric rates are going to triple.

Manchin's Green New Deal is going to crucify Americans on a cross of wind turbine blades. And all because fat cat elites want their federal income tax credits.

Combine this economic disaster in the making with 6 million new illegal aliens by 2024 and we are totally and completely fucked.

Jefferson's Revenge said...

I think there are commenters here (not me, I know nothing about Ukraine) who were saying the same thing a few months ago.

This leads to multiple questions;

Was this a classic attempt to get us into a war-like scenario to rally the country around an unpopular President? If so, now that the polls are going the other way, is it time to disengage? If, as some suspect, the Biden family is historically a part of the Ukrainian corruption, how can the US disengage without that becoming public?

The only good thing from this is the chance the Europe will actually create a coherent energy policy. I think that is unlikely though. Europe has no real leadership. The only thing that holds them together is a combined jealousy/hatred of the US>

wendybar said...

And how much of our money did Biden send to them?? Ukraine has always had corruption...much like our own government.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Please ignore the past corruption and money laundering for profit done by the Biden family - in Ukraine.

thanks.

Kevin said...

There is deep mistrust between the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine—considerably more than has been reported.'

It would seem the larger mistrust goes the other way.

Would you not skim some of the money and weapons for future use if you suspected your benefactor might cut you off at any time?

The Biden White House has no skin in the game.

Static Ping said...

Apparently, Biden is getting insufficient graft from Ukraine to deal with the headaches the war has caused.

As for Ayman al-Zawahri, this is the fourth time he has been reported dead and our last "righteous" drone strike blew up a car full of children, so forgive me if I do not trust the report.

Kai Akker said...

I am trying to imagine just what contrivances were involved in the author's two poses for the camera. The second one especially seems to harken back to 1940s Hollywood fantasia. Maybe it helps explain the strange tone of her writing, like someone shouting down into a canyon to hear her own echo.

Gusty Winds said...

That's hilarious. Let's pretend the corruption in Ukraine is unknown, and also pretend that US Government officials aren't in on it...like the Biden family.

They're not even good at the propaganda anymore. But they do know their target audience very well.

The American tax payer is in for what, $56 billion plus since Feb? Now we are worried about corruption?

Good God. It's over people. Drink more beer.

Indigo Red said...

There's no doubt Ukraine is corrupt. So what? That is not the question. The fact is, Ukraine was invaded by Russia. The Donbas region was part of Ukraine, not Russia. Should the two have been left alone to fight it out? Doesn't matter. Putin told us what he wants in a very public essay. He wrote that the Russian soviets should be reunited. With that confession, world war three would have still been on the table.


As for Afghanistan, the Taliban told everyone in the quoted portion, "... an Islamic system in which all Afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that are granted by Islam — from the right to education to the right to work,” what they intended. And they have carried it out. Islam does not grant women anything but sexual and labor slavery. The US overlaid our version of women's rights and education atop those of Islam and said, 'Oh, okay.' Ours is not the Taliban's view of women's rights and education.

Indigo Red said...

There's no doubt Ukraine is corrupt. So what? That is not the question. The fact is, Ukraine was invaded by Russia. The Donbas region was part of Ukraine, not Russia. Should the two have been left alone to fight it out? Doesn't matter. Putin told us what he wants in a very public essay. He wrote that the Russian soviets should be reunited. With that confession, world war three would have still been on the table.


As for Afghanistan, the Taliban told everyone in the quoted portion, "... an Islamic system in which all Afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that are granted by Islam — from the right to education to the right to work,” what they intended. And they have carried it out. Islam does not grant women anything but sexual and labor slavery. The US overlaid our version of women's rights and education atop those of Islam and said, 'Oh, okay.' Ours is not the Taliban's view of women's rights and education.

Ian Nemo said...

There were regular Greek diminutives. Maybe something like "oligarchidion", where the -idion is described by Smyth as suggesting "affection, familiarity, daintiness, and sometimes pity or contempt."

