Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Impeachment’s Biggest Absurdity: Our Toxic Fixation On Useless And Corrupting Ukraine Aid

By James Bovard - January 29, 2020 at 09:45AM

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The campaign to convict and remove President Donald Trump in the Senate hinges on delays in disbursing US aid to Ukraine. Ukraine was supposedly on the verge of great progress until Trump pulled the rug out from under the heroic salvation effort by US government bureaucrats. Unfortunately, Congress has devoted a hundred times more attention to the timing of aid to Ukraine than to its effectiveness. And most of the media coverage has ignored the biggest absurdity of the impeachment fight.

The temporary postponement of the Ukrainian aid was practically irrelevant considering that US assistance efforts have long fueled the poxes they promised to eradicate – especially kleptocracy, or government by thieves. A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that “increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption” and that “corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States.”

Then-President George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid that year, declaring, “I think it makes no sense to give aid money to countries that are corrupt.” Regardless, the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world’s most corrupt regimes.

Then-President Barack Obama, recognizing the failure of past US aid efforts, proclaimed at the United Nations in 2010 that the US government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” The following year, congressional Republicans sought to restrict foreign aid to fraud-ridden foreign regimes. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wailed that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests “has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients.”

The Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of US tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was “one of the most corrupt countries on earth.” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), declared that “US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption” in Afghanistan.

Since the end of the Soviet Union, the US has provided more than $6 billion in aid to Ukraine. At the House impeachment hearings, a key anti-Trump witness was acting US ambassador to the Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr. The Washington Post hailed Taylor as someone who “spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of US development assistance for post-Soviet countries.” A New York Times editorial lauded Taylor and State Department deputy assistant secretary George Kent as witnesses who “came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country.”

After their testimony spurred criticism, a Washington Post headline captured the capital city’s reaction: “The diplomatic corps has been wounded. The State Department needs to heal.” But not nearly as much as the foreigners supposedly rescued by US bureaucrats.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 31 that the International Monetary Fund, which has provided more than $20 billion in loans to Ukraine, “remains skeptical after a history of broken promises [from the Ukraine govt]. Kiev hasn’t successfully completed any of a series of IMF bailout packages over the past two decades, with systemic corruption at the heart of much of that failure.”

The IMF concluded that Ukraine continued to be vexed by “shortcomings in the legal framework, pervasive corruption, and large parts of the economy dominated by inefficient state-owned enterprises or by oligarchs.” That last item is damning for the US benevolent pretensions. If a former Soviet republic cannot even terminate its government-owned boondoggles, then why in hell was the US government bankrolling them?

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the entire article at The Daily Caller.

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