Alexander Vindman Is an American and a Jew, Not a Ukrainian

Oct. 30 2019

Currently at the center of the news cycle involving President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a U.S. army officer serving as an expert on Ukrainian affairs for the National Security Council. John Podhoretz notes a common “theme” in the assaults on Vindman’s credibility raised by three television commentators friendly to the president:

The theme is: Vindman was born in Ukraine, he’s therefore Ukrainian, and so maybe there’s something untoward going on here.

[T]he fact is that Ukraine is not Vindman’s “homeland,” [as the former congressman Sean Duffy stated on CNN]. For one thing, he was taken from there by his parents when he was three, and Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. For another, Vindman was born a Jew, and to promote the idea that the land of the USSR ever constituted any kind of “homeland” for any Jewish person is an infamy.

Jews were subjected to unique persecution in the USSR both because of classic Marxist ideas about “the Jewish problem” and because of the historical anti-Semitism that was a lamentably common feature of life in Ukraine for centuries. The idea that Vindman would have grown up with any sense of fealty to the Ukrainian Volk is patently absurd, not only because he (and his twin brother) are clearly ardent American patriots who have committed their lives to this country’s service but because I have yet to meet a single Jew who came to America from the Soviet Union who feels any kind of personal or historical tie there beyond any relatives who might have been left behind.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American politics, Donald Trump, Soviet Jewry, Ukraine, Ukrainian Jews

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy