The EU does not prevent war in Europe – let’s make sure it does not lead to an EU army

 

One of the biggest errors  the pro EU advocates advance is the idea that the EU prevents war in Europe. As we are now seeing, there is the opposite danger. The EU’s actions and words in the Ukraine have helped create a dangerous power vacuum which Mr Putin is exploiting for Russian advantage. Whilst it is Russia which today threatens the peace and has acted illegally and rashly, we do need to study carefully the origins of this flare up.

The intervention of the EU in the break up of the former Yugoslavia also failed to prevent war, and some would say made that conflict more bitter and damaging.

The EU was all too ready to encourage  those who wished to overthrow the elected President of the Ukraine because he had declined to advance the interests of the EU in the Ukraine, preferring a stronger relationship with Russia.  I have no time myself for the evicted President, nor for the way Russia is behaving. The main threat to peace comes today from the Russian army, which seems to have taken control of Crimea on the pretext that they were invited in by the Crimean government, against the wishes of the Ukrainian government. Russia has violated the sovereignty of the Ukraine against international law.

I do however, think the EU should be more careful in how it proceeds. The President of the Ukraine  might well have been evicted in an election quite soon if as the EU thinks enough people in the Ukraine prefer the EU to Russia. A little patience would have allowed an orderly transition to a newly elected person with more moral and political  authority than the present interim government of the Ukraine.

Instead, pre-emptive and illegal action against an unpleasant regime led to the deaths of protesters, and the deaths of some police, before enough police defected and the regime fell. There is now a power vacuum, with a new unelected government who cannot command the support of the east of their country. This has allowed Russia to enter, claiming an invitation, with a wish to win a referendum to split the country. The west has been wrong footed. The Russians have taken the initiative and have gained a stranglehold over the Crimea well before the interim Ukrainian government or its friends in the west could organise any response on the ground.

The EU does not have the military power to take on Russia. The west will have to look to the US President to lead its response, as only his words are backed by overarching military power which even Russia respects. It looks as if the western response will be controlled, and based on imposing sanctions against Russia all the time she has troops occupying parts of Ukraine. Russia is likely to press on with its plan to hold a referendum and secure the consent of the Crimean people to the return of Russian government. If the west is lucky from here the limit of Russia’s ambitions will be the Crimea.

The UK should stay well out of this conflict. We should also make it clear that the UK does  not want to be part of a common EU approach on this matter, and certainly has no wish to commit troops to any common purpose EU force to intervene. The UK has never signed up to the concept of a common EU army. We must make sure this type of crisis does not lead to one by stealth that involves us. The world does not need another large power seeking to enforce its views of the political future on smaller states.

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115 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Exactly.

    Having prevented wars in Europe was always an absurd claim for the EU, rather like the claims that they create jobs, encourage cheap energy, are cheap to run or are democratic.

    • Mark W
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Ha ha ha, the cheap energy would be Russian gas. You couldn’t make it up. Putin only has to turn the gas valves off and sell it to China (that country holding the US debt just in case Obama doesn’t do as he’s told).

      • APL
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Mark W: “(that country holding the US debt just in case Obama doesn’t do as he’s told).”

        That is very much a double edged sword. The suggestion is that China should blackmail the US by threatening to sell all its US debt instruments. In that scenario all the US has to do is …

        Repudiate the foreign held US debt instruments. Poof! China no longer has any leverage, China’s economy crashes, and Americans have to source their cheap tat in some other third world country.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic–The EU manages to create discontent at every turn. “Scotland in Europe” was what caused some in Scotland (not a majority) to want to rat on the UK and jump ship. Catalonia the same. What do they think is going to happen when one of these and other places gets violent? The fact that free movement is a foundation of the EU should just on its own be sufficient reason for us not to want to be a Member. There are a few who benefit from the increased trade but there are no other advantages whatsoever.

    • Hope
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I am astounded by the cheek of the comments from Hague, the government and the EU. After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Greece and Italy what moral authority or any other authority whatsoever do these people think they have? it is okay for the west or EU to take over any country it wishes or to invade and create regime change but not for Russia. It might be a good argument for Russia to say they are only copying the west!

      Moreover, what legitimacy does the creation of the state EU (Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution) has with any of the people from the 27 nations? Who does Ashton speak for? She was not elected by any UK citizen. And why should the UK taxpayer pay for her because we have a foreign office?

      On a more minor point, we have the BBC Trust chairman and its DG not answerable to parliament because they are unelected Lords! So they cannot be held to account by our elected MPs! Coalition introduces state controlled press while giving £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money for propaganda to promote closer union to the EU! We need a radical change at Westminster.

      • Timaction
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        I agree. The EU has interfered where it was not needed or welcomed but lets remember who created it and took us under its control by incremental stealthy treaty change.
        The LibLabCons are wholly responsible for our EU membership treachery and are content for ever closer union against the wishes of the indigenous population, particularly the English. Further exacerbated by the free movement of 27 other nations into these very overcrowded and indebted islands.
        I thought the Maastricht Treaty expresses a wish for greater military cooperation (EU speak for eventual take over)? Mr Cameron has done this with the French and our future aircraft carriers will be shared? All this under the guise of austerity whilst he borrows to give away £12 billion in foreign aid. As if we didn’t notice.
        The follies of the legacy parties continues to our detriment.
        There is only one solution.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Hague used to con us that he was a Eurosceptic. Where and when did he take his thirty pieces of silver? Could it be that he has an eye on a lucrative appointment to a board somewhere after he leaves politics just like some others I could mention, and to retain his so-called ‘Eurosceptic’ position would jeopardise it?

        Why else would Hague change the colour of his cloak?

        I have seen this so many times before. These politicians claim they are Eurosceptic to get elected, but in truth, they are no such thing. He’s turning out to be just as big a rat as all the rest who have gone before. He sounds ever more Europhile with every utterance he makes. I say get rid of him, and replace him with somebody who speaks for the UK, not Europe.

        Tad Davison

        Cambridge

        • Aunty Estab
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Hauge demonstrated his contempt for us all when he wasted 10,000 pounds of our money stuffing an old snake that had been in the foreign office since the nineteenth century,a headline in our local paper at the time announced “Snake swallows cash” . How do so many people with so little sense get elected?

      • uanime5
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        I am astounded by the cheek of the comments from Hague, the government and the EU. After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Greece and Italy what moral authority or any other authority whatsoever do these people think they have? it is okay for the west or EU to take over any country it wishes or to invade and create regime change but not for Russia.

        You seem to have ignored that these countries were allowed to elect their leaders; they weren’t annexed by the US.

        Who does Ashton speak for? She was not elected by any UK citizen.

        Neither were any of the Lords.

        • Mark B
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you on the Lords but, they do not have any real power and so are generally benign. The Commission on the other hand does have real power and can claim to speak for its Members and its Citizens. But I have never been asked whether or not I wish these people to speak for me. And although that is a very small difference to some, it is significant to me.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Ashton has a huge amount of power for one individual not elected by the people.
          The Lords have very limited power as individuals so your comperison is not valid Uni.

  2. Mark W
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    What can I say. The EU and west in general have been irresponsible in a few parts of the world since the Arab spring. Now they’ve wound up a serious player.

