Last week the world stood on the very edge of a nuclear war, as Ukraine’s US-funded president, Vladimir Zelensky, urged NATO military action over a missile that landed on Polish soil. "This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed," said Zelensky immediately after the missile landed.
But there was a problem. The missile was fired from Ukraine – likely an accident in the fog of war. Was it actually a Russian missile, of course, that might mean World War III. But Zelensky didn’t seem to be bothered by the prospect of the world blown up, judging from his reckless rhetoric.
While Zelensky has been treated as a saint by the US media, the Biden Administration, and both parties in Congress, something unprecedented happened this time: the Biden Administration pushed back. According to press reports, several Zelensky calls to Biden or senior Biden Staff went unanswered.
When US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan finally returned Zelensky’s call, he is reported to have said, “tread carefully” on claims Russia was behind the missiles landing in Poland. The Biden Administration went on to publicly dispute Zelensky’s continued insistence that Russia shot missiles into NATO-Member Poland. After two days of Washington opposition to his claims, Zelensky finally, sort of, backed down.
We’ve heard rumors of President Biden’s frustration over Zelensky’s endless begging and ingratitude for the 60 or so billion dollars doled out to him by the US government, but this is the clearest public example of the Biden Administration’s acceptance that it has a “Zelensky problem.”
Zelensky must have understood that Washington and Brussels knew it was not a Russian missile. Considering the vast intelligence capabilities of the US in that war zone, it is likely the US government knew in real time that the missiles were not Russian. For Zelensky to claim otherwise seemed almost unhinged. And for what seems like the first time, Washington noticed.
As a result, there has been a minor – but hopefully growing – revolt among conservatives in Washington over this dangerous episode. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene introduced legislation demanding an audit of the tens of billions of dollars shipped to Ukraine – with perhaps $50 billion more in the pipeline. The resolution currently has eleven co-sponsors.
Rep. Matt Gaetz has publicly stated that he would not vote for one more dollar for Ukraine. Others, like US Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), have gone even further. In a recent Tweet Rep. Gosar called US support for Ukraine a “corrupt money-laundering operation.” As the fallout from the recent collapse of the FTX crypto exchange points to possible political corruption, his claims may prove to be accurate.
When Sen. Paul introduced an amendment to the massive aid package to Ukraine calling for someone to audit the funds, he was ridiculed and attacked. Some seven months later, his position appears far more accepted. And that’s a good thing.
When the Ukraine war hysteria finally dies down – as the Covid hysteria died down before it – it will become obvious to vastly more Americans what an absolute fiasco this whole thing has been.
Hopefully Republicans will accelerate that process when they take the House in January. It cannot come too soon!