Weak, weak, weak – Ukraine and the West

                The unelected President of the Ukraine is not in control of the country he took over with his supporters. He looks weak because he is weak. He is unable to govern the east of his country. He threatens strong action to evict  armed people taking over police buildings and other parts of the administration in the Eastern cities, then fails to carry out his threats. On Monday he was not even able to stop a further occupation. Why can’t he control his forces? Why do so many people in the East of his country wish to disobey him? The interim government of the Ukraine clearly lacks authority in substantial areas of the country.

               The European Union is also weak. It was keen to extend its influence by pushing Ukraine into stronger Association agreements with it in a way bound to provoke Russia, but feeble when it comes to responding to the problems it has helped create as a result. The idea that the Ukraine should become a western looking country which could join the EU’s Common Foreign and Security policy was always going to upset the Russian influenced part of the Ukraine. Mercifully still without a large army, the EU is not proposing to use its Rapid Reaction Force to intervene in the Ukraine, and still awaits the drones it seeks.

               The President of the USA commands strong forces, yet he too is playing his hand in a way which is weak. He condemns Russia’s actions. He demands his allies in Europe intensify their sanctions, only to find Germany and others reluctant to do so. Germany has a lot more at risk – including its fuel supply – if sanctions get too lively. He has rightly ruled out the use of US force in the Ukraine, but the public announcement of this has removed all doubt or fear from Russia.

              The result is a dreadful mess. Russian people in Eastern Ukraine fear the westward looking Ukrainian regime, and seek guarantees of their lifestyle, or seek improvements which they think might come from more Russian influence. The Ukrainian regime is unable to police the whole country and keep law and order. Russia is able to offer succour to Russian speakers, whilst denying western charges about an explicit Russian military intervention in East Ukraine. The West accuses Russia of bad faith but lacks a plan to sort it out.

               The UK should stay out of this. The West does not have the military power to take on Russia without US leadership and whole hearted commitment, which is clearly lacking. The EU has done damage to the Ukraine and has jeopardised what were stable relations with Russia by its actions so far. It is more evidence of why the UK should not be part of the EU, and why we should reject the Common Foreign and Security Policy. NATO has not offered a guarantee to the Ukraine. NATO needs to make sure its credibility is not undermined by this crisis. It needs to check its defences elsewhere where it has offered a guarantee, to make sure NATO’s security pledges mean something. Russia has behaved badly, but the EU has behaved irresponsibly, and is hitched to a weak and unelected President who cannot run or unite his own country.

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97 Comments

  1. Excalibur
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    A thorough, succinct and accurate analysis, sir.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed a thorough, succinct and accurate analysis. As JR says, the result is a dreadful mess, something the EU has very considerable experience of creating and indeed perpetuating.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Excalibur – We need the EU to protect us from … the Communists. (???)

  2. Narrow shoulders
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    “It is more evidence of why the UK should not be part of the EU”

    When did that become the policy of your party Mr Redwood? A few more properly conservative policy anouncements similar to this one and I may return to the fold for the European elections in May.

    Reply I and my friends have persuaded our leader to say the current relationship with the EU does not work and needs to change. We have also secured a future In/Out referendum so if we cannot negotiate a sensible relationship we can simply leave.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed but you and your friends are under than half of the party and control rests with the Heath/Major types – heart and soul pro EU, fake green, big government, tax borrow and waste socialists.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the reply which was not quite as explicit as the line in your blog. I note you have clarified your position further down in reply to Richard1

      I do not think your leadership is on your side of the debate believing as it does that an in campaign will be winnable following renegotiation. I do hope you and your friends can continue to exert influence.

      As for the Ukraine least said soonest mended. There was an interesting article on the BBC website yesterday detailing how the RFU had managed to salvage European club rugby using behind the scenes diplomacy while the protagonists aired their views in the media. A lesson there for Ms Ashton and Messrs Hague and Obama I think.

      Reply I do not keep changing my view as some of you seem to think. I voted for out in 1975, and want an In/out referendum as I still want to be out of the current EU.

    • Aunty Estab
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, do you believe that if we get a referendum Mr Cameron is likely to negotiate in a determined manner to take back the things that should never have been given to the EU? Or is he more likely to come back with some waffle that doesn’t really change anything and claim victory? If he was to say that someone like yourself would be leading the negotiations it would give them credibility and we could think he meant business.

      Reply The good news is we can win either way. If he does not negotiate a good deal we just vote for Out.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        He will not win an overall majority and even if he does he will just rat on his supporters yet again. That or the 50% of the party in the Major, Ken Clark, Yeo, Cameron mould will force him to – or he will say he has been forced to anyway as another fig leaf!

    • mick
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      sorry john your self and the other so called anti EU brigade have had ample time to get us out of the EU, ” 40 years”, you all just shout about it but don`t do nothing only lip service so you can get re-elected, but the people now have a new defender for the UK in UKIP who are not scared to say it as it is,

      Reply Funny that. It is The Eurosceptic Conservatives who daily highlight the issues, vote against the proposals, oppose the Treaties etc. If we are going to win this battle we need to unite to fight it, and we need to win votes in the Commons. Grandstanding on talk shows does not change anything that matters.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        Just who are “The Eurosceptic Conservatives” to whom you continually refer? I know that Hague isn’t one as you told me that last week. It would be helpful if you would provide a list of names. Face it, the vast majority of your parliamentary party supports keeping the UK in the EU. We know it and you know it.

        Reply Start with the 100 who have voted for a referendum now and against the EU budget against a 3 line whip. A majority of the Conservative Parliamentary party are Eurosceptics in the sense that we want out of the current Treaties, and all Conservative MPs support negotiate and then have an In/Out referendum and are Eurosceptics by comparison to Lib Dems and Labour.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          “all Conservative MPs …..are Eurosceptics by comparison to Lib Dems and Labour” – that’s not saying much and I’m sure many would disagree with you – Clarke to name just one. How about comparing their Euroscepticism to UKIP’s? I don’t think that would stack up too well.

          • Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            UKIP doesn’t have any MPs – so the score is 100 to zero.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          It start and finishes with the sensible 100? alas. The rest are pro EU, fake green, big government career politicians like Cameron.

          • APL
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “The rest are pro EU, fake green,”

            They all voted for the climate change act! Bar, what was it two or three Tories?

            Reply 5 voted against and a few of us abstained, having spoken against the policy.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

            Indeed the climate change act was a total absurdity as should be clear to anyone intelligent & numerate, who thinks about it for an hour or two.

          • APL
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

            JR: “5 voted against and a few of us abstained, having spoken against the policy.”

            It is still a mystery what ‘abstaining’ achieves in this situation. So you’re point of view is going to lose the vote, then it’d be a point of honour and self respect to be among the losing minority.

            Really, what does abstention do?

          • APL
            Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            “you’re”

            your

    • ian wragg
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      The current leadership is good at saying things but abysmal at actually doing anything. Its a sound bite a day from Cameroon especially now elections are do and you are doomed.

    • peter davies
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I just hope your leadership are really in step with this viewpoint. What concerns me is the amount of influence the Kenneth Clarke/Heseltine types that still seem to have a lot of clout at the top of the Tory party.

    • ASedgwick
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      When the arch Europhiles in the Conservative Party were still supporting our joining the Euro one day,classsifying Lisbon as a tidying up operation and the EU was the reason we have had European peace since 1945, it is impossible to see our weak, weak, weak Government leadership getting the EU message i.e. 2015 in/out referendum and none of this renegotiation nonsense.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,

      ” I and my friends have persuaded our leader to say the current relationship with the EU does not work and needs to change.”

      Ah. Working on the relationship before Brexit is considered. I know you don’t want this either, Dr Redwood – but this will all take time, time that we don’t have. The ratchet tightens and tightens.

      To those who seem to think that they EU can be worked with from within. Why are you not alarmed that Nigel Farage could sweep the board at the Euro elections in May ? Why is the 2015 general election still the main event ? Is it perhaps because you know that it doesn’t really matter what MEPs we send to the EU Parliament because, in all truth, it cannot be influenced from within to any great degree ?

      Ukraine is a disaster – in no small part down to our own unelected and out-of-her-depth EU ‘representative’.

  3. arschloch
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Wise words to keep out and let those involved get on with what they consider to be unfinished business from the break up of the Soviet Union. John you like to blame the EU for most of the UKs ills, however I like to look at the malign effects of neo lib economics, here on America’s freedom of action. America is so hard up it cannot afford to use the space shuttle anymore. Only the other day the Americans launched a spy satellite from Cape Canaveral using a Russian powered rocket. Two Americans have also just joined the ISS again with Russian help.

    However most importantly of all, Obama can huff and puff as much as he likes, but he will inevitably not do anything because the Russians can cut the NATO supply line to Afghanistan. Its safer to transport stuff from Latvia and across Russia than through our “ally” Pakistan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_logistics_in_the_Afghan_War

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I agree with that entirely Arschloch.

      Just because the British MSM keeps it away from us, doesn’t alter the fact that the US is almost bankrupt. It has such massive debts they cannot repay, their only recourse is to keep kicking the can down the road by increasing the debt ceiling, but ignorance is bliss as they say. Yet the thing Dwight D. Eisenhower described as the ‘Military Industrial Complex’ is still putting pressure on the US government to spend money it doesn’t really have, to protect them from enemies it doesn’t really have either (apart from the ones its own expansionist, interfering policies have created). And some of the military funding is totally lost and not accounted for, but the US tax-payer still has to fork out for it.

      Hopefully, if the Ukraine has taught unenlightened people one thing, it has set out just how much meddling the US and the EU does in sovereign nations in stirring up trouble and foment. It isn’t always quite so obvious in places like Venezuela, by I have friends there who give me much more accurate accounts than is reported in the Western media.

      The west CAN work for the good of all and be free and democratic, but we must change what we have, for something we need, and it won’t be easy.

      Tad

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Are we talking democracy or autocracy? Are we talking about a government which is led by the peoples wishes or are we talking depots? Are we talking about weakness or misjudgement?
    We don’t seem to be able to get an innate separation from the English who wandered to America : do we want to?

  5. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    despots

  6. alan jutson
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Indeed a real mess.

    So sad for those who simply want to get on and live their lives in peace.

    Another example of how power (or seeking power) corrupts.

    I wonder if the EU will try and fine Russia for their refusal to negotiate ?.

    Might may not always be right, but it very often works as our own History has shown.

    A first class lesson for politicians as to why a Country should be as self sufficient as possible, so that it cannot be starved of fuel, food, or water by outsiders, and another reason why reliance on our part-time reservist type army, and our small navy and airforce is a very risky policy.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Agreed – self sufficiency and protectionism for essentials (including defence). Globalisation for luxuries and nice to haves

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      That lies at the heart of the EU problem Alan – Loyalty.

      I am loyal to this nation and its peoples first, and I want what is best for them. That’s why (and I’m sure I’m not alone) I will argue FOR anything that makes their life and our country better, and AGAINST things that make us poorer and less free.

      Of course, humanity also comes into play. I won’t support anything that makes us better off, if it has an absolutely appalling effect upon people in other parts of the world and causes them misery, as with some EU policies. The Ukraine hasn’t fared well thanks to EU meddling, and is unlikely to fare well in the future were it to become a part of the EU.