    But the EU institution (not European people’s) is a menace to us. My enemy’s enemy is my friend. I’m concerned that there’s an internet whisper that Russian military aircraft have entered uk airspace. We should disown the EU, maybe Putin can rid us of our menace.

  3. arschloch
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    John you never let the facts get in the way of a good anti EU story. So its all the EUs fault that the Ukraine now has a power vacuum? Here is a report from the FT with claims that the US was spending around $20 million a week on supporting the opposition. I think its already been pointed out what sort of “democrats” the opposition is made up of. If anything, after a its illegal invasion of Iraq and its ongoing intervention in Afghanistan (the current explanation seems to be that we are there to promote education for girls) its the USA not the EU that needs to be restrained in attempts to destroy the international system.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/367de268-8f41-11e3-be85-00144feab7de.html#axzz2usY7EMaP

    • Mark W
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      You have a point. I’m trying to find out where the EU slapped down the USA for this or the timing of the uprising just as the elected government pulled out of an agreement with the EU. Hmmm

      • The PrangWizard
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        And I now learn that in 1994 our then government signed a Memorandum with Russia and the US to guarantee the integrity of the Ukraine after they gave up their nukes.

        I am absolutely astounded and outraged. The arrogance and dishonesty, the betrayal. Is Cameron going to sacrifice more English lives in a foreign place? Who the hell did they think they were, our then British leadership? Still leaders of a world power? Dangerous and deluded. I can barely contain my anger. And we have Hague going swanning about in Kiev racking up the tension by saying it’s the worst crisis this century. What is he going to agree to do? What is he going to say next? Have we given fraudulent guarantees to anyone else?

        It is time the Elites were removed. The British State must be ended. It does nothing for us, especially the English. They need to get off our backs. Remember – political activism and violence pays, especially when directed against the British State. ‘Authorised by Government’.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      From what I can gather the EU was not just a passive party innocently offering a trade deal. It seems the EU invested a lot of money in a propaganda campaign, and we heard from a British farmer in Ukraine, who said he had lost his workforce because the EU was paying people to demonstrate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      The pattern so far has been that first NATO agrees to provide military defence to a new territory, and then when it has been secured against external attack the EU can move in to provide the civil administration.

      It could be said that the US has been using both NATO and the EU to further its global interests. It could equally be said that the EU has been using the US to do what it very much wants to do for itself but cannot yet do, which is to make sure that there is sufficient military muscle, including nuclear muscle, available to ensure the defence of its new acquisitions against external attack.

      The crucial point here is that if there is any significant potential military threat to a territory that the EU is eying up for absorption into its “non-imperial empire”, as Barroso famously described it:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1557143/Barroso-hails-the-European-empire.html

      then that territory has to be brought into NATO before it can be brought into the EU; but some in the EU have been jumping the gun with Ukraine as they tried to do with Georgia, by trying to get those territories into the EU and under its civil government without first securing it through the NATO military alliance.

      This is from 2008:

      http://euobserver.com/foreign/26638

      “EU should save Ukraine from Russia, NGO says”

      while this is from just a month ago:

      http://euobserver.com/foreign/122972

      “EU commissioner calls for Ukraine accession promise”

      Just for the record, this is how that pattern has developed in the past: of the present 28 EU member states, these 22 became NATO members BEFORE they became EEC/EC/EU members:

      1949 Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, UK
      1952 Greece
      1955 West Germany (reunited Germany 1990)
      1982 Spain
      1999 Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland
      2004 Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia
      2009 Croatia

      These 4 were declared neutrals before they joined the EEC/EC/EU:

      Ireland, Austria, Sweden and Finland

      Malta had been in the “Non-Aligned Movement” since 1973 but left it in 2004; similarly Cyprus had joined that in 1961 but left in 2004, and is still argued over by two longstanding NATO members.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Another great post Denis. Speaks volumes, and its nice to know there are people who have a good grasp of how the underhanded way the EU works. Perhaps one day, others will see it too.

        Tad

      • uanime5
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I suspect they became NATO members before joining the EU because the requirements for joining NATO are lower.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          No, it’s because military security must come before bossing people about on civilian matters, and the EEC/EC/EU could not and still cannot provide that military security.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      *Penny drops*

      Now we know why America wants us to be in the EU so much.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        The EU enthusiastic Leftists have been doing the capitalist Americans’ bidding all along. Soft expansionism.

    • Gary
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      And there we had McCain rabble rousing in Kiev’s Maiden sq and Victoria Nuland caught on-air fluking the EU for not being sufficiently warlike! And now it’s the EU’s fault?

      And where does that leave us when our best buddy, our Special Friend, is banging the wardrums, yet again?

      It must be the EU’s fault!

      It is becoming comical, if it weren’t so tragic.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        The EU and NATO have become intertwined, as shown by Eurocorps being described on its website as “A force for NATO and the European Union”:

        http://www.eurocorps.org/

        and the US has a tendency to see both of them as being there to serve the purposes of the US above all else.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Gary: hear hear.

        Damned if EU does. Damned if EU doesn’t. Pathetic.

  4. Richard1
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Let us also make sure this belligerence by Russia is used to get shale gas moving in the UK and elsewhere.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Lionheart–Have just read that fully a half of Europe’s natural gas comes through Ukraine. As somebody said above, You couldn’t make it up. Thank God we have our politicians to make sure there is no overdependence on any one source (Joke)–and this of all sources. We should immediately reverse everything to do with coal by putting some real effort in to clean coal technology and underground (sea) coal gasification. And/or we should bring back Town Gas, Water gas and Producer Gas, and that’s without mentioning Shale on which we are pussyfooting around ridiculously slowly. Instead our priorities seem to be aimed at stopping farmers shooting crows. It’s a gr8 life if you don’t weaken. We have turned in to a bunch of soppy left wing loony useless wimps.

  5. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Well said.

    I’d agree with every sentiment.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    We may say that Putin is not stupid and he needed to flex his military muscles as this power vacuum came into being and according to reports he underlines that this is not war. Ukraine’s independence ,economic growth and the retention of its own nuclear arsenal at this point in time makes for a situation where gains and expansion can be made by Europe or Russia and if the EU were to gain control then borders would be open again as the situation is all over Europe .

    • MickC
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Err, Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons-thank God!

      Russia has perfectly understandably reacted to protect its national interest in the region. The current Ukrainian “government” appears to be unstable in the extreme-no-one knows who they really are or what they stand for.

      No competent national leader could allow substantial military assets, such as those Russia has in the Ukraine, to be put at risk by such instability.

      Quite why the Western leaders and their supporters in the MSM do not understand this raises serious questions about their real intentions.

      Even our host seems to be going along with the “bad” Russia schtick.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        According to WIKI it does, that is why I made the point following comments yesterday , that the treaty was signed for cooperation only to help with a potential possibility of nuclear warfare and not conventional warfare as D Cooper outlined. I was wondering what the response would be.

      • stred
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Russia had agreed to lend $15bn to the Ukraine and Russian banks have lent $28bn. The interim government has said $35bn is missing from the Ukraine treasury, some sent to unknown foreign accounts.

