One of the greatest virtues of our time is to not believe in conspiracy theories.
I have always wondered why this is the case. Having worked and been active in politics for most of my professional career, and having developed an expertise in the intersection between politics and economics, I am very familiar with the problem of making sense out of the nonsensical. Oftentimes, you can only do that by putting what many would call a conspiratorial template over the events you are trying to analyze.
It is also worth remembering that many things we once thought were impossible, even nutsy, to believe, have turned out to be true. Let us remember that only a few short years ago, anyone who believed that the U.S. government had a secret contact program with space aliens, was considered a conspiracy nut.
Today, it is mainstream to talk about UFOs and their unearthly capabilities, which, according to a growing number of mainstream analyses, imply that they are indeed from out of this world.
I am going to apply a conspiracy theory to something a lot more serious than the UFO subject, namely the war in Ukraine. I am going to do this while recognizing the terrible tragedy that this war is, with its untold number of casualties, its millions of displaced Ukrainians, and the tens of thousands of young men who are sent to their deaths on the battlefield.
My purpose is not to make light of the war. On the contrary, I want to point to a perspective that, if anything, adds to the gravity of the situation in Ukraine.
Before I do that, let me acknowledge that just as you cannot take war lightly, you also cannot be casual with conspiracy theories. There are plenty of them that are so outrageous that only a mentally disturbed individual would take them seriously. A while back I came across a person who suggested that the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York were carried out by Israel, and that the twin towers were brought down with tactical nuclear bombs.
In short, when we speculate about causes and effects in politics, especially with reference to war, we have to recognize that we are walking a very fine line between the mad and the foresightly.
With that said, let me dive into a speculative but nevertheless important possible explanation of current events, an explanation that spans both a recent subpoena in the U.S. Congress and the just-launched military offensive in Ukraine.
The offensive was declared on Thursday, June 8th. Notably, it coincided in time with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, agreeing to let a committee in Congress examine their file on an investigation into President Biden’s alleged corruption. This agreement comes after a month-long tug-of-war between the Congressional committee and the FBI, where the law enforcement agency has tried its best to play a low-key game of willful obtuseness.
Finally, the committee chairman, a Republican by the name of James Comer, had enough with the FBI’s refusal to comply with the subpoena for documents that Comer’s committee had sent them. He scheduled a vote to hold the chief of the FBI, Director Christopher Wray, in contempt of Congress.
You do not want to be found in contempt of Congress. Not even an FBI director can do that and get away unscathed.
On June 7th, the FBI relented and started cooperating with Comer’s committee. The day after, Ukraine declared its long-awaited military offensive.
For reasons related to the subpoena in question, this looks like more than a coincidence. However, before we get there, let us make clear again that the suggestion that the timing of the Ukrainian offensive has something to do with American domestic policy is in no way meant to diminish the efforts by the Ukrainian side. They are fighting for their territorial integrity against an overwhelmingly strong adversary. Russia bears the full moral responsibility for the war.
The problem is that when it comes to war, the moral and political compasses rarely point in the same direction. In this case, there seem to be political ambitions behind the war that, sadly, appear to be tied to corruption allegations against the president of the United States.
As this Report explained on May 14th, the Congressional House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
accuses the Biden family of using “complicated transactions,” in other words moving money between multiple bank accounts in different financial institutions, in a scheme “to hide payments from foreign nationals.”
The aforementioned Congressional subpoena for FBI documents is directly related to these accusations. The FBI, namely, has known of these accusations for three years and is allegedly investigating them. However, their refusal to share what they know with the Congressional committee is out of character, and makes the FBI look politically biased in President Biden’s favor.
But how does this tie into the timing of the Ukrainian offensive?
There is a practice in the affairs of government as old as government itself: diversion politics. When a political leader is under scrutiny for missteps or failed leadership, it is a good time to create a distraction. This practice is so well established that it even made its way into political comedy. In one episode of the 1980s British show “Yes Prime Minister,” the incumbent prime minister is facing media scrutiny and is increasingly anxious how he is going to escape it. His cabinet secretary suggests that the prime minister should distract the press by accusing 76 Russian diplomats for espionage and expelling them.
But wait: are the corruption allegations against President Biden really of a nature that the president would use Ukraine as a tool for diversion politics?
To give a firm, positive answer to these questions without firm evidence would be irresponsible, even libelous. However, it is almost never possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt why things happen in politics. If there is one profession in our society where the practitioners are experts at so-called plausible deniability, it is politics.