      Tad

  7. Mark B
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;

    “The unelected President of the Ukraine is not in control of the country he took over with his supporters.”

    Neither was the deposed one. He wanted to bring in the Army, but they refused.

    The one of the many reasons why the EU cannot, as it is currently constructed, succeed, is because it has no absolute power and control over Member States. It therefore cannot exercise its free will and act as an independent sovereign body. What this crises in the minds of those that want more EU will trigger, is just that – more EU ! The so called beneficial crisis.

    ” The UK should stay out of this.”

    We can’t. We are part of the EU and therefore our foreign policy is dictated by the EU. Why do you think the Foreign Secretary spends so much time in Brussels with his other EU counterparts ? He, like they, are there to discuss a common policy (not our policy) and come to an agreement – Foreign policy by committee. And because you have so many competing interests, eg Germany and her need for cheap Russian energy to drive her industry and, France selling Russia those Warships (Ho ho ho), you will not get a single coherent voice.

    An independent, free UK would have no need for such shackles. We would be able to play the role of mediator / peacemaker. Think of that ?!?!?!

    There are no good guys in this sorry tale. Not even the Ukrainians come out of this well in my view, although they are going to be the ones to suffer.

    The Eastern part of Ukraine wants to breakaway because they, just like the others, have realised the true cost of this nonsense.

    Let’s admit it, Ukraine is a failed state. Its bankrupt and hideously corrupt. Its getting monies form the IMF which, the UK taxpayer has to contribute to. This money is not free and the Ukrainians realise the TRUE cost of their new found friends.

    The Ukrainians on the Eastern side, have seen what benefits being part of Russia will be and want some of it. The country will eventually split as a result, leaving the West and the EU with the Western side, which has little to offer except more cheap labour and some Left-Wing Nazi’s.

    This all could have been so different, had we just left things a lone.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Spot on!

      Tad

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      News reports often state that Ukraine is on ‘our’ doorstep.

      Who on earth voted for this ?

  8. Richard1
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    This is the first occasion I have heard you call expressly for the UK to leave the EU. Is that now your view – renegotiation will never get an adequate result?

    Reply I voted to leave the EEC in 1975 and have said ever since I want to trade with the EU but not to be governed by it. That remains my view. I get fed up with all the criticism here implying I am some closet supporter of the current Treaties. I am also said endlessly that if we had an In/Out referendum soon I would of course vote to leave.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      ” I get fed up ..etc” A few of the blogger’s do not read and think, some only say what they think is clever.That’ s the way in life these days and how many people end up in court. They imagine what enters their mind and not what has been said.This is my daily fight and gets complicated with those who can’t speak English well. It is unforgivable when the English twist to take the credit and what has been said to you gets turned around to what you say to them.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Lionheart–As an independent wish let’s pray that the LibDems get exterminated next month, after which they, if any of them are left at all, might do us all a favour and shut up on the EU. What Ukraine demonstrates is that there are some things more important than Trade.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        It will be amusing if the LibDems get wiped out next month but I’m not sure want that Ina general election. For the conservatives to win in 2015 we need some lefties to vote LibDem – if they all vote Labour Miliband will get in.

      • peter davies
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        It makes little difference if the Lib Dems lose their seats European elections – the only place anything can happen is the HOC where they still have 50 odd MPs. In the same way it makes little difference were UKIP to sweep the board – anti EU politicians need WMinster HOC seats else we remain stuck to the EU corpse

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Good points.

        Tad

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I am sure that most contributors would never accuse you of being a “closet supporter of the current Treaties”. You are however a supporter of those who are overt supporters of the EU – current Treaties included. You told me in a previous post that the legislation behind the so-called referendum lock, much vaunted by your mendacious colleagues, is in fact the “no-referendum bill”. Most of your cabinet and other parliamentary colleagues favour keeping the UK imprisoned in and subservient to the anti-democratic EU. Still, you support them. You hate to be reminded, but when you had the chance, at the time of the vote of confidence over the Maastricht Treaty, you showed weakness and put party before country – your duplicitous colleagues haven’t forgotten that either.

      Reply I did not support the Conservatives on big issues like a referendum/EU budget/various new EU laws but voted against. I did resign from the Cabinet over Maastricht and launched a campaign to save the pound, so I do not accept treachery over Maastricht!

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,
        How did you vote in the no confidence vote?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Well you don’t get that from me. I’m not sure how I would vote in the referendum. I think its not inconceivable we could get a renegotiation which gave us an effect Swiss style deal without formally leaving, which might be the only way to get a majority for a changed relationship in the UK.

  9. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    I think it helps to understand the Russian reaction with respect to Ukraine if we recall that this conflict follows the recent conflict with respect to Syria. There we had Russia proposing a way forward and predicting the consequences of the alternative approach being pushed by the USA and the EU. The Russian view was belittled only for their warnings to be justified by the events that followed.

  10. DrJohnGalan
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    This morning I saw a brief clip of Mr Hague in his best bib and tucker condemning the actions of people in Eastern Ukraine taking over government buildings. Is this not the same Mr Hague who appeared to support the people in Kiev in their overthrow of their duly elected (albeit corrupt) president not that long ago?

    Not only weak but hypocritical as well.