        Reading the Wiki story on Mrs Tymoshenko, who was let out of prison but is not supported by many voters, after being accused of all sorts of crimes and becoming rich by dodgy dealings in the gas business, anyone would conclude that Ukrainian politics is best described as ‘rats in a sack’, and keep as far away as possible. Most foreign reviews of the case seem to believe she was stitched up by the judiciary, who were under political control. Mr Putin seemed to get on with her better and thought she was good to deal with. Their agreement to sell gas directly and cut out the intermediate dealers was the cause of the accusations. (sentence left out ed)
        If Russia wants its money back, Vlad ought to offer to keep the ousted president in his hotel until they find where it has gone. This would be popular with the new government. He could also offer to abide by a new presidential election, held as quickly as possible, with international observers and guarding the candidates from poisoning and ‘accidents’. Then they might find someone that can be trusted.

        Also, if the UK is willing to let Scotland split, then why should UKraine object if parts of its territory vote to break away?

  7. oldtimer
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a mess for which the EU and certain members (think certain foreign ministers in Kiev in the past few weeks) bear a share of responsibility. The Russian response, to protect its interest in the Crimea – access to the Black Sea, was predictable. So far it has been quite clever, gaining control without, so far, a shot being fired. And soon, no doubt, a referendum will result in the Russian majority voting to leave the Ukraine and joining Russia. A master stroke of EU diplomacy.

  8. Andyvan
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Russia acting illegally? America and the EU have openly fermented revolution in the Ukraine. They have paid protesters, supported extreme Nazi groups, inflamed debate, ignored Putin’s plea for compromise and attempted to undermine Russia’s naval base in the Crimea. They have directly threatened Russia’s vital interests and cultural ties in the Ukraine. What would we do if we were Russia? Our troops have invaded sovereign states for much, much less.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I am perpetually amazed by claims made that the EU has prevented war in Europe since 1945; amazed not so much that these claims are repeatedly made, for there are plenty of ignorant or biased people ready to make them, but by the lack of firm rebuttal based on fact.

  10. Mark B
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    “The world does not need another large power seeking to enforce its views of the political future on smaller states.”

    But that is exactly what the EU is, a wannabe political power. What is more, it is one with little or no democratic constraint. It is a law unto itself and will behave as they see fit.

    I do confess that I am surprised of our kind hosts lack of knowledge about the EU and its longterm aspirations.

    The EU always starts off small in terms of its ambitions. Just Google: “eu peacekeeping missions”. There you will find in the many links things such as EUFOR, the embryonic European Military. You will also see how the EU works.

    1) Set up a body purely to do humanitarian work, nothing of an offensive capacity.
    2) Then gradually expose EU ‘Peacekeeping’ forces to a higher level of risk/threat.
    3) This creates a need to ‘do some thing’ which creates a need for a new policy.
    4) From this new policy, new arguments are created for Member States to cede more powers to the Commission.

    What will come out of this from the EU’s perspective is, a ‘need’ to have a more coherent and coordinated common defence policy. This of course can only be done from the Centre ie the Commission. So, the Member States cede another key competence (power) and little more sovereignty is lost. Clever eh ?

    Don’t believe me ! Well, lets wait and see shall we. Just remember my words. It will not belong before some goon no one as ever heard of starts talking about this, and ‘need’ to ‘do something’. That’s the starting pistol they have planned for and will use. But although it will most certainly come from the Commission, it will not be the Commission that will be see to instigate it.

    The fact that the EU does not have a serious military presence will be highlighted as to one of the reasons that the EU failed in Ukraine, as they could not back up their words with the threat of force.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      But that is exactly what the EU is, a wannabe political power. What is more, it is one with little or no democratic constraint. It is a law unto itself and will behave as they see fit.

      Care to explain how there’s no democratic constraint. Make sure you explain why the democratically elected European Parliament and the European Council composed of the leaders of all 28 member states aren’t an example of democratic constraint.

      What will come out of this from the EU’s perspective is, a ‘need’ to have a more coherent and coordinated common defence policy. This of course can only be done from the Centre ie the Commission. So, the Member States cede another key competence (power) and little more sovereignty is lost. Clever eh ?

      The centre is the Council, not the Commission, because the Council is composed of all the leaders of the 28 member states. This is why the Council, not the Commission, is responsible for negotiating all the treaties.

      But don’t let facts get in the way of your anti-EU rant.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Take the blinkers off Uni, you’re like record with the needle stuck. You have an entrenched view that the EU can do no wrong, but the facts are there for everyone to see – provided they take the trouble. It’s a disaster zone!

      • Mark B
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        The Parliament has no real power, and as for the Council of Ministers, they are elected to lead their respective nations and not as ‘talking heads’ for a Senate and Supranational Government.

        The Commission creates policy areas and uses NGO’s and other pressure groups, not to mention ‘beneficial crisis’ such as we are witnessing. It is of course the last of these that has meant that the colleagues are now talking of new treaty which will ‘fix’ the current problems that could not be addressed in the last, due to national politics.

        The EU moves at slow and almost glacial pace. Gaining more and more powers with every treaty and policy. That is why you hear people complain that it has changed from a ‘trade agreement’ to a political embryonic superstate. They have never been informed or read any of the treaties. They are deliberately kept ignorant.

        I am glad that you felt the need to reply to my ‘rant’. I am also glad to have the opportunity to point out to you and other posters that, you seem to post much later these days. Any particular reason ? I think I know why, but I would like to hear it from you nonetheless.

        Reply I sometimes moderate later in the day as I have other things to do! I also leave to the end the long and contentious ones.

        • Mark b
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply.

          Than you.

  11. APL
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    JR: “The EU’s actions and words in the Ukraine have helped create a dangerous power vacuum which Mr Putin is exploiting for Russian advantage.”

    Let’s not forget the EU’s role in encouraging disagreement and discontent. So much for the claim that the EU has prevented war, looks to me like it positively revels in it.

    Catherine Ashdown’s amateur meddling has precipitated a great wrong.

  12. Iain Gill
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I am more worried about riots again on the streets of the UK.

    If the political class don’t get a grip…

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Imagine for one moment that we get our EU referendum and the people vote ‘Out’ and we are in the process of leaving…

      I don’t doubt for a moment that Trafalgar Square would be barricaded and occupied by all manner of violent pro EU protesters.

      Yet it is we whom they call the nutters.

      (There are, of course, other risks of rioting as you say Iain.)

  13. alan jutson
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    No surprise that Russia wants to protect its use of its naval base in Crimea, most Countries would do the same given the circumstances, (Gibralter for us) so we are arguing about the way in which it has been done.

    It is suggested in the National Press today that Both the US and UK signed an agreement in 1994 to protect Ukraine’s borders.

    Is this correct ?.

  14. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Such is the EU that we are part of a common approach, and the EU will do things in our name, regardless of what we think, and will require funding and more from us. We should not have any part in this, but it seems that Hague et al have different ideas. I do not think Hague has the people of this country behind him. Yet again an example of the Conservatives in government being out of touch with the people. Hague/Cameron/Gove were only, by a whisker, restrained from moving in on Syria.

  15. arschloch
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Its a sad reflection of Britain’s declining role in the world that HRH Prince Edward has decided to turn his back on the Sochi paralympics. I would have thought that in a moment of international crisis the presence of a hardened military man would be just what the situation requires.

  16. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Good article Dr Redwood and no messing about.

