When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a comedian who entered politics in 2019, after playing the role of a Ukrainian president in a popular political satire sitcom “Servant of the People” – meets with President Joe Biden at the White House on Aug. 31, jokes may be few and far apart. Both leaders will have lots of gripes.

Biden will have an overriding gripe, which informs all U.S. efforts to help Ukraine: the epic corruption in the country which has reduced it from hero status, after the fall of communism, to troubled status. Leaders around the world throw up their hands in frustration when discussing the scope and depth of corruption in Ukraine, a resource-rich country which should be attracting foreign investment, but instead is repulsing it.

However, that neither makes Ukraine irrelevant nor does it make its predicament, as the neighbor of a cantankerous…

Read more…