  11. Antisthenes
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Rather oddly RedEd has played quite a significant part in the current farce in the Ukraine as his and his parties vote against keeping options open on intervention in Syria influenced the rest of the west to do the same. Of course direct intervention is not the best course of action but the threat of it is and it would not have exposed Obama and the west to being as weak as it now obviously is under Obama’s stewardship being de facto leader of the west when it comes to security. RedEd with Obama clutching at the life line he threw him to pull back from red lines caused a situation whereby the west showed considerable weakness on Syria which has emboldened Russia. Coupled with all the other weaknesses, silliness’s and poor judgements of the EU apparatchiks we have now a very unstable situation that we may regret for a long time to come. Time after time the left is proven to be wrong headed yet many still trust them.

  12. Amanda
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Could you please just expand on your ‘Russia has behaved badly’ conclusion – because I cannot see anything in the text to support that.

    As far as I am aware, Russia has looked after its interests in the Crimea where it has its deep sea port; it organized a referendum there, and there was little bloodshed. Putin called Obama this week to discuss the situation in Eastern Ukraine and to discuss what a CIA ‘head’ was doing in Kiev over the weekend – Obama did not, as the media tried to imply, call Putin. If Russia is massing troops on its border with Ukraine, and I am not sure what evidence there is, is that not legitimate? And, Putin says that Russian military people are not in Eastern Ukraine, is there any substantial evidence that he is lying?

    I would also add, that Putin seems to have played a part in helping to stop the US invading Syria, and to get Assad to give up his chemical weapons. As there is now emerging a story that the gas that killed the Syrian civilians very possibly came from Turkey via Libya then Putin helped to avert a ‘misjudgement’ by the West. Along with some British MP’s and many of the British people !!

    So, Russia has behaved badly?

    Reply Russia assisted the illegal exit of Crimea from the Ukraine – it would have been better if they had negotiated a legal referendum or at least allowed western observers to see the conduct of the referendum.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–I think International law is a load of tosh and the free use of the word illegal in that context laughable.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      No point in having the EU representatives there; they would have demanded more referenda until the result the EU wanted was obtained.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Why would Russia permit western observers, many of whom would be from EU countries, to oversee the referendum when we are agreed that the EU helped to stoke up this mess in the first place? A complete non starter so why suggest it at all.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Would we allow Russian observers at the Scottish referendum ?

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          The EU is going to be shown to be full of s***

          All it’s good for is shafting its own people and offering Euro.Com loans and access to welfare benefits to new (equally bankrupt) states.

          America is economically bankrupt too.

          One side or the other was going to look impotent and Putin has had enough of the west shoving his country around for the last 26 years.

          It was stupid to poke the bear with a stick but then the EU is stupid and now it is there for all to see.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          When you say ‘we’ do you mean the British government or the Salmond regime. I’m sure that comrade Salmond would be happy to welcome the Russians to Edinburgh for the purposes of ‘observing’ the referendum. The welcome mat will not, however, be extended to English observers, in line with the tuition fee policy, even though it is their UK which is up for possible dismemberment.

    • Amanda
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for response. It was my understanding that there were ‘independent’ international observers during the referendum. Certainly the Crimea government asked OSCE observers, but they refused to go.

      Quote
      “Russia-24 also reports that 135 foreign observers from 23 nationalities have been accredited as well as 623 journalists from 169 mass medias. Russia-24 also reported that apart from foreign observers there will be 1240 Crimean observers.”

      Also, I hardly think that Crimea would have been granted a referendum, if they had asked the Kiev ‘interm government’.

    • sjb
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Amanda asks: And, Putin says that Russian military people are not in Eastern Ukraine, is there any substantial evidence that he is lying?

      http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/ukraine-submits-proof-russian-covert-action-301601

  13. Alan
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I could construct an argument that those who voted to oppose UK intervention in Syria and thereby encouraged the US Congress not to provide support for Mr Obama to intervene in Syria gave Mr Putin confidence that the US would not intervene in the Ukraine and must therefore accept a degree of responsibility for the current situation in the Ukraine.

    But in reality I don’t think either those who voted to oppose action in Syria, nor those who wanted the EU to provide more support to the Ukraine, provide any excuse at all for Russian military intervention in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is not at present a “failed state”, even if it descends to civil war, and I don’t think there should be any foreign military intervention.

    Whether we are in or out of the EU is important to us, and of some importance to the rest of the EU, but I think there is a failure of perspective in interpreting such international affairs as arguments for or against our membership of the EU. What is happening in the Ukraine could be far more important than that. There is a road here that leads to war and I would like to be sure that people don’t take it without appreciating the consequences.

    I think Mr Hague is right to try to coordinate our policy (although I am unclear what it is) with the rest of the EU, and with the US. That way we might possibly bring a halt to Russian expansionism in central Europe without war. Or at least find a way to live with it until Mr Putin, or maybe his successor, realises just how dangerous these interventions could be to the future of Russia and himself. The UK alone certainly cannot do that. If we have to talk about our membership of the EU in this connection, this is actually a argument for greater cooperation in international policy, and an argument for our membership of the EU, NATO, and the UN.

    We could of course just “stay out of this”, to use Mr Redwood’s words. That would mean the world would go on without our contribution, without taking any account at all of our interests, and without us accepting the responsibilities that lie with Security Council membership. Is that really what we want?

    Reply As members of the Security Council of course we should express an opinion. But as members of the Security Council we should also recognise that we cannot do anything through the UN, as the Security Council will either be vetoed by Russia or by the USA if it wants to do something in Ukraine.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Events dear boy, events !

      And it is these events that you have not been paying attention to.

      I will not repeat the history of this sorry little tale of European stupidity – and I am not just talking about the EU.

      You are right to mention the ,“road to war” but, there is no mechanism that would involve the UK, NATO, EU, or anyone else. Ukraine and her people will find out, just as Georgia did in 2008, that no one is going to save you if you get on the wrong side of the Russian bear. So, unless you are a well connected Chinese property (agriculture) investor, what is there to fight for ? Nothing !