Lurker21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

Hmmm ... so Nelly Bowles is Althouse's Althouse?

I wish we wouldn't be so surprised by corruption in other countries. There's corruption in Ukraine, sure, but also corruption in Russia. Some of the countries we set up around the world are just paper tigers which crumple under pressure. See Afghanistan. I don't think -- or at least I hope -- Ukraine isn't like that, and people who reduce the country to just corruption or some LGBTQ+ agenda are doing it a disservice.

Lem said...

Is it Trump having the last laugh?

I’m hesitant to use that line and have Althouse tear it up worse than the Politico founder.

Gusty Winds said...

Zelensky’s army green t-shirt propaganda outfit reminds me of some Central or South American dictator deck out in military formals with a chest full of medals and sashes. It’s all fake.

Zelensky even wore the costume for the Vogue layout with his wife, who is actually pretty hot btw…

Too bad we couldn’t send the $56 Billion we’ve sent so far the Ukrainian girls that head to Amsterdam an Frankfurt to work in the red light districts. They have a pipeline of prostitutes heading there. Just like the SARS2 pipeline. If you think northern and western Europe are freaking out about Russian energy supply…there would be mass panic if you cut off their supply of Eastern European girls trying to get out of poverty.

The girls should make these European pricks pay in Rubles.

rcocean said...

We not going to war with China over Taiwan. If China "Sanctioned" the USA, our economy would collapse.

Everyone knew Ukraine was corrupt. That's a feature not a bug, because a lot of the $40 billion in corruption we gave them, will end up in the pockets of Congressmen and their big donors. That was part of the plan.

The current war should be brought to a close. Russia isn't going to give up the territory they have, and Ukraine can't make them. Give Zelensky and his cronies $100 million (how much did the Afghan President leave with?) and lets have peace.

Mr Wibble said...

China is laughing at us. We wasted at least one trillion while China built up its military. China then crippled our economy. And it was *intentional.*

The Chinese don't have time to laugh, what with their banking sector, housing sector, and ultimately the rest of their economy about to implode. They've been just as corrupt and incompetent as everyone in the West. Meanwhile their military hasn't fought a war in decades, and they don't have the logistics to carry out large-scale military operations overseas.

rcocean said...

BTW, did you see all the DC Republicans praise of BRAVE LITTLE NANCY -standing up to the Chicoms? I'm suprised Dick Cheney didn't pipe up and call her the greatest american in the last 246 years. Of course, its just symbolism and posing. "Look, we D's can be tough on China, too!".

More of the DC clown show.

Beasts of England said...

‘Please ignore the past corruption and money laundering for profit done by the Biden family - in Ukraine.’

How dare you mention that during a national monkeypox emergency!!

pacwest said...

Remind me again of the points brought up in Trump's "Ukraine" impeachment.

Skeptical Voter said...

Lt. Colonel Pillsbury Doughboy will tell us to just move along, there's nothing to see there in his home country. Although the Doughboy did spark an abortive impeachment of The Donald.

Quaestor said...

"Now it’s all women banned from schools and old 9/11 terrorists back having house parties. We at TGIF can’t believe the Taliban lied."

Is Nellie Bowles being facetious, or is she just pulling her punches? That he used to write for that fish wrapper might give one a clue. The NYT was all too happy to give a platform to Sirajuddin Haqqani. What did they expect from the Taliban's minister of propaganda, an apology for 9-11? Anyone at 620 Eighth Avenue will tell you how much they are appalled by terrorism, and then go on to rhapsodize about the Capitol trespassing incident. But ask anyone there how they can defend that "opinion" piece and also defend the de-platforming of Republicans... all you'll get is a blank stare and a well, duh, they're Republicans! (BTW, Ayman al-Zawahiri was Sirajuddin Haqqani's houseguest when the late al-Qaeda leader got a faceful of Hellfire ninja blades.)

