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

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

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy