3 good reasons why NATO must say NO to the Ukraine

 

The Ukraine’s application to join NATO on the eve of the NATO summit is an unhelpful intervention in global politics.

We were told by the EU and others that the EU wished to sign an Association Agreement with the Ukraine to promote more trade and friendship. It was not for military purposes. The Agreement belied that, as Russia pointed out, as it did include a clause about defence matters. To compound that with offering NATO membership would alarm Russia.

There are three good reasons to say No to the Ukraine. The first is we do not know what country  would join. Is it Ukraine on its old boundaries? In this case we have the dangerous anomaly that part of a NATO country would be under Russian control. Would it be on current de facto boundaries? In which case parts of a NATO country would not be under the military and civil control of its main government. Would it be the Ukraine minus its Russian speaking pro Russian areas? That would be unacceptable to the current Kiev government.

The second is NATO is in no position to guarantee the borders and territory of Ukraine from all comers. The Ukraine is too close to Russia. We could not protect it fully at acceptable military cost to ourselves, and without undue death and damage to the Ukraine if some  of it is taken by Russia as Crimea has been.

The third is we should not be willing to encourage the government in Kiev all the time it is part of the violence and death being visited on its own people, whatever the rights and wrongs of who started it and who is mainly to blame for its continuation. NATO should encourage democratic and peaceful regimes, who can keep their countries well governed by words and votes, not bombs and bullets.

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113 Comments

  1. mickc
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    I agree.

    Whether Cameron does remains to be seen. His belligerent statements indicate otherwise.

    Seeking to distract the voters from his political difficulties by exaggerating external, or indeed internal, threats is dangerous stuff.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Quite right; Cameron the man who said last year : “Our vision of the EU is that it should be a large trading and co-operating organisation that effectively stretches, as it were, from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Barosso wants to go further still Brian, all the way to the East coast of Asia.

        We need to take a serious look at who’s driving this expansion and the vested interests that lie behind it. The EU certainly won’t benefit many ordinary people, as records prove, so countries in their line of sight are right to view the present sabre-rattling with alarm.

        Mr Cameron said that ‘Lobbying is the next big scandal’. Let’s hope so. Get rid of the string-pullers once and for all, and we might bring ethical standards to politics and our politicians will do the bidding of the people who matter – the public – and not the ones who grease the most palms. The Spinwatch website says this:

        ‘According to reports, the Conservative Party has just deleted its entire archive of speeches (and press releases) from 2000 until May 2010 from its website. This, it says, is to ‘improve the experience for visitors’ to its website. Others have accused it of pressing delete ‘to make people forget about its broken promises and failures’.’

        I have often said that I am a capitalist and that it can be a good thing for mankind, but my beliefs are constantly being challenged by what I see in British politics, US politics, in Iraq, in Gaza, and elsewhere. I would hate it if the system I so vociferously advocated eventually became my captor, and I was just another downtrodden, third-rate slave of an ever-expanding, war-mongering elite that I had unwittingly helped to create.

        Tad

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Tad,
          “I would hate it if the system I so vociferously advocated eventually became my captor, and I was just another downtrodden, third-rate slave of an ever-expanding, war-mongering elite that I had unwittingly helped to create.”

          I fear we are almost there. The ‘elite’ seem to have no regard for the people.
          Yesterday’s Telegraph blog by Sean Thomas contained this:
          “Back in 1941 George Orwell made this acute remark:
          England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.”
          I think we can now substitute the words “three main parties
          in Parliament” for “intellectuals”. Left-wing is still approriate as it describes them all quite accurately. Unsurprisingly,
          the Telegraph allowed no comments from readers – a growing trend with a paper that sees itself as part of that ‘elite’.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            I’ve noticed that too Brian. They don’t seem to want to let people have their say on important issues, and that cannot be right in a free and democratic society.

            The tragedy of it all though, is things could be so much better. The free market can provide incentives that drive humanity forwards, where socialism often removes those incentives and fails the very people it is supposed to benefit. But it’s all been hijacked by some very dangerous elitist ideologues, and worryingly, a lot of Westminster politicians go along with it. We desperately need change, perhaps more so than most ordinary people realise.

            Tad

      • Timaction
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Its now in the public domain that he intends to renegotiate the barest minimum to keep us locked into the EU before any referendum. How predictable Cameron is.
        Government papers recently released under freedom of information show that Howard Wilson was advised that joining the EEC (EU) would seriously impact our sovereignty and democracy. He and Heath hid this from the public. The legacy parties are not fit to hold public office and should be removed for their malpractice and lies.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Given that the Ural Mountains are taken as the dividing line between the European and Asiatic parts of Russia that was an incredibly stupid thing for a British Prime Minister to say. Either he was showing himself as being ignorant of the geography or he really was suggesting that Russia should be split up, and neither way would that idiotic statement be conducive to good relations with Moscow.

        • zorro
          Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          I remember when he said it last year, and it brings into context the events in Ukraine. It was an incredibly stupid and provocative remark but not unexpected from Cameron as he was merely expounding Western geopolitical strategy. Unfortunately, they are going to get themselves into a big heap of trouble…..

          zorro

    • waramess
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      These are dangerous times and the thought that Putin will not respond robustly against the sort of aggressive sanctions that are proposed by the EU should not be underestimated.

      The thought that Ukrain membership of NATO might even be under consideration just shows how mad these politicians are.

      A peaceful settlement with Putin is still possible although the EU will have first to abandon it’s ambitions for even greater influence and to recognise and understand the concerns of the Russians.

      • zorro
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Well, it’s interesting that they want to include the Ukraine now under the ever increasingly erratic behaviour of their President, Poroshenko….. Particularly as he has dissolved Parliament and seems to be sizing up for a bit of ‘direct’ rule…… The lack of criticism of the Ukrainian army shelling its own civilians has not gone unnoticed….

        zorro

  2. formula57
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    The Ukrainian application is beyond unhelpful, running to provocative and dangerous. It cannot have been made without encouragement from some amongst the NATO current membership and that is alarming.

    Your three reasons are very sound and it would be a comfort to hear the UK government express them and publically tell Ukraine that it will not support it joining NATO. (Our NATO commitments are at present likely very much in excess of what the British public would support, were they fully aware of the extent of them.)

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      I have a Ukrainian colleague who speaks English fluently. Her children are being educated over here too. However, her parents live in Eastern Ukraine – or did live there until they got bombed out. Her uncle now lives in Krakow.
      She feels European – not British. She sees Europe as her home. She also sees the Anglosphere as we do. Russia, to her (unlike her parents) is – Russia. She tells jokes about it and some are not very nice.
      OK, so one swallow doesn’t make a summer. But I am not at all sure how many Ukrainians she is speaking for. Are you?

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Interesting point Mike .

        In my experience of working with Ukrainians the cutoff seems to be somewhere between 45 and 55 years of age .

        I believe this is a feature of the implementation strategy the elites seem to have adopted for world government .

        They don’t have to convince people like you and me . All they have to do is brainwash the young who will know no different and wait till we die .

        Your colleague reminds me of the Irish and the Scottish who seem intent on separating from England only to replace England with Brussels .

        • Excalibur
          Posted September 2, 2014 at 5:38 am | Permalink

          A pertinent observation, Simon. Sky had Nicholas William Peter Clegg pontificating about something yet again today. Why does he get so much mileage from them ? Sky is also giving exposure to the political views of sixteen to twenty-five year olds. As you say, all the architects of world government have to do is indoctrinate the young, and bide their time.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Agreed. Allowing Ukraine into Nato would only confirm Russian fears of Nato expansion and could lead from bad to worse. I don’t think it would work as a bargaining chip either. (“no Nato membership if you, Putin, de-escalate”). Non-military approaches have to be found as military ones have no track record of making things better. The EU should do more as a peace broker between Russia and the Ukraine.

    • Alan
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Of course non-military methods should be used. Anything that delays Russia’s policy of using military means to deal with its anxieties about the EU and NATO should be done. Mr Putin may change his mind, he may lose office, so we should spin things out as long as possible. But we have to recognise that Russia is using military means and history indicates that nations that start doing that often go on until military means are used to stop them. We should not give the impression we will never fight, even if we feel that the Ukraine is not the point at which the fighting should start.

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I totally agree with you. The problem is that we two are not (yet?) in the European commission. M. Barroso regularly spoke of expanding Europe. Baroness Ashton of Upholland was photographed demonstrating in Kiev and then regularly visiting the Ukraine. Now, I hear, we are to get a High Representative who has virtually no political experience and who was plucked out of total obscurity by a temporary(?) Italian Prime Minister. And M. Juncker?
    Things do not look good.
    If the Russian foreign Minister was to start demonstrating in Edinburgh over Scottish Independence, I would not be a happy bunny. Would you?

    • Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure your analogy is very apposite. A better one would be if Russia had offered an Association Agreement to the Republic of Ireland. It wouldn’t have resulted in NATO invading Ireland. Largely because the Irish would have regarded the offer with incredulity, or perhaps just with laughter.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard:
      If Britain were to threaten Ireland with destabilisation or military intervention, unless it would drop the euro, I don’t think I would object to Sergey Lavrov demonstrating on Ireland’s behalf.
      He hasn’t yet been spotted demonstrating for Donets ‘independence’ yet, although that may change, with Putin demanding ‘statehood’ for Eastern Ukraine (like statehood for Donegal?)
      Obscurity in Britain doesn’t imply obscurity in Europe. Federica Mogherini isn’t more obscure than Catherine Ashton, and personally I don’t mind not having a hawkish person in that position.

  5. Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Hi John
    Nice to meet you , hello from Tokyo. I`ve been watching this quite “Intently”
    “Don`t Forget West Germany Was A NATO Member Before Europe Became Whole. Russians & East Germans Were Confronting Us On The Other Side!
    Ukraine Has Done Its Best To Defend Itself From Russia Up Until This Point Before Russian Troops Actually Invaded! Russia Has Forced Ukraine Into This Position!
    NATO Was Established To Defend All Of Europe & North America Against Foreign Aggression! We Refuse A European Country Now Like Ukraine & NATO Looks Like A Paper Tiger!!! Putin Will Be Embolden To Take A Little More Territory!
    Ukraine & Other East European Countries Are Coming To Us In Trust & Good Faith , We Refuse Them Now In Their Hour Of Need & We Will Have Lost All Our Credibility! The Whole Meaning Of NATO Will Have Been Lost!!!
    We Need To Send Arms To Them Now Either Overtly Or Covertly like The Russians!!!
    FREEDOM ONCE LOST CAN NEVER BE TAKEN BACK SO EASILY WORLD WAR II & THE COLD WAR IS A GOOD EXAMPLE!
    Fidel Castro Once Said Quote ” We`ll Ultimately Win As A Result Of The Decadence Of The West “!!! I Hope Our Response To Ukraine Does Not Prove Him To
    Be Correct!!!
    All Of Us Must Rally To Ukraine`s Cause & Ensure Ukraine`s FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE & EUROPE`S As A MEMBER OF NATO & THE EU.
    BEST REGARDS
    Clinton Werner

    • con
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Greetings! I think you missed out a rather important part. The EU foolishly supported the overthrow of a democratically elected government in the Ukraine and forced an election to install a leader sympathetic to the EU/west.
      The EU should not have become involved in the politics and was simply, recklessly, empire building.
      The Ukraine has brought these problems on itself and I for one want nothing to do with it until it sorts itself out.
      So forget the rhetoric of ‘coming to the aid of Ukraine’. Tell Ukraine to stop the power politics.

    • Bob
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      @Clinton Werner

      “Fidel Castro Once Said Quote ” We`ll Ultimately Win As A Result Of The Decadence Of The West “!!!”

      The Royal Navy now has more Admirals than ships. In an effort to fund a burgeoning welfare budget and public sector desk jockeys our government have reduced the size are our armed forces, cut the wings off of our Nimrods, scrapped our aircraft carriers and sold our Harriers.
      The excuse they used is that in the 21st Century the need for conventional armies has diminished.

      Mr Putin doesn’t agree.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Bob,
        “The Royal Navy now has more Admirals than ships.”
        The army has more horses than tanks!
        According to the MoD they have 500 horses and 227 Challenger 2 tanks.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      An interesting post.

      I’m left to wonder what history books you read, what news channels do you watch, and will you be on the front line of any conflict?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I don’t want Ukraine in the EU, at least not while we are still in the EU, and if Hague hadn’t deliberately included a blanket exemption for all accession treaties in his so-called “referendum lock” law then I would certainly campaign and vote against Ukraine being allowed to join.

