Zelenskyy can get pretty bad at the meeting “behind closed doors”. After all, Biden, as a politician with colossal experience, will certainly teach him a lesson in “big politics”
In a few days, the much-anticipated meeting of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with US President Joe Biden will take place in Washington. Yesterday it became known that it was postponed once again from August 31 to September 1. I cannot see any “zrada” («betrayal» in Ukrainian – ed.) here. Rather, symbolism.
On the last day of the outgoing summer, the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan should be completed, so everything looks logical here, given the tension in view of possible terrorist threats in Kabul, which now reigns in the White House.
After the terrorist attack near Kabul airport, in which 13 American Marines were killed, Biden received a stunning wave of criticism from his political opponents, who are now even trying to initiate impeachment of Biden in the US Congress.
Naturally, this initiative has no real prospects, given the balance of power in both Chambers of the US Congress. Over the past two years, the impeachment procedure itself has become an element of the political struggle between Democrats and Republicans, the purpose of which is not to remove the president from power for violating the law, but to inflict maximum damage on him on the eve of the elections. And the Democrats themselves opened this “Pandora’s box”. And the “midterm” elections to the US Congress are just around the corner.
It is much more important for Biden himself now to improve the situation with the ratings of support for his course, which have shown record rates of decline in recent weeks since the start of the chaotic evacuation from the Kabul airport.
And now all the attention of Biden and his team is focused precisely on how to prevent new terrorist attacks and the death of American soldiers in the remaining two days. All other issues against this background are secondary.
When Biden set the date of Zelenskyy’s visit for August 30, he obviously did not anticipate what tragic consequences the decision on the unprepared (as it had already become obvious even to himself) withdrawal of the remnants of the American contingent from Afghanistan would lead to. On the one hand, the US president wanted to fulfill his promise to meet with Zelenskyy by the end of the summer, which he made in a telephone conversation with him in June. On the other hand, to cool the ardor of a young and inexperienced Ukrainian politician, who, in order to increase his ratings on the eve and after the Geneva meeting of Biden with Putin, managed to make a number of rash and emotional statements in the direction of Biden. And not only him, by the way.
In addition, the original and main goal of such a late date for Biden’s meeting with Zelenskyy was to protect oneself from a wave of criticism from the Republican Party of Congressmen. Congress is now on vacation, so there will be definitely no fiery speeches within the walls of Parliament, and even more so resolutions condemning the “surrender” of Ukraine to be torn apart by Putin after his agreement with Merkel on the Nord Stream -2.
Moreover, given that there are many supporters of Ukraine in the Democratic Party in the confrontation with the Kremlin, who were critical of the “deal” with Merkel on “Nord Stream -2” and even addressed earlier to Biden with a proposal to postpone the date of the meeting to an earlier date.
But then, as we all know, the Afghan president escaped from the country, the Afghan army surrendered, which led to the premature fall of Kabul, followed by the evacuation of American troops and diplomatic personnel from the capital airport, which turned into a strong image blow to the United States as a whole, not to mention Biden himself.
Well, the terrorist attack committed by representatives of ISIS-X led to the strongest drop in his personal rating during the entire period of Biden’s tenure as President of the United States. It is against this background that Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington and his meeting with Biden will take place, which he had been waiting for so long and more than once prematurely advertised.
All of the above circumstances make it clear that no significant breakthroughs in bilateral relations between Ukraine and the United States, and even more so personal ones between Biden and Zelenskyy, should not be expected as a result of this visit.
Biden has already given the main financial “carrot” – an order to the head of the State Department to allocate an additional 60 million dollars to strengthen the Ukrainian army. If you look at the prices, you can use this money to buy several new American helicopters. But it will certainly not be enough even for one Patriot air defense installation, which is so dreamed of on Bankova (where the office of the Ukrainian President is situated – ed.).
But if you look at the amount of military equipment and aircraft that the United States left to the Taliban after its departure from Afghanistan, and then compare it with a couple of hundred Javelin anti-tank installations and a couple of other decommissioned Islander coast guard boats, which Ukraine received for 7,5 years of military confrontation with Russia and its henchmen in temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, it will become clear what is our priority in the US foreign policy interests, regardless of the party to which the current President of the United States belongs.
