We do not need another charge of the Light Brigade


Some in the media condemn the west’s weakness for not make military moves over Ukraine. I for one am glad the west is not threatening military action. Just because the UK saw the Crimea as an area of concern at the height of our imperial power, does not mean that today the future of the Crimea is worth the lives of British soldiers. The UK has to accept it does not have the military might sufficient to take on Russia, so it should not attempt some modern equivalent of the charge of the Light Brigade.

It is true that Mr Obama’s refusal to make warlike noises may well encourage Mr Putin to intervene by proxy in the Crimea. Mr Putin sees the Crimea as a crucial interest, close to home, once part of the Soviet empire, and important to his Black Sea fleet. Mr Obama has a simple choice to make. Does he wish to threaten Russia, saying he will strike against any Russian troops deployed? If he did this how could he be sure they were just Russian troops he hit? What if they are fully supported by the local Russian speaking population? How could he confine the military battles to local troops concentrations in the Ukraine without extending it into a fight against the whole might of the Soviet military? Any threat or intervention is fraught with difficulty.

Mr Obama as always on military matters is gripped by indecision. A stronger President may well have threatened Russia with the full might of the US military machine. A credible President would by this means have deterred a Russian advance. Mr Obama does not have that stature or image in the world, so he has to accept that Russia will push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour more.

As for the EU, it is all talk and no might. May it stay without might, but will it learn to speak accordingly?  I have no wish to be dragged into a war about who governs the Crimea thanks to membership of the EU. I do not see the Kiev government as some new saviour of democracy and upholder of my values, any more than I like the people who have taken some power in the Crimea.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    EU policy ‘is’ UK policy. Otherwise, why do we have a, ‘High representative of the European Union’, for foreign affairs and security policy ?

    In other words, a Foreign Office Minister.

    What people fail to see, is the longterm consequences of all this. There will be ripples made by this ‘splash’ and, those ripples will travel far and wide and will have a long and lasting effect. Its just a question of permutations.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      No Mark B. EU foreign policy is not UK policy. The UK policy was not to join Germany, France and Poland a couple of weeks ago; the UK policy was to do nothing, mouth platitudes, and and then send the Foreign Secretary tomorrow. Exciting stuff.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Oh but I think you will find that it is.


        “Maybe not formally speaking, but at least politically speaking, all national parliaments have become, in a way, European institutions,” the president of the European Council said. Because “this is political interdependence: the decisions of one affect all.”

        Just because they do not sound the same, does not mean that do not think the same. Germany, Poland and others may take the lead. But where ever they go, we will be bound to follow.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      One of the consequences of that amending treaty which Cameron pretended would cease to exist at the same instant that it came into force, a very unusual thing for a treaty to do, in fact unheard of; the one which according to repeated blusterings from Hague and other senior Tories would lack democratic legitimacy in this country and would give the EU too much power over our national policies and “we would not let matters rest there, the right hon. Gentleman can be assured of that”; the same one that Cameron then decided he would swallow whole, and he would let matters rest there after all, as he announced on November 4th 2009.


      “The Lisbon Treaty came into force in December 2009 and was a cornerstone in the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The treaty includes both a mutual assistance and a solidarity clause and allowed for the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) under the authority of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP), Catherine Ashton.”

      However it should be said that while the Lisbon Treaty provided “a cornerstone”, construction had already been started with Major’s Maastricht Treaty.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      We didn’t want a High Representative or an EU Foreign Service – not even Blair and Brown supported it.

      Every credible UK politician offered the job refused it and that’s how we got an embarrassing nobody like Ashton in the role.

      Britain and France still have two of the very best diplomatic services in the world – why would either chose to wind them up in favour of the EU inaction service !

  2. Old Albion
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I would have thought the (dis)UK Parliament along with America and the EU, may have learnt the stupidity of going to war in places where they are not wanted.
    But then i believe in the tooth fairy……………….