      Any State worthy of such a name, that deposes a democratically elected President and installs a puppet regime which has not been given a mandate by ALL the people of Ukraine (East and West) is considered failed. It is failed when it cannot impose is sovereign responsibility, its first responsibility, to protect itself from enemies both foreign and domestic.

      No one here is turning this into a reason to leave the EU, except that of our kind host. I have mentioned the fact that our Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has had endless meeting with his counterparts the discuss and formalise a common response to what has been an EU lead foreign policy disaster. This has been compounded by the lack of a coherent policy due to the fact that various Member States have different and sometime competing aims. You mention this yourself when you say;

      “I think Mr Hague is right to try to coordinate our policy (although I am unclear what it is) with the rest of the EU . . . “

      You do not know, because he does not know, because none of them can agree ! This what is meant by influence, when Europhiles talk about the EU. The problem is, they fail to mention, that it is a two-way-street ! Whilst we may try to ‘influence’ them, they, by virtue of being a bigger mass, may in fact be influencing us. Much of the Eastern European mentality is driven by naked hatred of the Soviet Union. Notice I say, ‘Soviet Union’, and not Russia.

      And its because of these grudge bearers, who cannot tell the difference, that we, if we are not careful, could well be dragged into a war.

      Sounds extreme doesn’t it ? Well, funny enough, that is exactly what happened 100 years ago ! And we think we are so clever !

      We are not dealing with honest people. That includes Russia, the EU and the Ukraine. But until we leave this Club of Fools and petty grudges, we will always tainted them.

  14. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Seeing Kiev flying Russian fast jets over East Ukraine was slightly amusing yesterday. I immediately thought…spares eBay? Its not funny really! If I were Kiev I’d do what S. Hussein did and move their air force well away. Also, they are flying fairly close to Russian AD radar and launcher systems – things become quite scary.

    There are a number of phone calls between Vlad and the EU/USA players which are reported to us by the most unreliable media system there could be. Then Hague wailing in the background at seemingly lower and lower droll vocal tones – doom my friends. Not fixing this situation quick might well be.

    UK/USA air forces hanging about – dangerous again! Need a few home goals I suspect.

    What exactly is the price Russia is going to pay…that we have not paid toward already, and I don’t mean life loss. And that appears cheap having seen the Iraq/Afghan game.

  15. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    An excellent analysis. We should stay out, well out, and Hague on behalf of the UK should stop his arrogant posturing; no doubt he felt good, all dolled up last evening and imagining he has some sort of power. He should not make threats, it will I am sure cost us dear in the long run if he doesn’t stop. This is not a re-run of the start of WW2. Putin is not a new Hitler.

    I have considerable sympathy for the Russian position, they witnessed an armed insurrection on their border which was fomented and encouraged by the US and the EU, which may not have happened otherwise, and it should have been condemned. There have even been hints at best that western arms might be sent in to the Ukraine to prop up the illegal regime. No wonder Russians in Russia and Russian speakers in the east of Ukraine are made nervous, there are some very unsavoury people in Kiev, the EU seems so keen to build the Empire that it will stop at nothing.

    The UK government should ‘stay the hell out’.

    • bigneil
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      “there are some very unsavoury people in Kiev”
      And quite a few running the EU as well.
      As you say – “The UK government should ‘stay the hell out’.” of both.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      We cannot stay out ! That’s the whole point of this. We are ALL in it together, whether we want to or not.

      My friend, can you not see this ? Can’t anybody see this ? We are NOT in the driving seat ! Its foreign policy by committee. We have surrender our independence and cannot act alone. We have an opinion inside the EU, but are constrained by the ‘Common Position’ when addressing the outside world.

      And when you consider some of the countries we have as fellow members, I’d be a bit more than worried if I were you.

  16. James Mathews
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “Weak, weak, weak” Says a man who has favoured the decimation of already weakened British armed forces.
    As a matter of realpolitik you are no doubt right. We should keep out of a fight we can’t win. There may come a point, however, when it is us, not the Ukrainians, who pay a heavy price for our own weakness and that of our allies. Just possibly, America would be more resolute if it thought it would not have to do all the heavy lifting alone.

    Reply I have never proposed or advocated “decimating” our forces. I have argued for greater sea and air power.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply. For the avoidance of doubt I used decimating in its original sense of removing one in ten (not nine in ten) which is a pretty accurate description of what your government has done, though it understates the reduction in capability. Did you vote against the defence plans which implemented the cuts which have already taken place and those which are yet to come?

  17. Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I see it like this…

    There was a Russian puppet government in the Ukraine. The Americans, with EU connivance, ousted it and put in a US puppet government. (The Euromaidan forces were armed with baseball bats. Americans fondly imagine these are ubiquitous improvised weapons but in fact they are rare outside North America. Baseball bats are the fingerprints of Americans pulling the strings.)

    The Russians retaliated by taking the Crimea, which is the only part of the Ukraine they actually want because Sevastopol has a deep water port which can take an aircraft carrier and gives access to the Med. The Russian Baltic ports are too far away to influence the Med and they ice over in winter.

    So now we are left with the Americans wishing they had never started; the EU looking guilty for making promises to the Ukrainian people they cannot deliver on, and the Russians content with their gain but worried about instability in the East but not really wanting to go in and sort it out.

    Meanwhile the Europeans desperately need Russian oil and gas, and American big business is leaning on their government not to close the lucrative oil-rich Russian markets to them.

    At the moment I score this as Russians: 1, Rest of world: 0.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      ‘At the moment I score this as Russians: 1, Rest of world: 0.’

      And all the time, Hague is off side. He stands there out in front without the ball, clearly interfering with play.