    • David Price
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Ukraine is not part of NATO currently so how would the credibility or meaning of NATO be damaged if it rejects being dragged in to a pre-existing conflict not of it’s making? Neither is Ukraine a member of the EU so where is the treaty demanding we comply by putting our people in harms way?

      In any case the EU is supposed to be the sole progenitor of peace in Europe with Germany and others being the main beneficiaries of a stable resolution, let them take the responsibility for a while.

  6. Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I believe the request was to put the Ukraine ‘on the path’ to becoming a member of NATO.The Ukraine must be feeling very vulnerable and feel the need to increase their protection.The problem as you say are coastlines and borders.If the boundaries were stable and the present conflicts were not an instigating factor for the desire to seek protection, then why should they not become a member of NATO? But this is not so, the unrest speaks of a need for a solution (which NATO will understand) . Joining NATO would inflame Putins’ stand and make Russia’s threat greater for NATO and potentially make worse the relationship with Russia which in it’s worse scenario could be war- like manoeuvres.

    The UK and USA spend a great deal of money on protection . In mercenary terms; it is not a good investment.

  7. Antisthenes
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I feel your article is more Chamberlain than Churchill. Not standing up to bullies generally has dire consequences.

    Reply The problem is there are bullies on both sides in this conflict. We also need to recognise that the USA has shown no wish to intervene with troops on the ground, pledging her whole mighty armament should Russia retaliate.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Standing up to bullies can have dire consequences too, if not done in an intelligent and winning way.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I don’t like bullies, but proper enemy identification is vital. Creeping expansionists with duplicitous intent are no friend of mine LL.

        Tad

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Nor mine.

      • Mike Rolph
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        An excellent point Lifelogic, which is why I am confused by many commenter’s positions. A coup government supported by (some violent and unpleasant people ed) strips the eastern Ukranians of their rights, including the use of their own language. Their response is to request a reforendum and a democratic solution, something that could be described as a intelligent, winning approach. The result thousands dead and wounded, tens of thousands displaced. How many towns, villages, and cities flattened by the full force of the military. Is this really what we support?
        If it is, watch out Clacton, especially if like the Eastern Ukraine you happen to be sitting on Europes third largest gas reserve.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Chamberlain was not an appeaser as history has painted him. He was a realist and politician that knew and understood the will of the people. A people that had suffered greatly in the First World War and did not want to go through the meat grinder again.

      Many of the people at that time had sympathy with Germany at that time. She lost much after the peace and was humiliated. She endured and economic disaster whose legacy still lasts to this day German (read Bundesbank) loathe inflation, hence the situation in the Eurozone.

      It irritates me when people speak of a time and paint a man or events with little understanding of what preceded it. This is why I get so angry with the ani-Thatcher brigade. They blame her for everything but, they will not discuss any of the events prior to her coming to power. It is as if they want to start from year zero (1979) and go on from there.

      **

      As a suggestion to our kind host, and in keeping with the topical nature of this blog, can I be so bold as to ask his to pen a few words on a former PM in history and events surrounding their tenure that live with us today. And not necessarily one he knew personally.

      • Alan
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        I think Chamberlain was an appeaser; that seems to me to be a matter of historical record. He may have been right. You could argue that appeasement delayed the outbreak of war, and that was to our advantage.

        I don’t think he was a realist – promising to go to war if Poland was attacked made little sense since we had no effective ability to project military power into Poland, and he got us into a war that we had no chance of winning. Only the folly of Germany making enemies of both Russia and America resulted in our being on the winning side in the end. Without that the war would just have gone on and on, consuming wealth and achieving little, with the danger that we could have been starved into submission if the U-boat campaign was successful.

        Both World Wars, regarded with the advantage of hindsight and with today’s principles rather than contemporary ones, make you wonder if we should have adopted the same policy as the USA – stay out until your lack of involvement becomes intolerable.

        It is difficult to know what lessons to draw from history for our present situation, except the obvious one that modern war is very destructive.

        • Mark B
          Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          You make some fine points. Particularly in your last two paragraphs.

          What I meant by realist was, he new that we were far too weak to face Germany. It is difficult to know why we chose Poland to make our stand as, the Soviet Union was just as wrong as Germany, yet, we went to war with one and not the other ????

          Listening to public opinion and those within the Cabinet and Parliament would have swayed his mind. The office of PM was very different to the one that we now have – an elected dictator in my view.

          But appeaser these days has come to mean coward. And I do not think Chamberlain was a coward.

      • mickc
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Yes, you are absolutely right about Chamberlain. He was indeed a realist who knew a war would destroy British power and wealth-and so it proved.

        It was Churchill who was the unrealistic romantic, and who presided over the bankruptcy of Britain and laid the ground for the Socialist landslide in 1945.

        The reputations of both men are in need of objective re-assessment.

        Elizabeth I said “I do not like wars, they are expensive and their outcome is uncertain”. She was entirely right.

        War is a last resort to be used only in defence of direct British essential interests.

        • Mark B
          Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Well said, mickc.

      • forthurst
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        There are excellent ‘revisionist’ histories of our involvement in WWII which perpetrators of the Chamberlain as appeaser meme have tried to suppress by a conspiracy targeting bookshops and a publisher. It is noteworthy that Michael Gilbert the writer of an ‘official’ history is a member of the Iraq Enquiry which is failing to publish its report:

        http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Further Reply–Joining NATO now is like seeking insurance after the fire has not only started but got going. Where draw the first line? On any basis hardly a line to die for.

    • David Price
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Standing up to bullies? How much of this is down to the EU elites gambling that NATO, US and UK would allow themselves to be drawn in. I admit there is form with regards to the Middle East but the mouthy attitude of our EU “partners” and lack of support in the past would incline me to let them flap in the wind.

  8. acorn
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    If I were the US/EU proxy government in Kiev, I would do a deal with Mr Putin; Donetsk and Luhansk regions sold to the Rostov region of Russia, (Donbass area) for a few hundred billion cubic meters of natural gas. Also, I suggest the current Kiev government has a fast jet warmed up on the runway. The EU is Fred Karno’s Army in disguise and the US will shaft anyone in their own interests.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      ‘……and the US will shaft anyone in their own interests.’

      Including the UK, and the more of us who wise up to that, the better it will be in the long run!

      These politicians who take their 30 pieces of lobbyist silver just to get elected, and then do their bidding, can only be described as corrupt.