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      Albion–As usual the EU causes more, much more, trouble than it is worth and if Russia brings it up short that’s fine with me. And I cannot imagine what it has to do with America. I love my American friends dearly but nine out of ten of them could not find Ukraine on a map–why should anyone expect them to be able to? And Hague is going to fly to Ukraine–now there’s a threat. Russia has a number of very solid and very obvious reasons for taking the initiative, the main one being that, best I can tell, Crimeans actively want the Russians to help them. Instead of talking about a possible war why isn’t it obvious that after a relatively short time once everyone has become used to the way it is going to be there will be a referendum and Crimea will snuggle up closer to Russia in some way? Are there people who can even begin to think that Russia is going to give up its Black Sea fleet?

  3. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Our broadcast media are reporting the issues as if from ‘Reporting for Dummies’. First we had a ‘popular uprising’, which they liked, this had to be against an ‘authoritarian regime’ which they don’t like, rendering the uprising automatically justified. Thus they gloried in the romance of the ‘revolutionaries at the barricades’. Such dramatic pictures too which made it even better.

    It does not surprise me that the Russians are incensed and taking action to defend their interests and people but we now have the media taking sides again. And of course up pops our government with standard quotations from the Western diplomatic phrasebook – Hague and Cameron and the EU would be better advised to stay out of it. We could well regret taking sides, lets hope its not the wrong one again.

    And then of course there’s a question of hypocrisy. There is more than a slight whiff of it in the air.

    • Hope
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The BBC receives millions of pounds from the EU, it is hardly likely not to promote its view. There is a clear bias to promote the views of the EU which is against its impartiality position. Patten refuses to be examined by MPs about this or anything else it appears. Time for Patten and the BBC to go, enough is enough. The finances and culture of the country would be best served by a sell off of the BBC, it is out of control Andes would have us believe it is never wrong on anything it reports.

      As for the UK foreign policy, is there one or does the UK duplicate the EU? Why do we have to pay twice from our taxes? The EU pension rules for Commisioners is outrageously generous for so little time spent serving, no wonder Patten continues to behave as he does. Once more, it is quite difficult for him to be in charge of an impartial broadcaster and receive an EU pension, a clear conflict in terms.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        The BBC receives even more money from the TV-tax it extorts from us yet, we are ignored !

  4. formula57
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    “I for one am glad the west is not threatening military action” – and I join you and let us hope you can keep William “let’s bomb Syria” Hague under control.

    The Crimea was made administratively part of Ukraine only on Kruschev’s orders (he being a Ukrainian), so it is recent. Perhaps it is time for change.

  5. JoeSoap
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    All good sentiments. Certainly the EU would like to see a united Ukraine as part of a United Europe, but this is a silly dream. Putin is clever and realistic. By securing Russia’s interests and waiting to see which way the wind blows in the other parts of the Ukraine, he can play this matter wisely. This is the advantage of having tough and clever folk running your show, rather than publicity seekers and PR stunt men and women.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Indeed the UK would have difficulty even defending the Falklands now. Intervention as with Bliar’s endless wars (particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan) would most probably do more harm than good.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Certainly agree we should not commit any of our troops to any part of the Ukraine unless it is for, and under, UN humanitarian type protective cover.

    Yes talk to Mr Putin by all means, and attempt to sway him by argument (if he will listen) but at the end of the day Mr Putin will do as he always does, and he will make his own decisions and act accordingly.

    Thus we have yet another Country in turmoil.

    Ukraine, Egypt, Syria, Libya.

    Who will be next ?

    So many Countries, so much destruction.

  8. Richard1
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    All good arguments. It is quite worrying to see how these international crises like Ukraine and Syria encourage posturing by UK politicians. We have to accept that we now have a very small military and can therefore play no part in any military adventure except when the UK or our allies by treaty are threatened. (One possible positive from a Scottish vote to leave the UK could be to put a stop to such posturing by English politicians in future).

    Certainly Obama’s weakness and vacillation makes the world a more dangerous place. It is difficult to see we would be facing such problems with Russia had either McCain or Romney been President.

  9. Amanda
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    A voice of reason that speaks for many of us. Perhaps Mr Redwood you could ask Cameron and ‘Haigh’ to restrain their enthusiasm for EU grovelling and shut up. They DO NOT have the country’s support to pick soverignty fights with Russia; send Ukraine any money by any means; and definately not to involve any troops.

