Joe Biden Builds an International Dynastyby Will Grigg
May. 19, 2014
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In Russia, they are called “oligarchs”; in China, they are known as “princelings.” By whatever designation, the people under discussion are elites who are placed in charge of immensely profitable enterprises as a result of family relationships with political figures, rather than through their own industry or private inheritance.
Hunter Biden, the youngest son of the sitting vice-president, is a splendid example of an American princeling. He was recently appointed head of legal affairs at Burisma, a major government-aligned Ukrainian natural gas company. He describes his role as consulting with the company “on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility....” A more honest assessment would be that he is positioning himself and his family to profit from Ukraine's energy sector if the country becomes a major energy exporter to the European Union.
Vice President Biden has been an outspoken proponent of involvement in Ukraine's conflict with Russia, and his son's position presents him with an obvious conflict of interest. Our Constitution, laws, and traditions require neutrality in conflicts between foreign nations, like the one building between Russia and Ukraine. Joe Biden obviously cannot be a neutral party in that dispute. But oligarchs and princelings aren't bound by the rules that apply to the rest of us.