      Tad

      • zorro
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        There is no ‘special relationship’ and never really was. The USA has no friends just interests….. Just look at Northern Ireland.

        zorro

  9. agricola
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you for responding to my off piste submission of yesterday. The article in the MOS does not appear to be repeated in todays Daily Mail. Perhaps the MOS dreamt it up at an editorial meeting or were reacting to a plant.

    CMD needs to be carefully watched on this subject, and controlled by the HOC.

    After multiple submissions yesterday from the property rental sector, I cannot think why my one well constructed submission has not yet seen the light of day.

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I see CMD ‘s mate Tusk has won a top job on 5 times his current salary. He says Britain must remain in EU at all costs. He would say that as we prop up the Polish economy. With him and the dipstick Italian foreign high whatever we could see the start of WW3. It’s like a bad dream being attacked from without and within. Vote Ukip.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I think you are correct JR. It is a dangerous consideration.

    Off topic. Well done for speaking up publicly on the farce that is the current house buying stamp duty rules.

  12. Mark B
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I seem to remember we had the same issues over Georgia. I cannot remember the details about it, but Merkel was very much against. She knew the then President / Prime Minister was trouble and, did not want them to join.

    So they arranged some fudge, whereby they would join sometime later – they of course never did.

    I can understand the Ukrainian position, but I always thought that NATO was a pact of like minded nations who, worked together against what they perceived was a common enemy. NATO was never about being a World Policeman or Bodyguard for weak.

    The EU and the US have played a decent hand very badly. They have got themselves involved with some quite unsavory people who are doing some very bad things, much of which is going unreported in the Western Media.

    But unfortunately, we are members of both the EU and NATO, and whilst we are, we are committed to both pursue the foreign policy of the former and come to the aid of any member of the latter.

    The war in Eastern Ukraine is going badly for the Ukraine. They need help.

    The Ukrainian military have been targeting civilians and, this has led Russia to make a more fuller commitment then they would like. I fear that Ukraine may have deliberately done this in order to provoke this response from Russia and seek to widen the conflict. Membership of NATO would enable them to draw on support of a lot of resources that they simply do not have.

    Putin’s back is against the wall. He has deliberately model himself as a strong man. A man of action and a protector of Russians everywhere. If he loses this fight, or is seen to lose this fight, he will become weak and vulnerable at home and, may be replaced. I think he knows this and, if my analysis is anywhere close, that makes him a very dangerous animal.

    So I find myself asking, is Ukraine worth it ? The simple answer is; No !

    • cosmic
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      “NATO was a pact of like minded nations who, worked together against what they perceived was a common enemy.”

      Yes, but since the collapse of the USSR, it’s often given the impression of casting round for reasons to justify its continued existence.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Putin has to be tough, and I’m actually glad that he is. After the fall of the former Soviet Union, and before Putin came to power, a number of people got very wealthy, very quickly. When we dig a bit more deeply, we reveal some very unsavoury characters who could plunge Russia into catastrophe were they given the chance. That would destabilise the entire region to the satisfaction of others, and world war three would be just a small step away.

      Putin is often derided for saying it would have been better had the Soviet Union not fallen. I feel this has been misconstrued by an western media eager to use any excuse to demonise him. Let’s be clear, I’m not an apologist for Putin, but whilst there were two nuclear super powers, it kept the most surreptitious and most subversive one in some kind of check. And if we look at recent history since 1991, it’s easy to see that the ‘guardian of the free and democratic world’ is really the chief protagonist of most of the conflicts of the period.

      Tad

    • forthurst
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      “The Ukrainian military have been targeting civilians and, this has led Russia to make a more fuller commitment then they would like.”

      This is what Poroshenko has claimed; however, the most likely causes for the Kyiv junta’s setbacks are that the ‘rebels’ are fighting for their families and homes, and they are doing this by using military tactics to defeat their enemy; targeting civilians is not a good strategy for winning a war.

  13. alan jutson,
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    What a tangled webb.

    The World seems to be getting out of control.

    Africa, the Middle East, now eastern Europe.

    Those defence cuts look more and more like a failed ideal.

    More Border controls ?

    I see at last we are looking to refuse re-entry to those who have known to have been fighting abroad.

    Why not simply take their passports away !

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I prefer another option Alan. Let’s not cause so many problems in other parts of the world, and thereby create so many enemies. Whilst there are so many needless wars, deliberately started, we’ll always have enemies to fight, with the inevitable consequence that they’ll one day target those who they see as the cause of all their problems.

      It doesn’t have to be like this, but the person who is recently famed for using those words as his political mantra is proving himself just as dangerous as the others, so there’s no advantage in voting Labour either.

      Tad

      • alan jutson,
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Tad

        Certainly agree with your thoughts.

        When you look back to our recent involvement in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and then ask the question.

        Have we really made the life for the populations of these countries better, more peaceful and democratic.

        The possible answer may even be we have made it even worse than it was before, because now they do not know who they can trust, such are the many splits on tribes and religion.

        It has taken us here a number of centuries to reach some form of democracy which has slowly evolved through the ages.
        Why do we think we can impose it elsewhere in just a few years , and expect the right result and for it to work.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    It seems some Tories do not want a Tory candidate even to stand in Clacton! Surely it is time for some serous movement from the Conservatives to recognise how hugely out of touch with the electorate their policies are? Some deal with UKIP in perhaps about 50 seats to give Cameron at least a small chance of remaining PM. This is surely the only way to go.

    Would they really rather just throw in the towel? A huge shift before this conference season is needed.

    • BobE
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t work. If Farage gets the balance he won’t work with CMD. They would have to get a new leader and then form a colaition. Thats what Im hoping for as a UKIP/Con would be the start of a new conservative party.

    • cosmic
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      Well, it seems to be causing consternation. Should they;

      Take it very seriously and draft in a prominent figure, as much as to say they have the wind up. BoJo has turned it down.

      Play it straight and treat it as if Carswell had departed the scene for some totally politically neutral reason, and choose the candidate accordingly.

      Select a lower profile candidate and flood the place with MPs on duty.

      Play it LibDem style with dirty tricks.

      Not fight it at all on the grounds that it’s a PR stunt and let it be a walkover.

      Not put through the recommendation that there be a by-election at all.

      Encourage Lord to play up or even adopt him as a candidate.

      All-in-all, I think they’d best play it with a straight bat and adopt the same sort of candidate they would have if Carswell had been tragically struck dead by a meteorite, and take the beating.

      Anything else has the potential to go hideously wrong for them, which I’d like to see, but looking at it dispassionately, this is one for a straight bat.