    The arrogance of telling Putin he has no legitimate right in Crimea!!! Neither does the EU have any legitimate right to undermine Governments or sovereign states by undemocratic means.

    The pair of them are a squirmingly, cringeworthy embarrassment. There is just no way in this world I will vote Tory with them in charge. Ditch them or lose. If I am going to hate a Government it may as well be someone I can truly say I have nothing common with.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      That we could go to war on behalf of the EU ???

      It beggars belief.

  10. Tedgo
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The only practical action the west could take is a complete travel ban against all Russian passport holders trying to enter the west. This could create quite a dilemma for Putin with his people having their travel and business plans interrupted.

    Its justified as the Russian people elected this cold war dinosaur.

    Just imagine wealthy Russians not being able to visit their London Homes.

    • Mark
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I would guess that many of the wealthy Russians with London homes are hoping to avoid ever having to return to Russia. Some of them are openly wanted by the Putin regime. Some who did return have been jailed or died in mysterious circumstances.

  11. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of a couple of other historic situations. The uprising against Ceaușescu in late 1989 subsequently demonstrated that the revolt was rather less spontaneous than had at first been thought. That there were distinct western fingerprints within aspects of the situation arising. Ceaușescu was a thoroughly nasty piece of work and nobody need pity his date with destiny but considering the possible outcomes with regard to Ukraine, I would not be impressed to learn that the pro-EU movement had been given tacit support by the EU itself in secret – thereby having been awarded that support in a defacto manner by the UK Government?

    Putin is also an irredeemable despot, but his hand has been forced. I very much doubt he takes pleasure in having to conduct matters accordingly but its the same situation that Hafiz al Assad found himself in late May 1982 – where Palestinian insurgent groups had established permanent presence in the Bekaa Valley to an extent that Israel was compelled to react on the ground militarily. Assad was given no choice at that time other than to respond, no matter how much he himself would not have wanted to.

    Ultimately it is Ukraine – its leaders and its population who will have to take responsibility for the conduct of their very own selves. If they’ve been abandoned by people who were intent on manipulating the tensions for their own benefit and ends, then hopefully they’ll learn of it quickly and respond accordingly. But if the allegedly pro-Western politicians in Ukraine thought they could snub Putin without sanction, then they’ve been proven very badly wrong. That’s a mistake belonging to them, and to them alone.

  12. James Matthews
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    While we (and the EU) lack the power to do anything effective and therefore as a matter of realpolitik you are clearly right, I am surprised that this does not leave you with a profound sense of unease. At the very least it should cause second thoughts about the wisdom of the huge cuts in our defence capability which have continued since the Falklands war and are on-going as well as about the western Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. The right to intervene in, support separatism in, or take over a country because of an affinity with part of its population has some notoriously malign historical precedents and there is no obvious place for it to stop. (sentence left out ed) A leadership which acknowledges the inevitability of giving way to to force majeure really ought to do its best to maintain its own capability, with allies where necessary and possible, to deploy force.

  13. TGod
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The democratically elected dictator of the Ukraine has been ousted by a violent group of neo nazis as a result Russia is starting to move in militarily to protect the population.

    One could argue that Ukraine never should have been separated from Russia because it is just an economic basket case whilst independent so if it is now to be reassimilated into Russia that would be the best result.

    Our government seems to be on the wrong side of the augument and it would be better if we just kept our noses out of the area – just leave it to the locals !

  14. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    It is all so silly . We are just not in a position to show strength . Obama is , yet why should he?
    Why cannot England/ GB begin to show the rest of the world what peace is and how we have an elite multi ethnic population who we will keep in size with the ground we occupy . As it is Sunday and a time for reflection all I want to add is ‘Dona nobis pacem’.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    We could conscript a regiment of everyone who has a PPE degree. Given them a pop gun and throw them out of a plane over the battlefield.

    It would probably do more for world peace than any other action we could possibly take.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      And call it The Charge of the Lightweight Brigade, Iain.

  16. NickW
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I agree. It would be wishful thinking to believe that the new Government in Kiev is going to be any less corrupt and unpleasant than its predecessor; furthermore, an objective analysis of Putin’s interests in defending a large conclave of ethnic Russians and strategic military bases shows that Putin has a point.

