Wed | Sep 27, 2023

Diogenes’ work is never done

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2023 | 12:29 AM


Sometimes one story dominates the international news cycle, often to the detriment of other reportage; like the recent emphasis placed on the initial hesitancy of Germany’s government to agree for Leopard tanks they produce to be exported to Ukraine. This became headline news regurgitated over several days, until the USA agreed to send their own Abrams tanks, so the Germans acceded to the demands for NATO countries to donate their Leopard tanks. Almost completely lost in the shuffle was the story about several top Ukrainian officials caught with their hands in the cookie jar, at the very same time that the Leopard tank saga was taking place. Following local investigative reporting of lavish lifestyles, inflated food prices for the military, bribery and other forms of wartime profiteering, several senior government officials resigned. The defence minister is still under intense scrutiny, after his deputy, several regional governors and many other deputy ministers were forced to quit top posts. Of course, this practice happens in every war where greedy humans are involved. In the US Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln denounced profiteers as worse than traitors, and in World War 2 future President Harry S. Truman became a national hero for his fight against profiteers.

According to published estimates at the end of 2022, more than US$100 billion was donated in commitments for Ukraine during the first 10 months since the Russian invasion from a total of 46 countries around the world. That’s a tremendous amount of money, weaponry, commodities and other material to be suddenly floating around in a country that was 122 out of 180 counties in the 2021 Transparency International rankings.

Sadly, corruption has long been a major issue and a way of life in Ukraine. Sordid facts are easily available online. It’s certainly worth reading, especially in light of President Zelenskyy’s new demands for fighter jets, made immediately after the Leopard tank deal was finalised. In producing sensational headlines, some international news media houses may well be losing track of the real story. About 2,350 years ago Diogenes the Cynic died in Corinth, Greece. He became best known for travelling around Athens in broad daylight with a lantern, saying that he was looking for honest men. Diogenes’ work is never done.