  15. agricola
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    There is something confusingly strange about your diary site. The submission of yesterday, whose absence I commented on, suddenly popped up as awaiting moderation, only to disappear again. Are you using a super computer with a mind of it’s own. Very orwellian.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      If you are posting another comment then you can see any comment which you previously submitted but which is still awaiting moderation, otherwise you can’t see it. At least that is my experience of how it works.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Is there any doubt that this is all a consequence of EU expansionism – supported by your leader who is a cheer-leader for such further enlargement of the EU?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      As with most recent western interventions we have serial blundering followed by disaster.

  17. Tedgo
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    This article is of course written from the comfort of being in the UK. In Northern Irelands past had the IRA been given tanks, anti aircraft systems and other heavy weapons no doubt UK forces would have had to be ruthless in combating them. There would have been significant collateral damage, its the nature of heavy weapons.

    With Ukraine we are at a John F Kennedy moment, Putin needs putting back in his box.

    NATO needs to put 60+ fighter planes in to western Ukraine with the message that they will bomb any rebel held heavy weapons found within Ukrainian borders. The bombing would have no regard to whether the tanks were driven by rebels or Russian army personnel.

    Such action by NATO would give the Ukraine, and the West, real bargaining power with Putin in terms he understands. Putin sees the Western leadership as weak, which it is.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      When fighting Iraq in both wars, great care was taken not to target civilians. It is a War Crime to deliberately target civilian or to place military equipment in civilian areas like Hamas has done.

      In the second Iraq War, the British Army did not want to go into Basra all guns blazing and, “Rubblize the City” as they put it.

      War can be a terrible thing and along with truth, humanity can very quickly go out the window.

      Those advocating war should be prepared to put themselves in the firing line first. The only war I advocated, was the Falklands War. Whatever the territorial claims between my country and Argentina, we were not the aggressor nation. I remember vividly some of the images of that conflict. I remember seeing images of the dead and the wounded. I remember the burned and mutilated bodies. Even back in the 80’s this was shown. But I have never wavered in my belief that we fought a just war. And the sacrifice that those who are sworn to protect ‘us’ made. Therefore, when I look at the situation in Ukraine, I cannot see any reason to be there. We have no interest and, we must recognize that this is a civil war between Slavs.

      This is not our fight.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        I agree entirely with your excellent post Mark.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Why not go straight to nuking Moscow? That would make Putin think again.

  18. Elliot Kane
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Completely agree on all counts, John. Very well said.

    Britain is already being very foolish by trying to put the blame onto Russia for a situation that the EU is primarily responsible for. We should not compound that folly by supporting Ukraine’s entry into NATO.

  19. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    While I agree that there is good reason for NATO to say “no” to Ukraine, I am concerned by your characterisation of NATO as given in the last sentence. After all, NATO is a military alliance and their business is of bombs and bullets for the protection of members of the alliance.

    NATO should not be taking on a political role, which is the job of governments and the UN.

    While undoubtedly good governance should be achieved by peaceful means, it seems to me far too simplistic to rule that any government that used violent means against some of its own people as having ruled itself out of support. Are there any examples of a government succeeding by peaceful means alone when confronted by violent internal unrest?

    Ukraine is not exactly “Czechoslovakia 1938″, but ignoring far away countries that we know little about and care even less can lead to far more serious matters that force themselves on our attention, whether we like it or not. Just saying “no” may not be good enough.

  20. A different Simon
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    This is all because Putin wants Russia to remain free and not to be subject to World Government isn’t it ?

    The only anti-federalist left in the whole world .

    • Bazman
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      This is just complete fantasy and paranoid nonsense. Free of what? Russia is ruled for the benefit of about a 1000 people and this is what is being protected. Not principles, politics left and right and so on. This is what most fail to grasp. Russians talking of sieges and starvation. In Knightbridge? Like Cameron all in together, but everthing is like through a magnifying glass a land of extremes.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      I think you can count all the BRIC countries in that. Only America and the EU want “world government” so they can try and cling on to their waning influence. Of course CMD is a fan as he is 180 degree wrong on everything. Vote Ukip.

  21. george
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    You have made a very good case for doing nothing.
    Like an ostrich you are willing to put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      That is an unfair comment.

      If our kind host buried his head in the sand as you suggest, he would not have written this piece.

      I will of course harshly criticize our kind host on many things, but it can be no easy thing to send young men, and now women, into battle. Men and women, who may be constituents of his. Men and women who have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends that may reside in the constituency of Wokingham. If he was to vote for war, and that war turned out to be unjust, how could he face people who have lost a loved one no conscience ? That would make him inhuman in my eyes.

    • formula57
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      And what if it does all go away, just like it has in Crimea?

      The something we could do rather than nothing if we must is give encouragement via diplomacy only to a negotiated settlement that takes full account of wishes for self-government – an aim not obviously outside of what Mr. Putin would like too. Alas, the leadership amongst all factions in Ukraine seems generously provisioned with a deceitful, selfish kleptocracy often including unpleasant extremists and we should refrain from giving any of them succour or reason to suppose we can be manipulated into furthering the particular ends of any of them.

      Meanwhile, there are other, more potent threats affecting the UK.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      What do you propose should be done to oppose aggressive EU expansionist ambitions then ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        It would be simple to put a brake on EU expansionism by passing a very short Act to remove sub-section 4(4)(c) from the so-called “referendum lock” law, the European Union Act 2011:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/section/4

        That’s the single line:

        “c) in the case of a treaty, the accession of a new member State”

        which provides a blanket exemption for accession treaties and so ensures that the government can agree to any EU enlargements it pleases without fear that the British people might say “no” in a referendum.

        It’s already been invoked in the case of Croatia; here’s the statement that Hague laid before Parliament in February 2012:

        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.

        In my opinion the Treaty concerning the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union of 9 December 2011 does not fall within section 4 of the Act and no referendum is required in the UK.”

        But of course that exemption is there precisely because the old parties do not want us to have any direct say over EU enlargement, notwithstanding Hague’s warm words in the Sunday Telegraph of July 17th 2011:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/william-hague/8642073/Now-you-have-power-to-veto-EU-changes-in-referendum.html

        “Now you have power to veto EU changes in referendum”

        “This is a historic development for the British people and for our Parliament. This law hands back democratic control of the way the EU is developing to the British electorate.”

