That Joe Biden’s interaction with Ukrainian leaders has become a central question in the attempt to impeach the well-hated Donald Trump should mislead no one about the former vice president’s virtues. Biden is a faithful servant of U.S. imperialism, and nowhere was that more clear than with his role intervening in and interfering with Ukraine’s politics to benefit U.S. finance capital.
The establishment magazine, Foreign Affairs, made this clear in an Oct. 30, 2016, article: “No one in the U.S. government has wielded more influence over Ukraine than Vice President Joe Biden.” The article even called Biden “the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine policy.”
At the time Biden worked in tandem with Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state when the U.S. boosted the anti-Russian grouping in the Ukraine leading up to the “Maidan revolution” there. Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s agent in Ukraine, boasted that the U.S. poured $5 billion into subverting Ukrainian politics in that period.
Biden’s role was to rally support for the regime in Kiev against Russia and the regions in eastern Ukraine that rebelled against the U.S.-backed, right-wing regime. It was in his hands to withhold aid if the competing forces in the new Ukrainian regime strayed from serving U.S. corporate and strategic interests.
The 2016 Foreign Affairs article noted Biden’s “long track record of promoting a robust American role in Eastern Europe — from supporting NATO’s enlargement to pushing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s.”
In other words, Biden was, and is, an imperialist politician, with a record of supporting U.S. and NATO expansion eastward, and he took an active part in U.S. warmaking, subversion and political intervention. From 2014 to 2016, Biden acted as an old-time colonial governor for the U.S. in Ukraine. He got the new government a $17.5 billion International Monetary Fund package and guided the reorganization of the gas industry and the police force there.
He oversaw privatization and austerity in service to finance capital, including raising the retirement age for workers. He helped introduce fracking. His son Hunter Biden became an executive in the gas production company, Burisma Holdings.
Trump tried to show that Biden threatened the Ukraine’s leaders to serve the narrow interests of his family. That’s the kind of corruption Trump understands. It is no less a crime against the Ukrainian people, however, to threaten that country’s leaders into imposing policies serving the general interests of U.S. monopoly capitalism.