M D Nalapat
THAT Bill and Hillary Clinton still dominate the innards of the Democratic Party is clear from the systematic manner in which key elements in the leadership are seeking to throw out Donald J Trump from office. His crime? That he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, much to the surprise of the Clintons, who had believed that the New York billionaire would be an easy candidate to defeat. Practically all foreign governments agreed with them, and their leaders kept away from Trump throughout 2016, thawing to him only after his November 8 victory. Both Shinzo Abe, Modi ignored suggestions that they meet with Candidate Trump, worried that such a move may annoy Clintons, as indeed it would have.
A few days after the results of the 8 November 2017 elections, the Clinton clique began working on a plan to either ensure that Trump gets thrown out of office before his 5-year term gets over in 2020 or gets so unpopular in office that he gets defeated to the Democratic Party nominee, who the Clintons expect will be their supporter, ideally Joe Biden. The fury that has greeted the revelation that President Trump sought an investigation by the Ukrainian government into the deals negotiated by Hunter Biden, the former Vice-President’s son, is based on worry that any scandal involving Biden Senior may toss the Democratic Party nomination to a candidate not subservient to the Clintons, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is fast catching up with Joe Biden in popularity. An almost hysterical campaign has been launched within the US (with assistance from the Clinton acolytes in the US media) to divert attention away from Hunter Biden’s claimed indiscretions to the fact that President Trump “asked a foreign government” to inquire into them.
Incidentally, asking foreign governments to inquire into allegations of wrongdoing by prominent US citizens has been Standard Operating Procedure over the decades, with several such requests having been made in the past under numerous Presidents of the US. This is the reason why an additional charge has been made against Trump, which is that he “threatened to deny defense assistance to Ukraine unless an inquiry into Hunter Biden got initiated”. Such threats and warnings of consequences have also been standard practice by numerous US officials, contrary to the exclamations of horror by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff and his Democratic Party colleagues. During the McCarthy period (1947-54), charges of treason were made against numerous US officials, who were accused of being Communist Party members in disguise. The resulting Red Scare ensured that all chances of carrying forward the cooperation between Moscow and Washington that took place during wartime was ended, and the Cold War began. The present “Blue Scare” is designed to serve the Europeanist interest in keeping Moscow firmly within the minds of the US population as Enemy Number One, and in torpedoing the efforts made by President Trump to move from an Atlanticist policy to an Indo-Pacific policy that replaces Russia with China as the primary geopolitical rival. China, which under President Xi Jinping has become the second superpower, is the beneficiary of the demonization of Russia indulged in by those loyal to the no longer viable course of keeping the Atlantic Alliance rather than the Indo-Pacific at the core of US policy.
Chairman Schiff has sought to create a cloud of suspicion against Trump, but this will dissipate should evidence begin to mount of the money made by Hunter Biden in Ukraine during the time that his father was Vice-President of the US. Those who know the Bidens ( who are regarded by their friends as a charming and dedicated couple) say that after the death of his eldest son Beau, former Vice-President Biden has developed a blind spot about Hunter, about whom he refuses to listen to any comment that is less than adulatory. They claim that Hunter Biden, unlike his brother (who followed the example of his parents in simplicity and rectitude) likes the “high roller” life, and has made himself accessible to those who seek to parlay influence into profit. Ukraine is known for its corruption and the power of its oligarchy, and it is unlikely that it was the brain or looks of Hunter Biden that got him huge remuneration packages from Ukrainians rather than his connections within the Democratic Party establishment.
The question is whether there are any elements left within the US bureaucracy who would be willing to undertake a comprehensive look into the junior Biden’s activities. Donald J Trump has several times thrown Federal employees to the wolves for the most flimsy of reasons, and there is little loyalty left for the 45th President of the US within the Executive Branch. A major mistake was the taking away of the pension of Andrew McCabe, who worked for decades in the FBI before being removed as Deputy Director just a day before his scheduled retirement. While it is a fact that McCabe was among the many within the Washington Beltway who disliked Trump, punishing him with dismissal and denial of pension while giving a “Get Out of Jail Free” pass to Hillary Clinton made no sense in a context where empathy and respect by Federal employees is crucial to the success of a President in fulfilling his mandate. Each day, the media has been filled with abusive stories about Trump, while the numerous donations made to the Clinton Foundation during the period when Hillary was the Secretary of State have gone unnoticed by the investigative agencies.
The permanent bureaucracy in the US is overall a group of hard-working and honest people, and punishing so many of them for reasons that run the risk of being seen as pique or prejudice have resulted in a sharp loss of confidence in President Trump by the permanent bureaucracy. The US Government is not a private company and should not be run as one. The errors made by President Trump in the management of his entire team of officials is assisting Chairman Schiff in his witch hunt against the US President, for there can be no other term to describe the shrillness of the accusations being hurled daily against Trump.
In times to come, “To do a Schiff” against a senior US politician will become a term commonly used in cases where the effort is not to ascertain the facts but to manufacture a case against an individual condemned as guilty from the start. Should Trump fail to come up with more and more facts about Hunter Biden and others being used as reasons to remove him from office, he is likely to go into the 2020 presidential campaign severely bruised. However, after the 2016 debacle, it is unlikely that the Democratic Party will make the mistake of choosing a Clinton nominee as its standard bearer. Politicians of integrity and grit such as Senators Harris or Warren, should they get nominated, will witness the final freeing of the Democratic Party from the tentacles of the Clinton political machine that has run so much of US policy since 1993.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.