Bowles wrote an Atlantic piece back in June about the post-apocalyptic wasteland called San Francisco and its possible return from the grave. She talks all around the root cause (Bowles and others who write for the Atlantic love that turn of phrase) but cannot name it. She goes on to blame some of San Francisco's unique culture (or more accurately what proglodytes fancy as culture) but she neglects to mention the many other cities with the same social disease, the Democratic Party.

John henry said...

Some of us, me for example, have been complaining about Ukraine corruption since the year dot.

Fuck 'em. There is no us interest in giving them a single dollar. Or even a cupcake.

Here is a possible theory though on why we are backing down

The Russians (allegedly) have destroyed a lot of Ukraine buildings that now must be rebuilt.

Who better to do this than Brandon's brother, using US funds.

The same as he did in Iraq

John LGBTQBNY Henry

gilbar said...

Balfegor said... Is,"minigarchs" the right backformation?

i believe the Correct spelling is: Petty Tyrants

Achilles said...

Zelensky has jailed all of his political opponents and censors every media outlet in the country. He is president because of a political coup that deposed a legally elected President of Ukraine that the US did not like and the coup was funded by the US.

Ukraine is just a giant slush fund where numerous corrupt people and entities launder billions of US taxpayer dollars.

But we are told we are "Defending Freedom and Democracy."

Now that the war is causing food riots sending billions of dollars to Ukraine so that Joe Biden can take his 10% this war is not so popular.

And all you fucks who called people like me a traitor or a Putin supporter for pointing this out have earned my condemnation. You are evil people and you are disgusting amoral scum.

We are past the point where this will be settled amicably. Joe Biden is the most unpopular President in history and the corporate media is obviously allied with the regime. The censorship and lies are too much for the decent people of this country. Everyone that pushed the Russian Collusion narrative needs to go. You people lied and you did it knowingly and you continue to lie.

The only people more unpopular than the regime toadies are the Republican chamber of commerce traitors that are pushing open borders and endless wars.

But they are all on the same team. Everyone that supports this regime is scum.

boatbuilder said...

Regretably, Common Sense is in short supply in the Big Media, and Nellie Bowles is not going to be heard by anyone other than her own subscribers (and the massive Althouse readership, of course).

paminwi said...

David Begley at 11:18. 100% spot on.

Bob Boyd said...

Remember when they said Zawahiri died in 2020?

Jason said...

This comes after months of the usual twits accusing every one of us who knew better and who did anything like caution on Ukrainian corruption, sing Zelensky's praises, or note correctly that Russia was gradually attaining its war aims of being Putin fans and Russian stooges.

Bob Boyd said...

Call me when U.S. officials start to grumble about Biden and possible corruption.

Leland said...

Keywords to expect:
Unexpectedly
Nobody predicted this
Who would have thought this

Oh look, an old AQ leader over there, let's hit him to distract from our foreign policy disasters.

Kylos said...

The Ukrainians can certainly be excused for thinking the current administration would be ok with a little corruption

Sebastian said...

"U.S. officials are starting to grumble about Ukraine and possible corruption."

No way! The Burisma thing was totally above board. Only Trump did something bad with someone.

"... and fly Ukraine’s colors outside our houses"

Haven't seen any. MSM BS?

"a former Soviet republic full of rent seekers and minigarchs"

Say it ain't so!

William said...

There are certain contradictory facts in evidence. Ukraine is a corrupt country and some of our aid is going into the wrong pockets. Russia has tried to settle a border dispute by invading Ukraine. It has created millions of refugees and thousands of casualties.....I judge Russia more at fault than Ukraine. It's not in Russia's best interests to continue this war. It not in Ukraine's best interests to continue this war.... If the war continues, both countries will be losers. One country will be a bigger loser, but both countries will be and are losers. Look at how WWI ended.... If we continue to supply Ukraine, the war will continue. I would prefer to see Russia lose. I would prefer that Ukraine not end up in ruins but victorious....Well, I'm old and I won't see how this works out. I suppose some country will lose more

Achilles said...