    British Scenario:
    The Scottish Referendum results in a very narrow defeat of the separatists by 2%. In a furious reaction, far-left demonstrators lay siege to Faslane naval base on the Clyde. The SNP ‘government’s’ new centralised Police Scotland Force is ordered not to intervene. The demonstrators break in and armed guards refuse to shoot civilians. Equipment starts to be wrecked (as has happened before elsewhere) by the demonstrators and the submarines are put in danger. The Naval base is taken over by extremists.
    How does the UK government respond?

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that arson of Her Majesty’s shipyards is still a capital offence.

      • bigneil
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but seeing the ridiculous sentences handed out by the judges – add on the claim/blame system – the arsonist would then put in a claim for “having to be exposed to dangerous substances just to show his displeasure at the decision made”.
        just as crazy as the killer now claiming compensation for not having been given “rehab” treatment.

      • StevenL
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget that arson of Her Majesty’s shipyards is still a capital offence.

        Even if that hasn’t been formally changed, capital punishment is not compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. No judge will pass the death sentence with the HRA on the statute book.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Russia has , since 1954 , resented the loss of the Ukraine and one way or another has attempted to keep a strong foot in the door ; the bankrolling , the cheap energy and its base in the Crimea typify its efforts . The contributions of the West and particularly that of the EU sympathy to the violent objectors in Kiev have riled Putin who has responded in a KGB manner . Putin wants to protect his investment to make sure he gets his money back and I believe it is the underlying economics that have brought about the present situation . No amount of military posturing will now cause him to back down ; it would be entirely out of character for him do do so . Why the Ukrainians could not wait until their next election is beyond me ! perhaps the pollsters indicated the result would make little difference . Everything now rests with the West’s ability to get Russia to the table and come to a reasoned outcome ; the imposition of various sanctions will definitely hurt but will not be enough . Russia needs to be seen to win something ; is the ceding of Crimea sufficient ? is the ballot box result in Ukraine enough ? should there be any give at all ? . The next few days are critical ones for us all ; I wish I had more faith in the leadership of the USA and in this country ; I don’t see a place for the EU at all .

  18. NickW
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The continuing accretion of power to the EU Government and the deliberate weakening of the Nation States makes it clear that unless there is a change of direction, the EU WILL have it’s own Army at some time in the future.

    The leaders of the EU, with their supreme indifference to the catastrophic youth and general unemployment in the Southern European States, are showing exactly the same arrogance and indifference to human suffering which characterised the leaders who took Europe to war in the recent past.

    Who can doubt that were there an EU Army, the EU leaders would be willing to send the youth of Europe onto the battlefield with supreme indifference to their fate. With the weakening of the Nation States, conscription into an EU Army becomes all too plausible, enforced by that “Europe wide arrest warrant” that is so dear to the EU elite.

    That is the direction in which we are heading, and something needs to be done to change that direction.

  19. APL
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    JR: “The EU was all too ready to encourage those who wished to overthrow the elected President of the Ukraine because he had declined to advance the interests of the EU in the Ukraine, preferring a stronger relationship with Russia.”

    Yes, the EU was happy to overthrow a democratically elected government elected through an internationally scrutinised election.

    Once more, Herman Van Rompuy, Catherine Ashdown, Jose Manuel Barroso et al have demonstrated their utter contempt for the democratic process.

    Par for the course, but one to file away for future reference.

  20. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Please consider that the EU will come forth as one of the most dominant military forces in the world.

    The two iron legs seen in Daniel’s Statue of Empires of Daniel 2:25-45, have been the British Empire, and the US Dollar Hegemonic Empire Libertarian Michael Rozeff writes in EPJ Understanding the US Empire. It’s expansionism, dominance, control, influence, hegemony seeking that’s at work; it’s empire-building that’s at work.

    News reports reflect that the beast empire of Revelation 13:1-4, is now rising out of waves Club Med sovereign, banking, and corporate insolvency, as the replacement for the US Dollar Hegemonic Empire.

    Its first of ten regions of dominance will be in Europe, where it has the feet of a bear in banking supervision in Frankfurt; mouth of a lion in Berlin, as DW reports German FM vows more aggressive foreign policy; and coat of a leopard in fiscal supervision in Brussels

    A One Euro Government, featuring a banking union, military union, and fiscal-debt union will coalesce, as leaders meet in summits to renounce national sovereignty and announce regional pooled sovereignty as they set forth regional framework agreements, as these constitute the constitution of regional economic governance featuring economic fascism where public private partnerships direct the economy. Erick Gray writes this will be a type of a Revived Roman Empire

    The Eurozone Superstate will be headed up by the Sovereign, Europe’s New Charlemagne, seen in Revelation 13:5-10, as well as by the Seignior, that is the Top Dog Money Lord, seen in Revelation 13:11-18; and that they will forge, the new normal seigniorage wealth of diktat, and they will coin its peer, diktat money, out of their fiery words, will and way.

    God, the Sovereign Lord God, accomplishes His will and establishes the economy of God, that is the dispensation of Jesus Christ, via empires. He always has, and He always will. The new empire replaces the Creature from Jekyll Island, and is a much more fearsome interventionist; as it will utterly pulverize all of liberalism’s money and wealth as is seen in Daniel 7:7.

    • arschloch
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      full moon tonight?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s just what we need.

  21. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS –FORGET ABOUT BENEFIT CLAIMANTS-HOW HAVE THE TORIES TREATED THE REST OF US
    Firstly lets dispel Labour and UKIP’s pretence if they were in power they would save the NHS .Notice your spam folders more and more Private Health Insurance’s advertising long waiting lists and for a small sum ect – Privatisation is already and waiting to take over .
    What job satisfaction or security have we got – None ,zero hour contracts ,Agency work whereby it is hit and miss whether you work one day or the next .
    Workfare were Jobseekers are being forced to work for free to earn Corporations Larger Profits .
    Education ,how long have the Tories been in power and only today made the statement we will implement the teaching of maths and English in schools .
    Housing , Shapps said after selling off G3 for 22.5 Billion it was earmarked for Housing .Yesterday he lied by saying anyone votes Tory will get a Referendum ,what happened to the last promise .
    The Liverpool Care Pathway ,how to die in dignity – starved of food but still administered ‘medication’ .
    Welfare Reform – in chaos and no solution in sight . Jobs Market – 800,000 and again 700,000 jobs only advertised in the EU and not here .
    Referendum on the EU – no chance .
    So we can forget about Poverty ,Atos Deaths ,Food Banks ,Benefit Sanctions ,Workfare ,Tuition Fees ,Bedroom Tax ,no Fuel Price Control ,Lies & Deceit and more Cuts to come it still does not paint a pretty picture of the Government does it .

  22. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Mr. Putin still thinks in terms of the USSR and does not fully understand that his new country is far more intertwined with the western banking and financial system. It seems that the markets know something already with Gazprom down 12% and Sberbank now nearly 14% down on the day. Clearly anyone with investments in or connected to Russia would be wise to consider selling now before they fall further.

    Only when their actions hurt the oligarchs and government officials where it matters to them – in their bank accounts – will Russian policy and probably the people directing it change.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t President Putin have good reason to act, Cllr Barnard ?

      • Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I do not see any good reason to invade the territory of country the territorial integrity of which Russia itself gave an undertaking to respect when it signed the Budapest Memorandum. What it does demonstrate is bad faith so it is difficult to see how any agreement can be made with Russia or any Russian business in the future. Would you do business with someone who writes bad cheques?

        • JoeSoap
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          The choice for Putin was:
          a/ Let the situation whereby the democratic leader was ousted prevail and work itself out;
          b/ Let people like Baroness Ashton and Willy Hague unilaterally support the folk who ousted the leader and cause the rift to deepen;
          c/ Show your hand in a straightforward way and protect your cultural countrymen at the risk of upsetting said Hague, Ashton and the west of the Ukraine, without traversing into the West Ukraine.
          Remember how Cameron et al boycotted the Sochi Olympics because we’re oh so politically correct, progressive, lefty and wouldn’t countenance an attitude to homosexuals which actually prevailed here until a few years ago….?? For that little pathetic token gesture, we both lost touch and distanced ourselves from Putin… not that he cared.

          • Posted March 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            I regret that Joe Soap misses the fundamental point which I thought I had made earlier.

            Russia was a willing signatory of the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 as a result of which the Ukraine voluntarily relinquished that part of the old Soviet nuclear arsenal which was on its territory in return for a guarantee of its territorial integrity. This means that Russia itself agreed to not only respect but GUARANTEE the integrity of Ukraine. The situation is therefore unlike any other where intervention has taken place whether that be Russia in Georgia or the Allies in Afghanistan where no such guarantees had been given.

            If Russia simply chooses to abrogate one agreement then what confidence can we have that any others will not be similarly dishonoured?

  23. Bob
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Senior British ministers have already threatened to boycott the Paralympic Games in Sochi unless Russia pulls back.
     
    If Putin isn’t careful his name could be crossed off from David Cameron’s Christmas card list too, then he’ll be sorry!

    Isn’t it time we dropped the epithet “Great” from Great Britain?
    Little Britain would more appropriate.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes that is clearly”their price to pay”, and if Russia goes further there will be an even higher price…

  24. Boudicca
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “The EU does not have the military power to take on Russia”
    ———-

    But I don’t doubt it wants it. The EU traditionally advances its cause by what it calls “beneficial crises.” It seems to have deliberately engineered this one.

    It won’t be long before the EU is demanding EU Armed Forces, to back up its Diplomatic Service.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Surely it would be better to have an EU with armed forces, over which we would have some small democratic control than rely on the USA over which we have no democratic control. We should recognise that the UK can no longer afford its own army and contribute to an EU force.

      Reply On the contrary, the UK needs its own armed forces, but we should nto wish to tell the Crimea how to behave.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        “some small democratic control”

        Well, maybe we should put it to a national referendum?

        “Would you prefer the UK to keep its own armed forces under the full democratic control of the UK Parliament, or would you prefer the UK to cease to have its own armed forces and instead contribute to EU armed forces over which we would have some small democratic control?

        Indicate your preference by putting X in the appropriate box below.”

        • bigneil
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Denis – – – “National Referendum” now means – – does “Call Me Dave” like it – – -and that’s it. Wondering if DC stands for Dictatorship Continuing.

        • sjb
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          @Denis
          Using the Royal Prerogative, David Cameron could deploy thousands to UK troops to the Ukraine tonight. Therefore, I don’t think it is correct to say that the “UK’s own armed forces [are] under the full democratic control of the UK Parliament [...]”

          Reply He could only do that if he were sure Parliament would back him.

      • behindthefrogs
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        I was suggesting that relying on an EU force was preferable to relying on the USA. I was not suggesting that the UK should not have its own forces, but I believe that these should be reduced in favour of an EU force.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  25. Dan H.
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    There are two basic problems here; the EU is stupid, and President Putin isn’t stupid.

    As things stand, international politics is a game rather like poker; one bluffs on the basis of one’s trade, banking and military powers and the opposition does exactly the same. Britain has been playing this game for over a thousand years, and we’re really quite good at it now. By contrast, the EU has not yet grasped that to play poker one needs to have a credible bluff.

    The EU has not army of its own. Its attempts at trade negotiations are clumsy fumblings, consisting mostly of stick with very little or no carrot, and it has the distinction of having managed to run a major currency into trouble more swiftly than any other country in history. Basically, to try to play the great game of diplomacy with a hand as abysmal as this is absurd, and Mr Putin knows it.

    That is why the EU is being ignored, or patted condescendingly on the head and told to run along and stop bothering the big boys. Putin also knows the Americans have little stomach for interfering in local politics (Ukraine isn’t about to stop trading no matter what happens), so in effect this all comes down to how much or how little Putin decides to interfere.

    A few things are given: the Black Sea military ports will remain in Russian hands, and the Ukraine will not wholly become an EU protectorate, and the EU will come away from this one looking like an ineffectual bunch of idiots.

    The best thing we can do is shout from the sidelines and keep well out of the troublespots.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This morning there is an interesting article here:

    http://euobserver.com/foreign/123329

    “Nato supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity against Russian occupation”

    That is despite Ukraine not being a member of NATO.

    And nor should the British government ever agree to Ukraine being admitted to NATO so that we would be committed to its defence and thereby put our own country at risk of total destruction in a nuclear war with Russia, and for what gain?

    Experience has shown that enlargement of NATO to the east, followed by enlargement of the EU to the east, brings far more grief to this country than any benefit.

    For example in the case of Poland we have put our lives and our entire country on the line for the sake of the Poles, but there is not a scintilla of gratitude or even respect.

    The advertised Tory strategy of bringing in eastern European countries because they would be our natural allies within the EU has failed miserably, with those countries instead lining up with Germany against us and the Polish Foreign Minister even going on the BBC to lecture us about not being good Europeans.

    We open up our country to a huge number of Poles, and then somebody from a Polish organisation writes a letter to the Telegraph to tell the British that Polish citizens “have as much legal and moral right to be here as any British citizen”.

    It is taken for granted that the British will subsidise Poland, but the credit for that goes to the intermediary EU not to the British taxpayers actually providing the money to the EU, and then there are even complaints that Poland is helping to pay for the British rebate, which is true under the accounting mechanism that the EU has chosen to use.

    Not only have businesses in this country been giving jobs to Poles and leaving Britons dumped on the dole, they have also moved large parts of their operations to Poland, eliminating jobs here and creating jobs there and turning what were previously goods produced here into imports from Poland.

    We are even paying benefits for Polish children in Poland, and once again that is taken completely for granted as a right.

    Now somebody tell me why we should want to extend that same insane generosity to the 50 million or so citizens of the Ukraine, who would no doubt prove just as ungrateful and just as disrespectful if not more so, and what possible countervailing benefit that could bring for us.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Iam not a ‘British Citizen’. No such title exists. Being British though, I am a loyal subject of Her Majesty.

      • Wonky Moral Compass
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Someone better tell the Passport Agency then because my passport clearly states “BRITISH CITIZEN” on the photo page.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      For example in the case of Poland we have put our lives and our entire country on the line for the sake of the Poles, but there is not a scintilla of gratitude or even respect.

      Well they did the same thing for the UK during WW2. Remember all the Polish soldiers and pilots who helped the UK fight against the Nazis.