  22. Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the EU or the UK should feel obliged to conduct their foreign policy to conform with what Russia wants. I don’t think Russia has any legitimate interest in what the Ukraine is doing internally, certainly not to the extent of justifying invasion, and I don’t think people should make statements that imply they think armed intervention in the Ukraine is in any way legitimate.

    I don’t want war with Russia over the Ukraine, but we need to recognise that Russia is seeing armed force as a way of increasing its influence in Europe, and it is not likely to stop doing this. We should not, in my opinion, just shrug our shoulders and accept this as an acceptable way of behaviour.

    As for the Ukraine joining NATO, I dare say that will proceed at a slow pace, but it is a reminder to Russia that if it tries to take over the whole of the Ukraine by force this will provide NATO with an excuse to intervene. It is not just Russia that can deploy forces into the Ukraine. Others can do it as well. If it comes to a large scale war, it will destroy Russia. You can argue that Mr Putin is repeating the errors of Tsar Nicholas II in 1914.

    There is still the opportunity for Russia to have a prosperous and peaceful future in cooperation with the EU, although so much trust and goodwill has been lost that this would be difficult, but I think that would provide the Russian people with more security than they will get by invading the Ukraine.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      As for Russia, I am with a blogger who once worked for US Diplomatic core. He said; “Hit them where they ain’t”

      He then went on to expand on this. Simply, if you really want to hurt your opponent, you hit them in the place where they least expect it and cannot easily retaliate.

      Russia’s strength and weakness lay in its energy reserves and the fact that Germany, the most powerful nation in the EU, is heavily dependent on it.

      If the US and other oil and gas producing nations were to supply Germany and other nations with cheap energy, and so reduce the reliance on Russia and lower the price of energy, this would hit Russia very hard. Also, if the UK and the EU, were to abolish their insane anti-CO2 legislation and allow a vast array of energy producing methods, we could not only supply our own cheap energy, but revitalize our economies.

      As LifeLogic says; “Drop the Green Crap !”

    • forthurst
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      “There is still the opportunity for Russia to have a prosperous and peaceful future in cooperation with the EU”

      …which is what Gorbachov thought he signed up to when he withdraw from Eastern Europe on condition that NATO did not seek to enrole it, but rather to treat it as neutral buffer zone whose security was mutually guaranteed.

  23. Martin
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    You also fail to understand the hatred of Russia that exists in eastern Europe. All Ukrainians I have met despise Russia. They will not accept their country being turned into an Associated Russian/Soviet Republic.

    You appear to be accepting Mr Putin’s doctrine that if Russians live some where then Russia can annex that territory ( after some some local insurgents armed by whoever takeover and a quick referendum). Would you be happy if this happened in Oligarch-land? What if the jihadists did this in Tower Hamlets?

    Reply Of coursed I do not accept external invasion and annexation by force. I have not time for Russian military interference, I do think we need to understand a lot of the people who have rebelled against the Kiev government are Ukrainian citizens. More importantly there are many peace loving Ukrainians who are neither pro the EU nor pro Russia who just want the two sides to talk to each other and find a way of working together.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      The implication that the ‘Russians’ in Ukraine are equivalent to those in the erstwhile Bolshevik satellites is not true; the Russians in the latter were clearly introduced after the Bolshevik invasions during and after WWII and were quite distinct from the native populations. Ukrainian territory, apart from that in the near West, had been part of Russia for centuries and was part of a Slavic continuum in which those in the East spoke pure Russian and those in the West a dialect of Russian.

  24. Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    World War Two started over the German invasion of Poland with whom we had treaty obligations to defend.
    I suspect that it would now be very difficult to get the British people to support a war to defend Poland; certainly it would be impossible to convince them that they should join a war on behalf of Ukraine.
    As an aside, I’m not surprised that the Army Reserve can’t get enough recruits to meet its targets; people might volunteer to join a reserve which would be there to cope with dire emergencies, a sort of modern day Home Guard, but they are not going to join knowing that they may be used instead of Regulars to get involved in conflicts which are only of peripheral concern to this country.
    Cameron has a nerve calling for the other NATO countries to spend more on defence whilst at the same time cutting our own military.

    • alan jutson,
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      EP

      Agree on all points.

    • formula57
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      @ English Pensioner – “Cameron has a nerve calling for the other NATO countries to spend more on defence whilst at the same time cutting our own military.”

      A nerve maybe, but a highly commendable one.

      Recall the UK’s reduced defence expenditure (and by extension contribution to NATO) is materially in excess of the expenditure seen in other European countries yet many of them whilst slow to provision their own military establishments seem quick enough to suggest tasks for NATO. The time is long past (for some of us!) when the UK should be making sacrifices to pull others’ chestnuts out of the fire.

    • Martin Ryder
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      I agree with all that you say here (possibly because I am also an English pensioner). I very much agree with you where the Army Reserves are concerned.

      There is no point in our rattling sabres at the Russians when they know that the first thing that the PM did when he came to power was to decimate our armed forces. He did it for good reasons – reducing the deficit – but those good reasons would not help us in a war.

      We are not strong enough to fight the Russians in Central Europe even if the whole of the EU was to mobilise along with us; they are as weak as we are. We could probably defend Britain for long enough to allow the USA to send its air forces to reinforce us but that is all.

      The PM often boasts that we have the fourth largest defence budget in the world. That may be the case, though every country pays for its military in different ways and I doubt that the international statistics are worth much. If it is true then we are not getting much of a ‘bang for our buck’.

      I am with you on this, Mr Redwood. It is best to speak softly in international affairs, especially if you are carrying a very small stick.

    • BobE
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      But who decides to go to war? Not we the people thats for certain. We should stop Germany from further enlargement, its too dangerous.

  25. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The EU, and our own government have blundered badly over the Ukrainian issue. Baroness Ashton, supported by our own Foreign Secretary, at the time, should have kept well away from offering any concessions regarding Ukraine’s alliance with the EU. It was obvious that this would ‘spook’ Putin. Now we have nothing but a limp response from Obama, and disarray within the EU – with Cameron on the sidelines, barracking. The points made by John Redwood’s, about what Ukraine would we be dealing with, are very relevant. This goes for both potential EU membership, and any possible connection with NATO. It is all becoming a bugger’s muddle.

  26. bluedog
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    George Freedman at Stratfor has put a lot of effort into re-constituting the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which encompassed most of western Ukraine. The Russians are now demanding that the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine be split off into a new country, one which will inevitably become a Russian oblast as part of a land-bridge from Russia proper to Crimea. It seems to this writer that absent a NATO ground operation, Russia will again get what it wants.