I’m not even talking about the fact that it was high time for the Ukrainian leadership to understand the hackneyed truth – the leader of any subject state, and even more so a superpower, defends the national interests of his state. And they can change depending on external circumstances. Not to mention voters who are to support the foreign policy.
And this is exactly what is happening now. On the one hand, the main adversary for world leadership and a threat to US national interests in the vision of the Democratic Party is China, not Russia. In fact, Biden is now starting to implement the course of his opponent in the presidential election, Trump, to improve relations with the Russian Federation, which the same Democrats, due to the internal political struggle, did not allow him to complete. At the same time, they branded him an “agent of the Kremlin”, initiated an investigation by Special Prosecutor Mueller about Russia’s interference in the elections on Trump’s side, and introduced a report by ex-intelligence officer Still about Trump’s fun with Russian women of “reduced social responsibility” even before he took office.
And now Biden himself is trying to “tear” Russia away from China as the main military-political ally, which also possesses the largest natural resources, which are so necessary to achieve parity in the economic sphere. This was exactly what was discussed at the meeting with Putin in Geneva in June, to which Bankova was so nervous.
Biden allowed the completion of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and did not impose those sanctions that could interfere with the completion of its construction. Thus, “zeroing” our almost main deterrent factor in containing the full-scale military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
Well, the joint statement with Merkel on “guarantees” to Ukraine in the event that the Kremlin uses gas pipelines as a geopolitical weapon is not even “Budapest Memorandum-2”, as Ukrainian journalists managed to dub it.
As for the results of the future meeting, it is already obvious that if Biden himself could, he would generally have canceled it or postponed it indefinitely. He expects from the meeting nothing but another “headache” and criticism within the country. Of course, the agreements on cooperation in the military and space spheres, announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kuleba, will be signed. Only, according to the sources of the “Mirror of the Week”, they will not wear any direct obligations for the United States. And for us, it is military cooperation and security guarantees in the context of threats to destabilize the situation not only in Donbass in the coming months, which is crucial.
But Zelenskyy himself at the meeting “behind closed doors” is likely to get pretty bad. After all, Biden, as a politician with colossal experience, will certainly teach him the lesson of “big politics.” During his visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State Blinken made it clear to him that the American authorities are well aware of the real “fight” against corruption in Ukraine, “shadow” schemes for “cutting” budget funds by the environment of Zelenskyy and other realities of Ukrainian politics. And how he fights with oligarchs indeed, and not for his ratings. And how the head of his Office, Yermak tried to help Trump’s team in the 2020 presidential campaign. And the US presidential administration probably knows who really stands behind the “draining” of Derkach’s tapes with Poroshenko-Biden’s conversations exactly on the eve of the finish line of the US presidential election last year. In this regard, the introduction of sanctions against Derkach at the last meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, doesn’t seem to me like a coincidence.
After all, the appearance of tapes with conversations between Ermak and Rudolph Giuliani in the American media at the beginning of the summer was not at all accidental. Just then, in his interviews with the Western media, Zelenskyy bravely asked the US President in absentia: “When will we be in NATO, Mr. Biden?”
The day after tomorrow, the President of Ukraine will have the opportunity to ask him personally. And get a direct answer not only to him.
However, after Biden expounds to him in detail, providing real facts and materials from his special services, what he thinks about Zelenskyy’s fulfillment of his “homework” to combat corruption, judicial reform and reform of law enforcement agencies, compliance with “corporate law” in “Neftegaz ”, I’m afraid that Zelenskyy’s facial expression at their final press conference will not differ much from what he had during his meeting with Trump in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
It is quite possible that Zelenskyy himself already realizes that a visit to the White House “on the carpet” does not bode well for him. In an extensive Forbes magazine article last week, he was already given a clear understanding of what awaits him and what are “the modest expectations” of Biden himself from this visit. That is why the Office of the President and the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington are doing their best trying to expand and fill the program of Zelenskyy’s stay with trips to California, the opening of the Ukrainian House and other events that can be profitably presented in the Ukrainian media and give Zelenskyy a pleasant experience from filming in the film “A Trip to America” by studio “Kvartal-95”.
As for Ukraine as a state and its national interests, I am afraid, we should expect anything worthwhile or a breakthrough.