Simply put, neither President Biden nor anyone in his administration would ever admit openly that they engage in diversion politics. Yet, given the gravity of the corruption accusations against the president, we have to consider that the president, or at least someone in his circles, considers them to be so serious that they will do anything to distract the public.
The specifics of the accusations are not complicated. According to Fox News, the FBI was informed already in 2020 that
Biden, while serving as vice president [under President Obama], was involved in a $5 million criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national in exchange for influence over policy decisions.
The confidential source that originated this investigation is considered “highly credible” by the FBI. This adds to the gravity of the accusations against Biden, implying that he may have set the best of his own country aside for personal financial gain. Needless to say, nobody in a leading political position, in any country, should be engaged in this type of behavior.
To make matters worse, Biden was the vice president when the alleged bribery took place. But things get even more serious: the original FBI document detailing the accusations was produced in June of 2020, in other words, right when the presidential campaign of that year was going into high gear.
In other words, Biden was elected president while the FBI was in possession of information from a highly credible source, alleging that the newly elected president had been corrupted by foreign interests.
Not only are these allegations damning for the sitting president, but they are also very bad for the FBI. When the agency was informed by its “highly credible” source of Biden’s potential corruption, it had for three years been engaged in a scheme to falsely accuse President Trump of colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election.
The FBI did this despite strong indications, later substantiated by special counsel John Durham, that the Russia collusion accusations were a hoax.
Let us follow the implications from the accusations against Biden and the FBI just one or two steps out from the substance behind them. We now have a federal law enforcement agency that at least in part makes law enforcement decisions based on political preferences. If the FBI leadership is affiliated with the Democrat party, as implied by its choices regarding the Trump and Biden investigations, then that loyalty also goes in the opposite direction.
Bluntly speaking: if the FBI ran cover for Biden in 2020 by making the political decision to not investigate the bribery accusations against him, then the Biden administration should be willing to return the favor.
The time to do that would be now, when the FBI has given up fighting the Congressional subpoena.
When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives in January, they immediately launched a committee investigation into the allegations that Joe Biden and his family had been involved in potentially corrupt financial transactions. They requested documents from the U.S. Department of Treasury on “suspicious activity reports” from banks “in relation to the Biden family” and their associates.
The inquiry sprawled and led to a subpoena request to the FBI for documents related to their investigation—or possible lack thereof—based on the bribery accusations they had received in 2020. Notably, this shifted the primary focus of the investigation from Biden and his family to the FBI. On May 3rd, The Hill reported that Congressman James Comer, the Republican Chairman of the Oversight Committee, was not directly focusing the committee on President Biden, but on “what, if anything, the FBI has done to verify” the accusations against Biden.
In other words, there were strong implications of political bias in some of the FBI’s work, and the consequences are formidable. Had they been serious about investigating Biden in 2020, Biden might not have won the election. Therefore, one cannot rule out that Biden feels a sense of gratitude toward the FBI and would be willing to return the favor.
The only question is when and how he would do that. The opportunity presented itself when the Oversight Committee ended up in a direct confrontation with FBI Director Wray over his refusal to comply with their subpoena. According to NBC News, Committee Chairman James Comer had finally had enough and planned to use the committee’s legal teeth to force the FBI director’s hand:
The FBI has offered to let all members of the House Oversight Committee view a redacted document that GOP Chairman James Comer claims describes an allegation of a bribe to Joe Biden when he was vice president, said a source familiar with negotiations around the panel’s subpoena to acquire the document.
The NBC News reports that the FBI made this offer shortly before the committee was going to vote on “a measure to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress.”
It would have been nothing short of scandalous if the chief of the FBI would have been held in contempt over this matter. It would have made the FBI look exactly as politically biased and favorable to the Democrats as many Republicans and conservatives already believe that it is.
In other words, the FBI could no longer drag its feet on refusing to cooperate with the Congressional committee.
For a Democrat with enough political power and a sense of gratitude toward the FBI, there is only one thing left to do: resort to diversion politics. What better diversion strategy than to indict a former president? As Breitbart.com reports, on Thursday, June 8th, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted former President Donald Trump on charges that he mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House.
Or better still, why not ramp up a war that is already on everyone’s mind?
Ukraine on Thursday launched its highly anticipated counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces, sources familiar confirmed to Fox News. Ukrainian fighters are making a large push to expel Russian invaders in the city of Zaporizhzhia, in the country’s southeast.
We can only hope that the Ukrainians prevail. If they don’t, the consequences would be terrible for them. In addition, if the offensive fails and it turns out that its timing really was a matter of American diversion politics, then there will be a heavy moral burden to spread around Washington.