Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky compared governing Ukraine to running a business during a recent address to a corporate lobbying group and praised U.S. military aid, saying “Your brilliant defense systems — such as HIMARS or Bradleys — are already uniting our history of freedom with your enterprises.”
Zelensky thanked U.S. financial and investment giants such as BlackRock, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs for their cooperation since Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion.
“Everyone can become a big business by working with Ukraine”, Zelensky said during a Jan. 23 video address at the 2023 winter meeting of the National Association of State Chambers in Boca Raton.
The U.S. policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons has been a windfall for U.S. defense firms, wrote Antiwar.com editor Dave DeCamp. Many of the weapons being sent to Ukraine are made by defense contractor and manufacturer Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Austin was a member of the Raytheon board of directors before he was appointed to the highest-ranking job at the Pentagon.
Ukraine’s reconstruction “will be the largest economic project of our time in Europe,” Zelensky told the business group.
Zelensky also praised Elon Musk’s Starlink company for its tech support and called for more Western weapons shipments, including Patriot missiles and Abram tanks.
The Ukrainian leader portrayed the proxy war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine as a battle for the soul of the Western-led capitalist order, wrote Ben Norton, founder and editor of Geopolitical Economy Report.
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U.S. military aid is an example of the “big business” opportunities American corporations can find in Ukraine, Zelensky said. “We are defending freedom and property.”
Zelensky thanked the corporate executives at the conference “for this opportunity to address those who create the globally important economic strength of America.” American brands such as BlackRock, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Starlink and Westinghouse “have already become part of our, Ukrainian, way,” he added.
Private U.S. companies secure government contracts with the help of U.S. officials walking through the revolving door between public service and businesses that take in large amounts of government cash, The Intercept reported.
“The revolving door is a longstanding feature of the military-industrial complex, and it can lead to distorted policy decisions based on the financial interests of former government employees who use their expertise and contacts in government to press policies that may or may not be in the national interest,” said William D. Hartung, an arms control expert with the Center for International Policy. “This phenomenon is now spreading to efforts to get Silicon Valley firms to collaborate with the Pentagon on issues like artificial intelligence and drone image recognition technology.”
If Biden is marching toward another war, who is advising him? Some point to WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm that offers geopolitical and policy expertise to business leaders. Co-founded in 2017, WestExecm is packed with former top Democratic national security and foreign policy officials who raised money for the Biden campaign, Politico reported.
WestExec was co-founded by Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Other retired senior officials who have worked at WestExec include former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro; Lisa Monaco, current deputy attorney general and former counterterrorism adviser to Barack Obama; Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre, and Nitin Chadda, all former Obama officials. Add to those Robert O. Work, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense for both Obama and Trump; Avril Haines, Biden’s director of national intelligence; David S. Cohen, who served as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency starting in January 2021; and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Weeks after the November 2020 presidential election that brought Biden to power, Politico quoted WestExec in a Nov. 23, 2020 article, describing itself as “quite literally, the road to the Situation Room … The road everyone associated with WestExec Advisors has crossed many times en route to meetings of the highest national security consequences.”
Images: President-elect Joe Biden greets supporters, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) / Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)