Advisors to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council have coordinated influential op-eds in mainstream news outlets calling for more assistance to Ukraine – even slamming the prospect of negotiations as “damaging and counterproductive” – while repeatedly failing to disclose their financial interests to the lobbying group’s members: defense industry giants and the Ukrainian government.
The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which describes itself as a “strong international voice for business in Ukraine now promoting U.S.-Ukraine business relations,” represents over 200 companies including leading defense firms such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin. Many of these members, therefore, are direct beneficiaries of the multi-billion-dollar aid packages authorized by the White House for Ukraine.
Despite this apparent conflict of interest, several Senior Advisors to the USUBC have written op-eds in mainstream news outlets publicly calling for a continuation of the Russia-Ukraine War, even calling negotiations “damaging and counterproductive.” The authors have repeatedly failed to include their affiliation with the USUBC in the articles or their biographies.
Among the Senior Advisors to the USUBC are Managing Director for Global Policy at the George W. Bush Institute David Kramer, former United States Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, and Atlantic Council Director John Herbst.
Together, the trio authored an op-ed for The Atlantic in March: “The Only Realistic Answer to Putin.”
“In Ukraine, the Ukrainians are the ones doing the fighting, and tragically the dying; the United States has no soldiers on the ground,” they lament.
“But we have every interest in providing the military support Ukraine needs to win this war and drive every Russian occupying and invading force off Ukrainian territory. No one wants the war to end sooner than the Ukrainians, but they also believe, and with good reason, that they can win, if they get the assistance they need soon. Now is not the time to snatch Russian defeat from Ukraine’s jaws of victory.”
Taylor and Kramer also pushed for more aid to Ukraine in The Washington Post in their op-ed, “The West Should do Whatever it Takes to Help Ukrainians Survive the Winter.”
Echoing a similar sentiment, the pair call on the U.S. to provide “Ukraine with missile defense, anti-drone, and antiaircraft systems” and “organize and lead a major public and private, international humanitarian effort to help the Ukrainian people make it through the winter.”
“We should send massive numbers of portable generators, fuel, repair parts for electricity generation and distribution nodes, blankets, winter clothes, camp stoves, plastic sheeting, building repair supplies, internet connection devices, other communication networks, and food. We should send these supplies by rail, road, sea and air.”
Kramer peddled a similar narrative in a November 2022 op-ed “Don’t Go Wobbly on Ukraine,” where he posted that “Ukrainian victory is in America’s national interest. Calls for negotiations now are damaging and counterproductive.”
“The Ukrainians have demonstrated that if the United States and our allies continue to provide the kind of military and economic support Ukraine needs, they will know how to deploy such weapons effectively against the Russians. Yet there is a rising chorus of voices clamoring for a negotiated end to Russia’s war against Ukraine, creating music to ears in the Kremlin while demoralizing the brave Ukrainians doing the fighting,” he writes before calling for continued aid packages and weaponry.
“So a Ukrainian victory is possible if we continue to support Ukraine with the weapons it needs and the financial assistance to cover its hemorrhaging budget. Ukrainian victory is in our national interests, to ensure that Putin and his forces never again invade Ukraine or any other neighbor for that matter. Negotiations may, at some point, be necessary, but calls for them now are incredibly counterproductive and damaging to Ukraine.”
Since the onset of the war, Kramer has also published articles titled “Defeating Putin in Ukraine Is Vital to the Future of Democracy,” emphasizing that “the best hope for democracy in Russia—and all of Eurasia—is for the international community to support Ukraine in its efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin.”
He has also published the op-ed “There Is No Substitute for Ukrainian Victory.”