That was an interesting article.

I would recommend clicking through and reading it.

Kinda short and blurby on each topic but it was at least honest and in good faith.

Earnest Prole said...

If there's anything Joe Biden knew going into this war, it was that Ukraine was corrupt. To suddenly discover it now is a Casablanca shocked, shocked moment.

Levi Starks said...

Truth is the first casualty

Quaestor said...

"And isn't it mixing Latin (mini) and Greek (arch)?"

Well... yes, but we've been doing this routinely for a while, about 2,300 years, I reckon. Take for example, Tyrannosaurus. That's a marriage of Latin and Greek. The Latin part derives from tyrannus, which is itself derived from the Attic túrannos, but it is Latin and saûros is classical Greek.

Lars Porsena said...

Everybody knows the Ukraine is corrupt.
How do we know this?
Because everybody says so.
How does everybody know this?
Because............???

Why do the Ukrainians keep fighting against overwhelming odds?
Obviously, they are willing to risk death for their share of the corruption.

I will feel better and sleep sounder at night when V. Putin has his boot on the neck of those
corrupt Ukrainians...and when Xi occupies Taiwan too.

Buckwheathikes said...

To be frankly honest, none of this alleged "war" seems too real. I mean come on, if your country was being invaded by Russia, would you really be doing Vogue cover shoots? The US also seems to also know that Russia isn't going to nuke us. Now, how would they know that?

Also, where's CNN? During the real wars (like, say, US versus Saddam) they were in country, providing intel to the enemy. They are not in Ukraine, and since they're not there, you know they've been told not to go there and look too close.

It's pretty clear that the US taxpayer is being rolled and that the Ukrainians are no longer paying off whoever they were previously paying off (coughHunterBidenAndTheBigGuycough) and so now the grumbling begins.

They took Trump out because he wouldn't authorize the fake "war" that the defense complex needs to keep the funds flowing. Now they have a perfect President - you know - an idiot.

Drago said...

Bob Boyd: "Remember when they said Zawahiri died in 2020?"

I remember the last 3 times they told us Zawahiri had been killed.

Personally, I can't wait to see how they kill him again in the lead up to the 2024 election! That one will surely be the best yet!

Joe Smith said...

"... and fly Ukraine’s colors outside our houses"

Speaking of talking to oneself, whenever I see a Ukraine flag outside some lib's house, I reflexively utter (sometimes too loud) 'What a fucking moron.'

Drago said...

Looks like the dems/left/media/nevertrump (but I repeat myself) are shifting talking points now that the abject corruption of the Ukrainians and selling off of US weaponry on the black market along with battlefield failure are no longer cover-up-able.

Team dem/nevertrump (but I repeat myself) better spool up Conflict Next and Conflict Next-Next mas rapido.

Narayanan said...

If they're starting to grumble that just means they've skimmed more than enough cash already and don't want to appear greedy.
==========
are the grumblers same sub-set of USOfficials as the non-grumblers?

Achilles said...

According to the Zelensky and Biden Regimes Amnesty International is now just a group of Putin Sympathizers.

The Biden Regime and it's supporters need to go to Ukraine and fight Russia themselves.

If they do a good job and shut the fuck up maybe some could be allowed to come back.

Jupiter said...

'Privately, U.S. officials are a lot more concerned about Ukraine’s leadership than they are letting on.'

Ah. So they're lying to us. Good to know.

Tom T. said...

To me, the obvious interpretation is that the Biden administration thought it had the Ukrainians safely bought, and they're upset that Zelensky, an elected leader, is too independent and too driven by his own domestic political needs for their liking. Now that sanctions aren't having much bite against the Russians and Europe is facing an energy cutoff, I suspect the Biden people would be content with a deal that effects a second partition of Ukraine that kicks the situation down the road, at least until Putin rearms and invades a third time. Zelensky, however, can't cut such a deal, because the Ukrainian polity, forged partly by this invasion itself, wouldn't stand for it.

