Ukraine is not high on the list of this administration’s priorities. As a matter of fact, Ukraine would probably be on the list of countries that Donald Trump doesn’t even know the location of, but for the fact that he saw an opportunity to extort them into helping him out with the election. Remember, Trump is all transactional in his dealings with people. What can you do for me is the first, last, and only question. That said, on January 31, Mike Pompeo is going to Ukraine and people are wondering, what indeed can Ukraine do for Trump — this time? BuzzFeed:
Ivan Yakovina, a foreign policy columnist for Ukraine’s Novoye Vremya newsmagazine, said one reason for Pompeo’s trip could be to make sure that “no bad surprises would come from Kyiv during the Trump Senate trial.”
“I mean no word-to-word transcripts of the relevant phone calls or other documents will leak,” he said. “If I were him I would assure the Ukrainians that they will be rewarded if nothing unexpected happens during the trial. And punished if comrade Trump’s enemies will get some sort of help or comfort from Kyiv.”
Bear in mind that career diplomats do not like Pompeo, and they don’t exactly trust him after seeing the way he’s let Marie Yovanovich be done so dirty. The ones who are left in Ukraine are certainly not looking forward to this trip.
Several current and former embassy officials said they didn’t want Pompeo to visit the embassy when he had scheduled his previously planned visit, which was canceled because of heightened US–Iran tensions. Media reports at the time quoted State Department officials as saying that Pompeo wanted to avoid the embassy altogether and would hold meetings in his hotel.
Some of those embassy officials described to BuzzFeed News a feeling of being demoralized, and said they have been ordered to keep a low profile amid the impeachment saga. The embassy is currently led on an acting basis by charge d’affaires Kristina Kvien, who took the lead after Bill Taylor vacated his temporary position on Jan. 2 — the day before Pompeo was first scheduled to visit Kyiv.
Pompeo is expected to stay one night in Kyiv before departing to Minsk, Belarus, the three diplomatic sources said. Russia’s TASS news agency, citing the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, also reported Wednesday that Pompeo plans to visit Minsk on Feb. 1, as did Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Belarusian service. The timing of the Minsk visit is interesting, since it comes as Trump is reportedly considering whether to impose travel restrictions on Belarusians.
The timing of the Minsk visit is interesting indeed, and coupled with the impeachment trial in progress, one can only wonder. But then foreign affairs in the era of Trump is nothing is not inscrutable. In all events, it appears that Pompeo is off to spread the kind of sentiment that only members of the Trump administration can carry abroad, namely feelings of distrust, antipathy, and dread, in large measure. Trump and his people are beyond ugly Americans. They are grotesque Americans. And American foreign policy is in tatters.