      But the team he plays for is not the rest of the world, it’s the EU, and like any team with dwindling support and fewer gate receipts, they are surely doomed to the lower divisions.

      Tad

      Tad

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Apart from the fact that Hague is speaking for a nation that may not even exist after September this year. How can anyone possibly take that man seriously?

    • Mark B
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Nice summary. but a bit wrong.

      Former President, Viktor Yanukovych was not a Russian puppet. He was about to sign an Association Agreement with the EU, and thereby set Ukraine on the path to membership of the EU and eventually, NATO. This Russia could not ignore, so they lent on him. He refused to sign and so incurred the wrath of the EU, whole inspire an uprising that eventually toppled him.

      In his place, was put a unelected (by the WHOLE of Ukraine) President and Government, who, signed a watered down version. It was never put to the people in a referendum.

      The EU has made an awful lot of promises that this bankrupt body cannot deliver. That’s why Ukraine had to go cap in hand too the IMF for a loan, which ain’t cheap. Just ask Labour Party.

      We have no dog in this fight, but are forced by association, to participate.

  18. Bryan
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    As you say this is essentially a problem of the EU’s making which caused the anti-Russia faction to riot in the first place.

    The new President would be more likely to review his stance if:-

    1. Obamarama was told to stop talking up sanctions which would have no impact on the USA but would seriously harm the EU

    2. Mr Hague was told to keep his ‘gob’ shut.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Bryan–Hague repeatedly meeting other EU Foreign Minsters is painful to watch and I am sure has Russia, whom I do not fault much at all in all this, quaking

      • Mark B
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Leslie,

        Be kind to dear Willie. He is only going to see what other say and think, and be told what the position is by his masters.

        Bless !

    • stred
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      The Rev David Cameron should also be told by his handler to keep it shut. Especially when visiting ‘Stans and pushing possible EU boundaries.

      The ultimate Vicar of Bray has seen the light and decided that most defecting conservative voters are going to UKIP because of it’s Christian values. Unfortunately Dave, they are not all evangelists. They are conservatives. And the Labour defectors are fed up with their jobs being undermined and and not interested in the religious side, but can see their taxes being wasted, as can the conservatives.

      • stred
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Sorry about the- ‘-.

  19. oldtimer
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Russia`s strategic interest in the Crimea and the Ukraine`s political affiliations are far greater than those of the USA, the EU and the UK. It thus has a stronger hand and will win this particular political battle. All the rest is so much windbaggery.

  20. Posted April 16, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Apart from anything else, the situation in Ukraine demonstrates that people prefer to be governed by their own kind in smaller units. The people in eastern Ukraine are largely of Russian descent, speak Russian, and would prefer to have their own country governed by themselves; the people of western Ukraine are more western in their outlook, don’t speak Russian and prefer to see their future with the west rather than Russia.
    This wanting to be governed in smaller units, by one’s own kind is not happening in just Ukraine, it is happening here with Scotland, in Spain with the Basques and also in Italy where Venice and the north want independence.
    Surely this is a natural human tendency which most politicians, and especially those in the EU, fail to understand. Countries with a federal system fare better provided the members of the federation retain considerable independence with the national government only being involved in genuinely national issues. This works in Switzerland, it works in the USA, but doesn’t work in the EU because Brussels wants full control of everything.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Agreed !

      Birds of a feather, and all that.

  21. Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    After leaving behind a major cock up in Iraq and Afghanistan why don’t we just butt out….?

    • Bryan
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Do not forget Libya, Egypt and all that Arab Spring nonsense.

      Those countries and their peoples are certainly much better off after our ‘support’.

      I wonder if our politicians ever learn the lessons of History? Or are they just incapable of determining the probable consequences of their actions and thoughts?

      It is called the Simple Principles of Management and taught on every Business Management Course!

  22. Alte Fritz
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Russia is not our natural enemy. To read most of our press, you would think otherwise.

  23. Tad Davison
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    John,

    I couldn’t agree more!

    At the time of writing, it is being reported that some of the forces sent by the Ukraine ‘government’ in armoured personnel carriers to re-take buildings and other places from the pro-Russian protesters, are actually changing sides. It seems they too can see that to shackle the Ukraine to the EU and NATO, would mean an appreciable and unacceptable fall in living standards. They also realise they are being used as pawns in a geo-political game played out by the EU and Washington, that seeks to encircle Russia, and eventually take it over.

    Personally, I am against fascism and imperialism, yet those on the left conveniently overlook this as they are so besotted with the EU, they can’t see the wood for the trees. To them, the place can do no wrong. The EU always promises jam tomorrow, just as long as everyone joins it today, gives up their sovereignty and right to self-determination. But as we know, it doesn’t happen that way. Just ask the millions of people who don’t have a job anymore because of absolutely ludicrous mismanagement of the economy.

    Be assured. If the EU was any good, I would want to belong to it too, but, as with the greater majority on this blog, we know the truth of it. It’s a failed project. It is totalitarian, and does not bring prosperity, only oppression and a lack of accountability. Nor does it bring the peace its supporters continually claim. The EU and its meddling has brought us to this crisis, that could yet escalate to something VERY serious indeed, and for what, to keep with Barroso’s dream of creating an empire that extends from the West coast of Portugal, to the East coast of Asia, regardless of what damage it might cause in the process?

    Let’s not forget Barroso’s political background. I for one have grave doubts about a former communist. Even if his supporters claim he has changed his position, I’d bet my shirt he hasn’t changed enough for him not to be a clear and present danger, and his actions confirm that.