      It is taken for granted that the British will subsidise Poland, but the credit for that goes to the intermediary EU not to the British taxpayers actually providing the money to the EU

      Well without the EU the UK is unlikely to provide them with any money.

      Not only have businesses in this country been giving jobs to Poles and leaving Britons dumped on the dole, they have also moved large parts of their operations to Poland, eliminating jobs here and creating jobs there and turning what were previously goods produced here into imports from Poland.

      They’ve also moved many jobs to the low cost workers in China. Though this is the fault of capitalism, rather than China or Poland.

  27. mousewife
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Yes, Mr R, of course you make a very good and necessary point, but in this instance the fault lies with NATO for allowing itself to be subverted by Messrs Blair and Clinton over Kosovo. The chickens are now at last coming home to roost.

  28. Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I agree with the views you express in this piece but, Cameron has weakened our armed forces to such an extent that we are no longer in a position to be an independent and proud leader within NATO.

    I deeply regret the fact that unless these cuts are reversed, The British Army will have no option other than to become a couple of Division within an EU Army.

    And we haven’t even mentioned what they are doing to the Navy !

    John, can you tell us what will be the status of the second carrier ?

    There were suggestions that it would go into long term reserve which presumably would mean it won’t be fitted out with all the expensive kit to make it operational. IE : it will be an expensive floating piece of scrap.

    Has there been a decision made to find the money and put her into service ?

    Presumably they can afford to do that now as it looks unlikely there will be any aircraft with working software to fly of either of them !

  29. ian wragg
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Now we have the results of your parties strategy of decimating our armed services especially the Navy. Russia will be roaring with laughter as we have no serious Carrier force and it takes 24 hours to find a ship to counter Russian incursions into our waters.
    Yet another reason why you deserve to lose the next election.
    SSM and maternity leave being top priorities. Defence and Immigration way down the list after toadying to the EUssr.
    Cameron is a disgrace and a danger to the stability of this country.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    On the matter of the EU acquiring its own armed forces, that process has already started with Eurocorps:

    http://www.eurocorps.org/

    “A force for NATO and the European Union”.

    And here back in 2007 is the present German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying what he expected to happen:

    https://www.allianz.com/oneweb/cms/www.allianz.com/en/press/news/commitment/community/news_2007-01-15.html

    “The era of small nation states has passed”

    “In his closing remarks, Steinmeier noted there is much work to be done, conceding that visions for Europe are projects that will take up the next 20 to 30 years and citing a future European army as an example. He also noted that this century could well see the disappearance of national foreign ministers, that the “German foreign minister” is probably a dying breed.”

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Has he told the Scots that?

  31. lojolondon
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget how the EU and USA fiddling around in Syria unnecessarily dragged that conflict on for many more months, stretching to years now. The Taliban were lead to believe that if they proved that Assad was guilty of human rights abuses the west would step in, so suddenly there were human rights abuses widely reported every day. Heaven knows how many people were tortured to death to manufacture a situation where the west would come to assist the terrorists, thank goodness common sense prevailed!

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Let’s not forget how the EU and USA fiddling around in Syria unnecessarily dragged that conflict on for many more months, stretching to years now.

      Care to explain exactly what they did and why it extended the conflict. Make sure you don’t forget about Russia involvement in this conflict.

      The Taliban were lead to believe that if they proved that Assad was guilty of human rights abuses the west would step in, so suddenly there were human rights abuses widely reported every day.

      Care to explain why the Taliban left Afghanistan/Pakistan and moved to Syria. What about all the Syrians who wanted to remove Assad?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        I would take a guess that lojo doesn’t care to answer yet another of your endless challenges Uni.
        Why not just give your own views rather than sounding rather agressive and arrogant all the time.

        You read like a heckler coming on a few days after the main article has been responded to, always desperate to have the last word.

  32. yulwaymartyn
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    “the west will have to look to the US to lead its response”.

    JR – really?

    I think we have done that a bit too often in the past don’t you.?

    We need fresh thinking.

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      yulwaymartyn: “We need fresh thinking.”

      Would you like the Germans to take over?

      One contributory factor to their prosperity, they have not had to maintain an expensive military this last sixty years.

  33. sm
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    What is the United Nations doing re keeping peace in the Ukraine? Is it doing anything or is it, as usual, hamstrung because Russia is one of the biggest players there?

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      sm: “Russia is one of the biggest players there ”

      Russia has a permanent seat on the UN security council, as does the USA, the UK and France. With a permanent seat comes the power of veto. It is unlikely that the UN will be able to agree any course of action against Russian interests.

  34. waramess
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Who knows what agendas lie behind all this. Certainly we will be talking money rather than anything quite so silly as democracy and morality.

    Russia takes over the Crimea, but will it take over a portion of the debt? I imagine both the Americans and the Germans were big creditors and so have the most to lose from a belligerent approach.

    Maybe the script has already beeen decided by the three powers and all that remains is to act out a few plausible scenes for the public.

    Trust nobody for none of the players can be trusted to be acting in any way other than to protect their own personal credibility their financial interests

  35. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The EU seems to have been relentless in its determination to integrate the Ukraine within the EU. According to Richard North on his eureferendum blog, a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Ukraine was forged in 1998. Then:

    “…At the Paris Summit in September 2008 an agreement was reached to start negotiations on an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which was to be the successor agreement to the PCA.

    In November 2009, the Cooperation Council adopted the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda. This replaced the former Action Plan, and was installed to prepare for and facilitate the entry into force of the new Agreement. For 2010, a list of priorities for action was jointly agreed by Ukraine and the EU.

    So said the EU, the Association Agreement “will significantly deepen Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU”. As Ukraine became a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in May 2008, negotiations on the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) were launched, as an integral part of the Association Agreement. Negotiations for this DCFTA continued alongside the Association Agreement talks.

    Thus far, no country has ever gone a stage further than this without then becoming a candidate state, preparing to join the EU. This was the route taken by Bulgaria and Romania. The huge scope of the Association Agreement thus attests that it is far more than a simple trade agreement, the pursuit of which has been relentless since well before 2001, as this document* illustrates(link below). http://www.eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/csp/02_06_en.pdf
    ” In all and any respects, therefore, the EU’s dogged persistence in pursuing this agreement with the Ukraine has been the equivalent on parking its tanks, if not on Moscow’s front lawn, on the verge opposite. This was something no Russian government could possibly tolerate for very long….”

    North also discusses Cameron’s speech on the day that Croatia became a full member of the EU. He suggests it was highly provocative to the Russians, by outlining his vision of an EU that stretched from the Atlantic to the Urals.
    See http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84739
    Ukraine: EU provocation presages a retreat

  36. forthurst
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Is it not extraordinary that JR can believe that it is perfectly legitimate for the Scots alone to decide whether to break up the UK, but not apparently for the Crimeans to make a similar decision for themselves. Which external entity should we blame for inciting the Scots to tear up the Act of Union? Ukraine was not even a real country until twenty years ago and the Quixotic decision of Khrushchev to transfer this Russian province to Ukraine probably had little practical effect; however, confronted by the unlawful Russophobic authority in Kiev, Crimea has every right to return to its roots rather than submit to gangsters whose hold on power has been engineered by $5 billion ‘investment’ by those whom Victoria Nuland represents. Trying to disentangle to what extent the destabilisation of Ukraine is the work of the EU or US is difficult and probably irrelevant.