Tom T. said...

"If there's anything Joe Biden knew going into this war, it was that Ukraine was corrupt."

Which means that the current estrangement is not actually about corruption.

Blair said...

Some of us were grumbling about this from the beginning. Of course, we then got accused of being Russian moles and trolls, asked how the weather was in Moscow etc. Well, welcome to the party, pal.

Dave64 said...

Corruption? What corruption. Joes' boy was pulling down over $80K a month. Pelosi's boy and Kerry's boy were taking home $$$$. The place looked like the Illinois State Assembly, just different accents.

Joe Smith said...

'Now, we are beginning to read about President Zelensky fraternizing with "oligarchs".'

I like how Eastern European rich guys are 'Oligarchs' while our rich guys (Bezos, Gates, etc.) are 'Businessmen.'

Drago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

Blair: "Some of us were grumbling about this from the beginning. Of course, we then got accused of being Russian moles and trolls, asked how the weather was in Moscow etc. Well, welcome to the party, pal."

Dude, that wasn't the half of it! I was called a never-served coward who understood nothing about the military, etc and that it was all just a video game to me!!

And that was the "nice" stuff. LOL

Rusty said...

Didn't somebody mention here that very little of that 40 billion is going to wind up on the front line of Ukraine. Oh. Yeah. That was me. Seems like 70% has gone missing. OOoops.

Balfegor said...

My impression is that the administration was forced unwillingly into taking a hard pro-Ukrainian line by public opinion, which -- unexpectedly, given the shrug with which public opinion reacted to the Russo-Georgian War, the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing conflict in the Donbas from 2014-2022 -- turned out to care a lot about the fate of the Ukraine.

Reading between the lines, I also have the impression that Western reporters and analysts have overcorrected from their initial erroneous assessments (Russia will walk all over the Ukraine). I feel like I've been reading about how Russia is just weeks away from running out of men and materiel since March, and they haven't run out yet, and in fact seem to be grinding out slow incremental progress on the eastern front.

Meanwhile, on the southern front, the Ukraine has been telegraphing a major push to retake Kherson for months (see, e.g. May 29: "Ukrainian officials have signaled for weeks they hoped to launch a new southern counteroffensive to retake control of Kherson to try to cut off Russia’s supply routes into the city on bridges over the Dnipro River.") and two months later, it sounds like it's still yet to happen (July 28: "Ukraine's campaign to retake the occupied Kherson region is "gathering pace", Western military sources say."). The biggest Ukrainian gains seem, from what I can tell, to have taken place in March when they fended off Russian attacks in Mykolaiv (west of Kherson) and pushed the front line a bit back towards Kherson. Since then, it looks like a stalemate with regular news of imminent decisive action by the Ukraine followed by nothing. Look, they could blitzkrieg their way through Russian lines tomorrow -- my impression, as a layman with no military expertise, is just that they're either BS-ing us about trying to retake Kherson, or the Russians are successfully fending them off every time they try. Maybe things will be different this time now that they blew some holes in the bridges, but I'm not holding my breath.

This is all a way of saying I think Biden may be hearing much worse news out of the Ukraine than we're hearing in public, and may be viewing rosy military assessments from the Ukrainian government with significant skepticism.

Narr said...

Some of the equipment for Ukraine will make it there and be used.

80-90% of the SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS will be spent in and around el distrito federal.

SC65 said...

So, is anyone really surprised that Zelenskyy is not the Ukrainian version of George Washington? Over the past few months, I also have found distasteful this weird vicarious nationalism with the Ukrainian flag on people's front porches and bumper stickers. Particularly because many of the people flying the Ukrainian flag would never fly the American flag. If you sport a Ukrainian flag and you're not Ukrainian (nor could locate that country on a map until this spring), you're just signalling your total uncritical obeisance to the current regime in the US.