    One further point, John wrote, ‘Mercifully still without a large army, the EU is not proposing to use its Rapid Reaction Force to intervene in the Ukraine, and still awaits the drones it seeks.’ It was reported on Open Europe on the 10th April:

    ‘UK, Poland and Sweden propose sending EU police mission to Ukraine

    EU Observer reports that the UK, Poland and Sweden have proposed sending an EU police mission to Ukraine arguing that “Re-establishing confidence in the rule of law in Ukraine will be vital for future stability. We thus propose a capacity-building mission focused on supporting the police and judicial system.’

    What effect does Mr Hague think further meddling would have? Given what has already happened, it is fairly safe to say it would be inflammatory and a serious miscalculation that could potentially further fan the flames of unrest. What if one of these people were caught up in the trouble and lost their life? It is about time we put a stop to this endless procession of useless pro-EU expansionist Foreign Secretaries as a matter of urgency. I say again, Hague’s position is untenable. He cannot be a part of a government that proposes to give us all a say on our membership of the EU, if his own actions are less than impartial, and might by stealth, get the UK into a conflict that isn’t of our making, to protect this nation, or even to our advantage. Time to cut this puppet’s strings!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      And here’s another quote from today’s Open Europe:

      ‘UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed that Russia has “violated the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of every democratic country to choose its own future. If we do not defend those principles in Ukraine, including over Crimea, they will be threatened elsewhere in Europe and around the world.”

      I wonder what all those pro-EU, pro-Western, and by extension, pro-NATO people were doing on the barricades before all this trouble blew up?

      And does Hague really want to insult us with his naïve assumption that we are blind to conflicts all over the world, especially in the past 60 years, and who has had a hand in it?

      Hague’s judgement is seriously at odds with British interests. Maybe he’s manoeuvring himself for Ashton’s job when she gets kicked out.

      When it comes down to a choice between prosperity and austerity, it isn’t a surprise to find the people of Crimea chose the former. Thanks to the EU’s meddling, Ukraine can’t even pay its gas bill!

      Tad

  24. Elliot Kane
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Well said, John. Spot on.

    It’s a shame that this kind of sensible analysis is so rare elsewhere.

  25. behindthefrogs
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    However many in the USA regard this as being a European problem that they should back away from and leave theEWU to lead. This sort of problem clearly points to the need for a srong EU. We need an EU run by an elected parliament and commision that will debate the issues properly and come to solutions acceptable to our elected representatives.

    While many of our MEPs (UKIP) refuse to take part in such issues and our MPs put their heads in the sand crying its the EUs fault and nothing to do with us, the Ukraine doesn’t stand a chance.

    • Mark b
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      And that was a Party Political broadcast, by the Conservative Party.

      Oh come on please; have a mind of your own.

      • behindthfrogs
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Anyone who regularly reads my postings on this blog would be clear that I am not a conservative.

  26. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Very good article.
    Fortunately the EU is weak militarily and unlikely to be effective against the Russians even with a fully equipped army. The only practical use for such an army would be against the members of the EU itself in order to enforce compliance.
    In the meantime, our own armed forces have been bled dry and run down and the money that could have been used to strengthen and reinforce them wasted on vast socialistic programmes of benefits, foreign aid at home as well as abroad, ‘education’ and the bottomless pit of the NHS; a gross indulgence on an epic scale. Now, not only are our armed forces emasculated by the imperatives of diversity and equality (vividly exposed by the Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel) but the entire country is threatened with break-up, the catastrophic consequences of which will be the loss of extremely important naval and airbases and the strategic necessity of being able to guard the northern approaches to Britain.
    For Hague to posture and lecture the Russians from this position is ludicrous. The Russians have been patient but they do not suffer fools for ever.

  27. Rod Pudney
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Supporters of the EU like to claim that the EU stops conflict in Europe, but the EU has precipitated the Ukraine situation.

  28. forthurst
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t know about “weak, weak, weak”, but the policy of the ‘West’ in instituting civil wars then getting into a hissy fit when the ‘wrong’ side gets the upper hand, is rather tiresome for those of us who are not neocon scumbags, as well as terrifying for those whose countries are the recipients of these ‘western’ interventions. I would rather we had an independent foreign policy supported by an independent military that pursued our national interest, not those of whose interests are promoted by William ‘neocon sockpuppet’ Hague. If the US/NATO/EU manage to get a war going with Russia, then I think we should sit it out. I am quite fed of reading of British casualties in wars instigated by some of the most disgusting human beings on the planet.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Boy do I agree with that Forthurst!

      It’s good to know there are people out there who take the time and trouble to educate themselves, and can see when they’re being led into wars and conflicts under false pretences.

      Hardly a day passes when I’m not bringing matters to the attention of politicians that they should really know about and take on board. Things that are hard to find here at home. The big problem is the British MSM. Their version of events can so very often be contradicted with incontrovertible evidence, yet they still spin it. I ask, why do they continue to peddle it, and who does that ultimately benefit?

      It certainly doesn’t benefit the brave servicemen and women who have to go and fight these wars, or indeed their families who have to suffer the consequences, or the innocents who are injured or killed, and are glibly regarded in military speak as ‘collateral damage’. I truly admire the loyalty and devotion of our armed forces, but the phrase, ‘Lions led by Donkeys’ is not new, and still applicable today it seems.

      Tad

      • forthurst
        Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a comment from ‘Odessa Native’ on the EU Observer article, “Three EU countries back Ukraine’s use of force” (Lithuania, Sweden, Luxenbourg at a UNSC meeting 13th April):

        “They back the use of force, well certainly. I’m sure they will even help with extra military reinforcement, like it has been done at the very beginning…This is just seriously making me want to cry! My country is virtually in the state of a civil war. And you are the ones who started it, the West! Now have the decency to at least stay out of this, enough of stirring up the bloodshed! Our people have been living in fear for months now, we are desparate for this to stop, the realization of our own powerlessness is making it even worse. And it makes me so mad to read about how this and that very important person can approve or disapprove of something that’s not even any of their business. It’s people’s lives you are playing with, not just your selfish interest of doing harm to Russia.