    The resulting Ukrainian state will be smaller and even weaker than the current entity, and thus susceptible to Polish entreaties. It may well be that Ukraine will revert to its former status as a province of greater Poland and therefore become a member of NATO by default.

  27. Tad Davison
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I like this blog because we get to make our case without too much censorship. Yesterday, the discussion was about political correctness to some extent, but even here, I doubt if we’d be allowed to ‘call a spade a spade’ when it comes to what is really at the heart of the world’s problems, so I just hope those who read this post will have the brains to work out who and what I am referring to, without me mentioning the dreaded word itself.

    When I first heard about the coming NATO summit, I wondered what war they’re going to cook up this time, and reading Mr Cameron’s wish list on the GOV.UK website, it’s pretty clear NATO is soon going to turn its attentions towards Russia. But I wonder who’s pushing him?

    We seem to get a never-ending stream of misinformation about conflicts around the globe, including Ukraine, so why would the powerful keep trying to dupe the people, unless they are gearing up for war and steadily acclimatising us all to that wholly avoidable prospect?

    There is an all-powerful cabal at the heart of Western politics who call the shots. They have so much disproportionate influence in banking, the media, and a whole lot more, yet I’m astounded that so many people haven’t yet got wise them. Mr Cameron seems to have adopted their agenda.

    Yesterday, I watched an episode of the Dispatches programme from 2009 presented by Peter Oborne who dealt with the matter of gaining political influence rather expertly, and it’s available to view on YouTube so I’ll let that do most of my talking.

    John wrote:

    ‘NATO should encourage democratic and peaceful regimes, who can keep their countries well governed by words and votes, not bombs and bullets.’

    I agree, but that is not where this is headed. The ‘evil empire’ that Ronald Reagan once referred to, isn’t Russia anymore, it’s sitting in our own back yard, and the British people have unwittingly become a part of it through its subterfuge and their apathy. For evil to triumph, all good men need to do is nothing at all, and before too long, all the crap this evil cabal has manufactured, will be visited upon us in the form of yet another war. And this time, it could be a big one!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • zorro
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      He who pays the piper calls the tune…..

      zorro

  28. lojolondon
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    All this foolish provocation of Russia will stop in November, when the EU suddenly discovers that Putin provides the main power supply for the whole of Europe.

    Whenever the Argentinian economy becomes so run down that people threaten to overthrow the government, their leaders start making aggressive statements about ownership of the Falklands.

    Likewise, whenever the EU really, really looks like it will fail economically, their team pick a fight with someone. Putin is not Ghadaffi or Hussein, he plays chess and does judo for fun and he never forgets. A lot of people are going to regret this provocation, certainly starting with the poorest Europeans who will be trying to keep themselves warm this winter.
    Of course, as always, the people who are causing the trouble (EU politicians) will not suffer the consequences, unfortunately.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Europe provides the main money supply and in a free market this trumps supply as you well know lojo. More evidence to back the development of alternative supplies if only to lower prices and stop Russia and other backward countries holding us to ransom. The other way is to hold the Russian elite to financial and lifestyle ransom.

  29. adams
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    NATO can defuse the situation immediately by stating that Ukraine will never be allowed to join their club . Will they have the sense to do that ? I doubt it .
    Have you seen the wall of steel protecting our beloved elites in Cardiff and Newport?
    What does Douglas Carswell say on the subject ?

  30. Mark
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    When the Ukrainian crisis blew up I pointed out that the country has a long history of being part of one empire or another and being marauded by invaders from Vikings and Swedes to Cossacks and Turks, and only a very short and failed history as an independent state. Among those former empires is the Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth – both nations seem to be cheerleading a bid to recreate that former glory.

    Having no successful experience of self government (the economy immediately crashed after independence from the Soviets and was never rebuilt to the level achieved even under their relatively inept rule), it is no surprise that the different ethnicities look to bordering countries for support. However, there is no good reason to turn this into a military conflict that is not in the interests of either Russia, NATO or EU countries.

    Of course, Russia has interests that it maintained until the collapse of the Soviet Union since it annexed much of the Ukraine in the time of Catherine the Great, ousting the other European empires, and it never seemed credible that the Russian navy should rely on a lease for its most important southern bases, any more than Faslane would make sense in an independent Scotland.

    There is a danger that both Putin and the EU have resorted to trying to increase the crisis as a way of deflecting from domestic political problems. This attitude needs to be deflated, not encouraged by militarisation.

  31. B Potter
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Given that Gorbachev agreed to exit peacefully from East Germany on the understanding that the West would not extend NATO any further eastwards (an agreement that was soon reneged upon by us), it is not surprising that Russia is viewing any possibility of its yet further expansion into the Ukraine right up to its borders as a red line in the sand. Furthermore is its covert support to its fellow Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine any more reprehensible than the US’ acknowledged $5bn spent in fomenting the overthrow of the previous legitimate government in Kiev?

    No, you are quite right, Mr Redwood, this is one mess that we need to keep well clear of. We should be pushing for a ceasfire and negotiations rather than stirring up an even more dangerous situation. Perhaps you might like to advise your leader to act a little more diplomatically and a little less belligerently – in everyone’s best interests?

    • stred
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I used to listen to Radio Moscow aand other threatening communist stations and was glad we had a strong Nato defence in Western Europe. At some point it all seems to have changed. Nato was mainly run by the military who were the allies in WW2.

      At some point it seems to have changed to the military arm of the US/EU, backing up expansion to the East, and ratting on the agreement with Gorbachev. Note that the rather belligerant sounding Nato chief, writing in the Telegraph and pleading for more expenditure, is a former EU prime minister. Someone should remind him that his job is supposed to be about defending the countries that set it up and not about buying the Ukranian land and resources cheap.

  32. Tom William
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I entirely agree with your three good reasons. This is neither a Cuban missile crisis nor another Munich.

    Off topic, but am I the only follower of this blog who is put off by the repetitious comments of some contributors? Could the moderator not ration them to, say, three a day? Could not contributions which insult other contributors (eg “idiot”) be removed? I joined this blog to read intelligent and informed comments, not to read personal insults (as found in most other blogs).

