In case there was any question about what’s really going on here:
Warns Eric Levitz in New York magazine:
In explaining why he found Trump’s requests of Zelensky alarming enough to merit reporting, Vindman said:
It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent. It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play. This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermine U.S. national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region. [my emphasis]
Vindman’s analysis here is tendentious in several respects. For one, his assertion that an investigation of Biden would “undoubtedly” result in the Democratic Party adopting a dovish posture toward Russia is mere punditry (and given the many partisan reasons Democrats have for adopting a hawkish policy toward Vladimir Putin’s regime, it’s not even very good punditry). More critically, Vindman’s statement suggests that one of his objectives, as an active military officer, was to safeguard “bipartisan support” for existing U.S. policy in Ukraine. Which is to say: He felt an obligation to prevent partisan conflict from producing a change in the orders he received from civilian leadership. That sentiment is genuinely anti-democratic. It’s a forthright assertion that U.S. policy in the region should not be subject to democratic dispute.
This is a contemptible notion in the abstract. And it’s even more so in this particular context. After all, the idea that the United States has a “national security” interest in preventing Russian hegemony in the Donbass region is not obvious, to say the least. …
In his statement, Vindman suggests that he does not want Americans to have that argument. He posits a Western-aligned Ukraine as self-evidently critical to our national security, and the maintenance of bipartisan support for that premise a duty of a uniformed officer.
And Democrats have tacitly affirmed his analysis. From the very beginning of its impeachment inquiry, Nancy Pelosi’s caucus has framed Trump’s malfeasance in Ukraine as, above all, an affront to America’s “national security.” …
But Democrats should not let their witnesses (or vestigial attachment to Cold War politics) lead them astray. The notion that America has a clear national security interest in arming Ukraine is dubious on the merits. And premising the case for Trump’s impeachment on that notion is politically misguided.