  29. Tendryakov
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Whenever I see William Hague wagging his finger at Russia, I can’t help think of Dennis Healey’s remark about Geoffrey Howe – it’s like being savaged by a dead sheep.

  30. Terry
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Here here, John.

    Now can you persuade our Foreign Secretary to take the same approach, instead of embarrassing himself and our Nation, in eyes of Russia?

  31. Cheshire Girl
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    John, you say we should stay out of this. But will we? Every time there is an ‘uprising’ somewhere in the world, the UK Goverment seems to feel it has to ‘do something’ .

    Frankly, I ‘m fed up with this. Selfish as it may seem I feel that it is high time our Goverment paid attention to the needs and desires of the people of this country, and left the rest of the world to settle their own affairs. After all, just recently we seem to have done more harm than good with our tendency to rush in where we are often not wanted.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Not so long ago, our Prime Minister was saying we need to get into the Syrian conflict for ‘humanitarian’ reasons (as in Libya no doubt, and look what has happened there since). Except some of the ‘evidence’ of the crossing of ‘the red line’ was shown to be wholly false and constructed especially for the cameras. Very worrying that we can be taken to war on the flimsiest of pretexts, and how thankful I am that our parliament voted against it. Just think though, if we had a pan-EU foreign policy and a European defence force over which we had little if any control. Watch out Russia, here we come! would be their cry! Then what I wonder?

      Tad

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      As long as nanny continues to boss her own children about she will not be able to resist the temptation to interfere with other children and try to wipe their bottoms even though they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.

  32. REPay
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I am amazed that the EU is not being fingered by the media for having caused this position. Any novice diplomat could have predicted the consequences of the drive to enlist Ukraine into the EU’s embrace. Unfortunately, the Brussels bureaucrats are used to creating damage without consequences for themselves. It is unfair to blame Baroness Ashton who is woefully under-gunned for this role (that is why she was acceptable of course). She would not look so pleased with herself and concede that the EU has not helped the people of Ukraine. Of course, the EU’s aim is “acquis communitaire” and its own self-interest, rather than to help citizen of sovereign states!

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I consider myself reasonably well-educated but I still have to check how to spell the names of some of the countries (or maybe just “territories”?) which were and still are being lined up to eventually join the EU, and occasionally I have to refer to a map to refresh my memory of their locations.

    I did not vote “yes” in the 1975 referendum on whether to stay in the so-called “Common Market” with eight other western European countries, our near neighbours, so that eventually every citizen of Azerbaijan (sp?) would have the automatic right to come and live and work in my country, and I would pay more taxes to subsidise Azerbaijan (sp ?) and representatives of the Azerbaijanis (sp?) would have their say on how my country was governed.

    And the idiot Cameron would go even further, across the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan and presumably Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and Khyrgistan (sp?).

    And, no, I would never be allowed to have any say on whether I wanted any of those countries to be allowed into the EU because Cameron’s fiercely eurosceptic chum Hague enshrined it in his so-called “referendum lock” law that I would not; all accession treaties are covered by a blanket exemption, Section 4(4)(c) of his Act, which he has already invoked for the case of Croatia:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/35465/eu-act-croatia-statement.pdf

    “All of the provisions of the Croatia Accession Treaty relate to the accession of a new member State to the European Union and thus the Croatia Accession Treaty as a whole is subject to the exemption provided for in section 4(4)(c) of the Act.”

    It is all a totally bloody outrageous betrayal of the trust that the British people previously, foolishly, reposed in their politicians.

  34. bluedog
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    The Ukrainians must focus on their internal problems and not allow themselves to be distracted the Russian threat on their border. Kiev must ruthlessly ensure that its writ runs throughout the land or suffer the loss of its eastern provinces to Russia. If the Russians invade, they assume the same problems as those being incurred by the Ukrainian state. Russian threats will be acting as a catalyst to Ukrainian nationalism and the greater the Russian threat the greater the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian regime. For this reason, an astute Ukrainian regime needs the Russian threat to remain ‘in being’ while it deals with the eastern insurgency.

    And yes, having acted as a catalyst for this debacle, the EU should hang its head in shame and butt out.

    As you say JR, the UK must leave the EU, preferably tomorrow. Cameron’s timetable fools nobody; like Mr Micawber he’s hoping something will turn up, for the good. It won’t, it just gets worse.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    “The West does not have the military power to take on Russia without US leadership and wholehearted commitment.”

    In eastern Ukraine it is worse than that. The West does not have the military power to take on Russia even with US leadership and wholehearted commitment. That is because of its proximity to Russia.

  36. Oscar De Ville
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    A truly excellent analysis. Long overdue – but from our Government. Clearly we need to be on-side with USA, on whom we are utterly dependent for defence.
    But your respondents are right. Mr Hague, whatever his very rare fine qualities, has long been too eager ; too busy in too many areas ; certainly well-intentioned but far too fervent, way beyond our current clout. Was it Talleyrand who strongly urged “pas trop de zele” in foreign affairs ? He had more time to think, and got it right.
    Mr Cameron, although himself far too busy, should provide the necessary restraining hand. But will he, when so EU-bent ? Can YOU influence the PM ? Can he be made aware of the unity evident among your respondents ? Please try.

    Reply I do, and sometimes with friends succeed as with Syria.

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  • 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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