  33. Posted September 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone
    Hurray For Alan!!! You`ve made the most sensible comment today in
    my opinion Regarding Ukraine & Russia , I was a little Emotional with my comment ,
    however I don`t like to see a country like Ukraine That Has Been Fighting For Its Independence for At Least 900 years be Swallowed Up By Russia Again!!! 50 years ago “The West Would Have Responded Very Quickly To Helping Ukraine During The Cold War! Militarily & Economically Like Kennedy In The Cuban Missile Crisis. To
    Quote “Fidel Castro Once Again ” WE WILL ULTIMATELY WIN BECAUSE OF THE ULTIMATE DECADENCE OF THE WEST”!!! Putin Is Very Shrewed & Seems To Know This!! He Hasn`t Stopped Yet!!! He Knows Britain & France & Italy & Other Western Nations Are Only Thinking Of Their Selfish Interests!!!
    Best Regards
    Clint

    • stred
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      C. Werner. Well Germany tried to liberate Ukraine from Russia in the 1939-45 Great Unpleasantness. They joined forces and finished up defending Normandy from their pillboxes with machine guns until certain Western Nations managed to capture them. It all went wrong in the end and those Eastern Ukraininain traitors joined the other side. They seem to have memories of this today, with an awful lot of bad feelings.

  34. NickW
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    It is quite clear that Ukraine has been deliberately targeting the civilian population of ethnic Russians in the east with the deliberate intent of provoking Russia to protect them, enabling Ukraine to to claim (rightly or wrongly) that they have been invaded.

    If NATO puts 5000 troops into Ukraine as has been suggested, there is a real risk that they will be met with the full and overwhelming force of the Russian Army with no holds barred.

    Ukraine needs to be told to participate in peace talks, stop killing civilians, and work out their problems with Russia on their own.

    Real political leadership is needed rather than EU leaders acting like a flock of sheep and blindly following each other over a cliff, taking us with them.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    It comes down to this question: we would be prepared to risk a nuclear exchange with Russia for the sake of getting Ukraine into the EU, absorbed into what Barroso famously described as a “non-imperial empire”? As I wouldn’t want Ukraine in the EU anyway, at least not while we were still in it, and as I wouldn’t want to risk nuclear war for the sake of Ukraine, my answer is that Ukraine should not be admitted to NATO.

  36. Posted September 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Surely under the NATO Treaty even if Ukraine were to join tomorrow Article 5 would not cover a pre-existing conflict. NATO Members would not be obliged to send forces to Eastern Ukraine to fight so-called ‘separatists and even if they did then they could not possibly encounter any Russians as the Kremlin assures everyone that it has no troops in Ukraine.

    However, failure to assist Ukraine at least with weapons would send a very bad signal to all the East European NATO countries who would start to question the commitment of the Alliance to their security. What might be the likely consequences? Whilst all these countries currently have no nuclear weapons one can imagine that this status would be called into question and proliferation would be likely to follow. In addition many have sizeable Russian minorities amongst their populations and Mr. Putin’s stated willingness to ‘protect’ Russian speakers could make some populist politicians see that group as a problem their countries would be better off without.

    Either scenario would store up greater difficulties for NATO in the long term and would actually not be in Russia’s interests either but given that Mr. Putin looks at life through the bottom of a vodka glass there is little hope he is capable of a reasoned approach.

    The West has no problem supplying weapons to forces considered friendly in other conflicts so why should there be any objection to supplying the same to the forces of a country with a democratically elected President and Parliament?

    • zorro
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Hahaha….. I am sure that any Russian would drink you under the table quite easily. I must say that Putin doesn’t appear to be under the influence when I have heard him speak.

      The Ukrainians need to stop bombing their own people and hold immediate talks on the political future of their country.

      zorro

      • Posted September 2, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Looks as though I have found a new past-time. Provoking anonymous pro-Kremlin trolls! They never fail to rise to the bait.

        • zorro
          Posted September 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          You are rather funny….. ‘Pro Kremlin troll’….. Firstly, you are speaking from a position of ignorance as I have commented on the forum for years….. If I am a ‘Pro Kremlin troll’ then you must think that John is too as my position is close to his on foreign affairs. … Your use of such language suggests that you are lacking in the debating department or, at the least, are unable to see anyone’s view apart from your own….. Why don’t you go and give the Ukraine the benefit of your combat experience?

          zorro

          • Posted September 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            I rest my case! If this anonymous writer wishes to be taken seriously he or she should use their true identity rather than adopting the persona of a masked fictional character.

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted September 2, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            I fail to see what difference stating your identity would make Councillor
            First we do not actually know if you are who you say you are and secondly it wont change your opinions nor zorros

  37. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Germany to supply Ukraine with modern weapons? Is it true.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Britain selling weapons to Russia? Is this true? It is.

  38. Bazman
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    NATO must say NO to the Ukraine.
    If anyone would like to see real Russia then take a look “Real Russia” is an independent channel created by Russian videoblogger Sergey Baklykov. Very good insight into the life of the average not doing to badly Russian 30 something.

  39. Posted September 2, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Hello again
    Ukraine should be given a chance to join NATO like any other European country regardless of Circumstance , can`t afford to let a Dictator like Putin have his way ! to quote PM Cameron ” History Teaches Us Not To Avoid This Threat” to paraphrase it! But Much Stronger Action Is Needed ! Russia Is A Country With A History Whose People Are Used To Living Under Severe Situations & Are Accustomed To Coping With Them Just Look At The Winters In Russia Alone! Not To Mention Its Dark History! Therefore Endurance , Stamina & Pure Strength Are Hallmarks Of The Russian Character & The Only Thing They Respect! Therefore Sanctions Alone I`m Afraid Are Not Enough! More Needs To Be Done Before We Get Their Respect!
    Regarding Ukrainian Military Bombing Civilian Centers Of Population ,
    I think there are at least 2 factors . 1 the separatists have deliberately set up positions in those areas &2 The Ukrainian Military Has Old Fashion Weapons . This is all VERY TRAGIC & UNFORTUNATE!!! Another Reason To Give Them Modern Weapons Either Overtly Or Covertly Like Russia Is Doing To The Other Side! Let`s The Be The People The West Through History Is Famous For To Quote The SAS ” Those Who Are Bold Dare To Win”!!!
    Best Regards
    Clint

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I believe that one day the governance of south east Ukraine will resemble that of Northern Ireland. Nominal sovereignty will remain with Ukraine but there will be power sharing institutions. It will be a mess, of course, but it is perhaps better to avoid 30 years of Civil War before getting there.

    The UK had an option of going for all out victory, but that is not open to the Ukraine.

  • 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.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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