    It now appears that the illegitimate rulers in Kiev have appointed ‘oligarchs’ to act as governors of Eastern cities; these people, billionaires whose wealth might go some way to explain the poverty of the country itself are indicative of the fact that the Ukraine is still in its ‘Yeltsin’ phase of oligarchical rule whoever is nominally the President, with its concomitant corruption and economic devastation. Any money ‘invested’ in this failed state will reappear in Swiss bank accounts.

    John Kerry has stated, “you don’t invade a country on completely phony pretexts”. He could have added, “only we are allowed to do that, as we do frequently as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria etc”. There are no overt indications that Russia has ‘invaded’ any part of Ukraine although it has taken powers to do that. Since January 2014, over 675,000 Ukrainians have sought refuge in Russia; many of these are public officials who have seen that their offices are being raided by armed thugs threatening their lives. If the West believes that Russia would stand by whilst millions of Russians who have lived in Ukraine for hundreds of years, as Ukrainians have lived in Russia, became the victims of neocon engineered mayhem as in so much of the ME, they really need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Reply I am quite happy for the people of the Crimea to decide their future, as I hope they will do shortly in a referendum, just like Scotland. I think these things are best done by votes and arguments rather than by armies and molotov cocktails.

    • RTG
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely, but, any Russian agenda aside, who do you think would be the people of Crimea’s ‘preferred candidate’ to ensure general security and stability, at least until they can actually reach those voting booths (possibly at the end of this month)?

      • forthurst
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m not certain of the precise composition of the Crimean self-defence forces, but I do not believe them to be by implication Russian troups as JR has alleged.

        According to Kate Stallard of Sky News, they were stopped by border guards, presenting themselves as self-defence volunteers, claiming to have stopped Maidan thugs attempting to smuggle in weapons and explosives; some the guards were wearing Press flak jackets and helmets. The guards had to be persuaded not to confiscate their camera or flak jackets and to be allowed to proceed.

        It is vanishingly unlikely that if Russia had occupied the Crimea they would not be manning the border or that their troops would not be properly equiped or have clear orders and an officer to whom they could turn for guidance.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      ‘Crimea has every right to return to its roots’ [as aprt of Russia]. Hang on. It was annexed to Russia in 1783. It was a successful independent state under the Tartars for about a thousand years before that. Did you read what happened to most of the Tatars? I don’t suppose the dead ones will have much of a say in the referendum.

      • forthurst
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        If you wish to go back before 1783, then I think we should reclaim our American colonies.

  37. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I think that William Dartmouth UKIP MEP has some very sound advice, including the comment with regard to Baroness Ashton: (from UKIP website)
    “..UKIP MEP William Dartmouth has warned that the government’s current approach to the crisis in Ukraine risks making the situation in the region even worse.

    He said: “Ministers must take the greatest care to ensure that they do not give western Ukraine false hope just as the West gave anti-Assad activists in Syria false hope in the early days of the rebellion there.

    “If popular uprisings are based on a false premise of expected Western intervention when none is on the cards then all that happens is that dangerous instability escalates with no good end in sight.

    “The Government must be very careful not to get Britain drawn into a conflict that could easily escalate from a regional crisis to a global one.

    “Neither is there any desire among the British people to get dragged into yet another far-flung conflict, whether that be directly or through any EU co-ordinated action. And let us remember that the EU’s High Representative Baroness Ashton has never been elected and has zero political legitimacy in the eyes of the British public.”

  38. Mark
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Some real common sense from former UK Ambassador to Moscow Rodric Braithwaite:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/ukraine-crisis-no-wonder-vladimir-putin-says-crimea-is-russian-9162734.html

    Perhaps a pity that the FCO seems to lack people of his perceptiveness and knowledge of history these days.

  39. Peter Stroud
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    A very sensible approach to the problem. This crisis is one that we must keep away from: and seeing the Foreign Secretary strutting the stage, and saying virtually nothing, is cringe making. Just leave it to the USA.

    • Bob
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes.
      Sarah Palin predicted the invasion.
      H/T Guido Fawkes

  40. Rods
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Anybody that wants a sober analysis on what has been happening in Ukraine over the last few months could do a lot worse than reading the blogs on nybooks by Professor Timothy Snyder.

    Timothy Snyder is an expert on Eastern Europe and professor of History at Yale University and for the academic year 2013-2014, he holds the Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    • sjb
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      “[...] millions of small businessmen and businesswomen found it impossible to keep their firms afloat, thanks to the arbitrary demands of tax authorities. Their profits were taken by the state, and the autonomy that those profits might have given them were denied.”

      “Struggling to pay his debts last year, the Ukrainian leader had two options. The first was to begin trade cooperation with the European Union. No doubt an association agreement with the EU would have opened the way for loans. But it also would have meant the risk of the application of the rule of law within Ukraine. ”

  41. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Russia has a point. The breakup of an elected government in the Ukraine puts Russia’s Black Sea port in jeopardy. So when the Ukraine as a whole is in a state of instability it makes sense to me to safeguard ones interests in a predominantly pro Russian part of the country. Maybe when the dust has settled, everyone involved can get round the table to sort out a long term relationship.
    The one fact it has pointed up is the totally facile harrumphing of the EU. What business is it of an undemocratic entity such as the EU to interfere in the affaires of a sovereign state such as the Ukraine. The EU has no moral ground to stand on, no backing of the people of Europe, and no means of backing their morally bankrupt utterances. They are a grotesquely larger windbag of the valleys than the one we are familiar with. The EU’s contention that they have prevented war in Europe since 1945 is an utter nonsense. The only practical deterrent has been NATO, a reality they would wish to destroy.
    The substance of the existence of the EU is no more real than that of the Warsaw Pact. The EU bureaucrats are slowly, through their own political ambition, destroying what was at the outset the genesis of a free trade area. Roll on the day when more of the citizens of Europe awake to the reality and start to kick against this monster. We in the UK should lead by example and get out, perhaps acting as a catalyst to more focussed thought in Europe.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    You will be aware of the Munroe doctrine that ‘justifies’ the USA intervening anywhere in the Americas when it feels that its interests are threatened. Russia can claim that it has a similar right to intervene in the buffer states adjacent to it. If this is wrong, then so is the Munroe doctrine.

    All Russia has done so far is to reabsorb the Crimea into Russia. Russia ‘gifted’ Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954 – together with 60,000 ethnic Russians living there. This was at a time when the possibility of Ukraine aligning itself with a German led EU was non-existent. It is hardly unreasonable for Russia to take it back when Ukraine becomes hostile.

    Neither the US nor the EU has any military influence in Russia’s back yard, simply because of Russia’s proximity to the area. In the same way, the US was bound to win the Cuban missile crisis struggle, simply because the US is close to Cuba and Russia isn’t. In making these statements, I am assuming that nobody is stupid enough to want to press the nuclear button.

    Nor is there any point in imposing economic sanctions on Russia, which would hurt Europe more than it would hurt Russia (beware of an American sanctions initiative – it won’t be the Americans that suffer). Russia twice defaulted in the 1990s and both times emerged, if not exactly smelling of roses, at least as legitimate trading partners.

