Tragedies are not just a function of the flawed characters of those they destroy but of circumstances that play well with their victim’s shortcomings and weaknesses. Zelenskiy entered on to the world stage when it was cracking under the weight of momentous shifts that were depleting his chief ally’s competitive advantages. He joined the US in embrace at a time of American decay and division at home and denial and delusion abroad; when America’s great political culture of compromise began devolving into intolerance, ideological prejudice, eschewing all principle, republicanism downgrading to authoritarianism, and republican ‘missionarianism’ distorting to messianism and maintenance of its liberal empire at almost all cost and by any means. Indispensable, exceptional America’s enemies and friends are expendable.
Zelenskiy’s failures also have made him eminently expendable and, in some ways, obligatorily so. On every score – war versus peace, corruption versus the rule of law, and authoritarianism versus republican rule – Zelenskiy disappointed and did so to his peril and that of his American sponsors. On each score, the negative trends under Zelenskiy during wartime had their origins in his pre-war struggles to consolidate his power. They cannot be written off solely to the effect of the war. They are a direct function of Ukraine’s less than republican political culture and the resulting character of Mr. Zelenskiy as well. And in each case, the failure provides incentive to elements among his former acolytes in the US and the West to turn their back on him and his poor compatriots. As a failed war leader his ‘green’ credentials were exposed. Zelenskiy’s failure to overcome his and his country’s corruption plagued the war effort, and their theft of their donors’ wealth alienated those donors, who had only a year prior lavished praise, cash, and weapons upon him. In addition to betraying the West’s professed value of the rule of law, Zelenskiy did not just weaken but now in the throes of war is dismantling Ukraine’s weak republic, violating the West’s once most sacred value, nowadays its most valuable simulacra and subterfuge. Now, with Ukraine ever slowly, gradually but very clearly losing the NATO-Russia Ukrainian War, the US and NATO are scapegoating and throwing its little Churchill and his country under the bus in large part, again ironically, because of the needs of republican power struggles, elections. The former comic is little more than a sad clown with his circus closed down. Below, I review Zelenskiy’s record on the three fronts of peace, corruption, and ‘democracy’ (republican rule).