The campaign world knew that Joe Biden would announce his presidential bid Thursday in an early morning video release. But few were expecting it would be so dark and funereal.
Filled with extensive footage of white supremacists marching with torches, scenes of Nazi and Confederate flags and pegged to President Trump’s reaction to the 2017 racist march in Charlottesville [Virginia], the 3-minute, the 30-second spot was an unlikely announcement video — especially for Uncle Joe, one of the last of the happy warriors.
[...]Politico might have pointed out that in addition to being a happy warrior, he was for years a staunch supporter of the infamously pro-neo-nazi regime of Ukraine's President Peto Poroshenko, who thank God lost his bid for reelection earlier this month.
So I'm having a hard time squaring that with Biden's words in the campaign launch video. To return to the Politico report (which features the video):
The former vice president spoke gravely about the violence in Charlottesville and the Klansmen and neo-Nazis who sparked it — “their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 30s.”He didn't have to cast as far back as the 1930s. From The Nation's May 2018 report, America’s Collusion With Neo-Nazis:
§ That stormtrooper-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly ethnic Russians, and other “impure” citizens are widespread throughout Kiev-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that eventually inflamed Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s.
§ And that the police and official legal authorities do virtually nothing to prevent these neofascist acts or prosecute them. On the contrary, Kiev has officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, and more.
§ Or that Israel’s official annual report on anti-Semitism around the world in 2017 concluded that such incidents had doubled in Ukraine and the number “surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined.” By the region, the report meant the total in all of Eastern Europe and all former territories of the Soviet Union.As The Nation clearly explains and as the Ukrainian-American author Lev Golinkin clearly explained in 2017 for The Hill (The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda), it is nonsense that the Russians made up or exaggerated stories about the Poroshenko regime's involvement with neo-Nazis.
Here readers outside the U.S. might ask whatever possessed Biden to launch his campaign with references that bring to mind his tolerance for neo-Nazis.
Perhaps Biden's advisors wanted to inoculate him as best they could against the point I've brought up, should it become an issue in the Democratic primary or the national election if he wins the primary. One thing is certain. Biden would have virtually the entire U.S. mainstream media on his side if he dismissed as Russian propaganda evidence about Poroshenko's involvement with neo-Nazis. As The Nation observed:
Americans cannot be faulted for not knowing these facts. They are very rarely reported and still less debated in the mainstream media, whether in newspapers or on television. To learn about them, Americans would have to turn to alternative media and to their independent writers, which rarely affect mainstream accounts of the new Cold War.And yet:
The significance of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and at least the tacit official U.S support or tolerance for it should be clearly understood:
§ This did not begin under President Trump but under President George W. Bush, when then Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s “Orange Revolution” began rehabilitating Ukraine’s wartime killers of Jews, and it grew under President Obama, who, along with Vice President Joseph Biden, were deeply complicit in the Maidan coup and what followed.
Then too the American mainstream media scarcely noticed. Still worse, when a founder of a neo-Nazi party and now repackaged speaker of the Ukrainian parliament visited Washington in 2017, he was widely feted by leading American politicians, including [Republican] Senator John McCain and Representative Paul Ryan. ...When it comes to Ukraine, government officials and politicians on both sides of the political aisle, and the media outlets that act as their mouthpieces have a great deal to keep under the rug. They're able to do this because they know many American voters couldn't find Ukraine on a map.