    The practical choices for Ukraine are:
    (1) To insist on making a deal with the EU and losing a lot more territory in the eastern Ukraine OR:
    (2) To limit the damage to losing only the Crimea by coming to trade deals with both Russia and the EU (please note, Mr Hague, a trade deal with the EU, not a political deal).
    Let us hope that it chooses the latter.

    Meanwhile, it would be good if our Foreign Secretary looked after the UK’s interests rather than support the EU’s. He seems at the moment to have ‘gone native’.

    • Chris
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Have you seen how far the Ukraine has become embroiled/tied to the EU with firstly the Cooperation and Partnership Agreement, and later the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – quite frightening how the EU has cemented its grip on the Ukraine, and significant too are the huge sums of money that have already been sent into Ukraine by the EU for various projects since the late 1990s. The grand project advances relentlessly it seems. and the EU seems to have no qualms about “parking its tanks” virtually on the Russian front lawn. See
      http://www.eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/csp/02_06_en.pdf and
      http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84739
      Ukraine: EU provocation presages a retreat

      One has to ask what the EU is interested in, and I suggest that the apparently huge reserves of coal, iron ore, manganese, and shale gas (this last in the Dnieper basin, and also near the Polish border) focus minds. What a prize in an energy/resource hungry world.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Given that Russia annexed Ukraine and the Crimea it’s not accurate to describe the Russians as gifting it to Ukraine. It also doesn’t justify invading the Crimea as a 42% of the population aren’t ethnic Russians.

  43. Atlas
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    John what you say is true, but … what will other places around the world who rely upon similar support to the 1994 Ukrainian agreement make of the UK and USA doing nothing?

  44. Tom William
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Worth mentioning that last year David Cameron publicly stated, in Uzbekistan of all places, that he wanted to see the EU stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals. But, as he has often shown, his knowledge of history is as bad as his tact.

  45. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The UK has never signed up to the concept of a common EU army. We must make sure this type of crisis does not lead to one by stealth that involves us.”
    Agreed, but with Cameron in charge I wouldn’t bet against it. Would you resign if he did agree to an EU army?

  46. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    As I commented above, UKIP MEP William Dartmouth speaks a lot of sense on this whole issue of Ukraine and the need for us to employ some intelligence and wisdom before we condemn Russia outright and take hasty action. Hopefully we will hear much more of the common sense that UKIP has to offer as broadcasters are now obliged to treat UKIP as a major party for the European elections, thanks to the latest ruling from OFCOM.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/ukip-named-major-party-ofcom-european-elections

  47. Tad Davison
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I might just petition David Cameron to make you Foreign Secretary John (and you know I do not jest!). It’s about time the Tories got real on Europe and recognised the depth of the antipathy towards it’s filthy and disgusting corruption, as felt by the British people.

    It would be entirely justified to have someone of your thinking at the Foreign Office. If you maintained your point of view and didn’t dilute it, your appointment would be overwhelmingly popular with the people, and give them some credible core to rally around. Not everyone is sold on the Tory promise of renegotiation or an in/out referendum. We’ve been sold down the river by your party before, and frankly, they’re no longer trusted to deliver.

    Presently, I have still to be persuaded to vote for anything other than UKIP. Certainly Hague doesn’t inspire me, and his removal is becoming increasingly more desirable! He wants to look hard and decisive, but instead, he’s looking more like just another EU patsy each time he opens his mouth.

    Tad

  48. uanime5
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    The EU’s actions and words in the Ukraine have helped create a dangerous power vacuum which Mr Putin is exploiting for Russian advantage.

    What power vacuum are you talking about? How is encouraging the people of Ukraine to remove a pro-Russian president a power vacuum, when their parliament (Verkhovna Rada) is still in control of the country? If anything Russia is trying to maintain control in Ukraine after their supporters lost power.

    The intervention of the EU in the break up of the former Yugoslavia also failed to prevent war, and some would say made that conflict more bitter and damaging.

    Care to explain what EU actions made this conflict worse. I trust you’re not confusing NATO with the EU.

    Also given that the EU was designed to prevent wars between members of the EU it’s no surprise that they failed to prevent a civil war in the non-EU Yugoslavia.

    The EU was all too ready to encourage those who wished to overthrow the elected President of the Ukraine because he had declined to advance the interests of the EU in the Ukraine, preferring a stronger relationship with Russia.

    Well many people in Ukraine did object to this. That’s why they’ve been protesting against him since 2013 and forced the parliament to impeach him.

    A little patience would have allowed an orderly transition to a newly elected person with more moral and political authority than the present interim government of the Ukraine.

    It is for the people of Ukraine to decide when and how they remove their leaders. Being democratically elected doesn’t give you the authority to ignore the anger of the people, nor some divine right to serve your entire term.

    There is now a power vacuum, with a new unelected government who cannot command the support of the east of their country.

    I thought the Ukrainians elected all the people in their parliament in 2012, along with the prime minister/acting president.

    John do you believe that the entire government suddenly vanished after the parliament impeached the president? I ask because your post seems to imply that you believe that all the members of the Ukrainian executive have left the country and that for some reason the legislator cannot appoint temporary replacements.

    If the west is lucky from here the limit of Russia’s ambitions will be the Crimea.

    Luck has nothing to do with it. Much of Ukraine has anti-Russian feelings so if Putin tries to invade the rest of Ukraine he will alienate many of the Ukrainian population, resulting in a high level of resistance and a PR disaster.

    Even Crimea will be difficult for Russia to hold as a significant minority aren’t ethnic Russians.

    The UK should stay well out of this conflict.

    That hasn’t worked too well in Syria.

    We should also make it clear that the UK does not want to be part of a common EU approach on this matter, and certainly has no wish to commit troops to any common purpose EU force to intervene.

    Does his mean we can reduce the size of the army since we’re never going to fight anyone. I recommend starting with Trident.

    The world does not need another large power seeking to enforce its views of the political future on smaller states.

    Appeasement and ignoring immoral actions also hasn’t worked in the past.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      U5 said;
      “Also given that the EU was designed to prevent wars between members of the EU it’s no surprise that they failed to prevent a civil war in the non-EU Yugoslavia.”

      I wondered when this link would come in handy. You do still like links, U5, don’t you ?

      Also given that the EU was designed to prevent wars between members of the EU it’s no surprise that they failed to prevent a civil war in the non-EU Yugoslavia.

      And.

      “That hasn’t worked too well in Syria.”

      True ! But works for me ! :)

      And.

      “Does his mean we can reduce the size of the army since we’re never going to fight anyone. I recommend starting with Trident.”

      Bit of a silly argument that. We did not want to fight Argentina, but we did. And as for Trident well, that’s the Royal Navy, you know, the ones with an Aircraft Carrier but no Aircraft to fly it from. The Navy do seem to like their White Elephants, don’t they ?

      And

      “Appeasement and ignoring immoral actions also hasn’t worked in the past.”

      It did for Switzerland and Sweden. In fact, it was rather good business.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Its a weakness of yours Uni that your complete enthusiastic support for the EU means that whatever they do, you can see no fault in any action they take and particularly in their policies on foreign affairs.
      It reminds me of those who were similarly reluctant to criticise the USSR post war.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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