    There is a solution.
    1) A referendum in the Crimea to determine whether its people ally with Ukraine or Russia.

    2) If Russia wants the Crimea, and the people agree, the transaction is done as a fully legalised monetary purchase, not by force. (Ukraine will then get the finance it needs).

    This would be a good starting point for negotiations and would hopefully avoid a conflict that could very quickly get out of control due to ethnic and religious polarisation and clandestine interference by outsiders.

    And yes, thank God the EU does not have an Army, there is no evidence whatever that if it did, it would have the sense to know when not to use it, and there is a complete absence of any democratic control structure to curb the ambitions and stupidity of those who might control it.

    It is important too that the West knows and understands all the ethnic and religious components of this situation; at the moment it is not even on the radar.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Putin already has boots on the ground in the form of Russian bases. The Russian interest is obvious – to protect its bases in the Crimea. A US threat to this status would be no more convincing than a Russian threat the the US base at Guantanamo Bay.

  18. John E
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I agree regarding the Crimea. But will Putin stop there? Having effectively already secured that it seems probable he will look to extend his borders at least to include the other Russian majority areas of the Ukraine.

    Russia did lose the Crimean War, the charge of the Light Brigade notwithstanding. Looks like they have the upper hand this time.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I fully support your views concerning the situation in the Crimea . This part of Ukraine is , and has always been , very pro Russia . Given the turmoil in the country with minority interests overplaying their hand , I understand why Russia has shown a forcible response near to their base in the Crimea ; the sending of so many troops and military support is another matter . There is now a major stand-off between East and West and extreme care needs to be taken to avoid further conflict ; threatening and posturing ought to be disregarded , consultation is the only constructive way forward . Obama and Putin must put aside ideas of ” force settles all ” and look to find a solution within the Ukraine ; ethnically it is a very divided country and , perhaps , this points to the answer . The EU has no place in this and ought to stay out of it ; we – as previous signatories to the pact with the USA and Russia , do have an interest , but , it ought to stay at that level and not develop into a military support action with the USA . Our coat is a lot shorter than it used to be .

  20. stred
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The coverage on the BBC/Sky news and Russian TV gives a balance to the position. We also have information from people with a charity helping the Ukrainians. As far as can be seen, the rebels are not representative of all the whole population, which is split. Most of them are sick of crooked politicians and consider the previous and present deposed presidents as bad as each other. The idea that the rebels are peace loving innocents is obviously untrue. There are many thuggish elements now taking charge of areas and settling scores using guns and knives.

    The election was only a year away and the revised date is 3 months. The never elected Baronette Ashdown visiting to sympathise and laying flowers in memory of the ‘peace loving’ innocents might be described as the charge of the EU shite brigade.

  21. Jennifer A
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    “A credible President would by this means have deterred a Russian advance.”

    Sorry ?

    Obama might have more success trying to stop the EU advance – this is the real problem here after all.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      As the US Ambassador for the Ukraine was recorded as saying….’F*** the EU’


  22. Stewart Knight
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    ”I do not see the Kiev government as some new saviour of democracy and upholder of my value…….”’

    But you see Putin as an altruistic and concerned neighbour looking to help the people?

    The past few posts you have made on the Ukraine, portraying the people there and new Government as being some kind of gangsters while tacitly ignoring Putins hubris and and naked aggression and imperialism is a little sickening, and the whole reason he feels able and safe in literally invading another country.

    So where do you, John Redwood MP for the United Kingdom, want to give him tacit approval for invasion and imperial aggression next? Should we, with your blessing and leadership, be looking forward to going back to the heady days of the benevolent USSR? [sic]

    I never thought I’d see the day when approval was being given for Russia to invade and perhaps begin a, imperialistic war in the Ukraine supported by one of our MP’s. The Ukraine is now a sovereign state and any problems it has should not be dictated and driven by a bully like Putin.

    Reply Of course I do not support or approve of Putin’s actions, but I am seeking to explain how and why he has played a weak hand well whilst the West has encouraged the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine without being to help create a new stable government that can command the loyalty of the whole country. As a UK MP I do not want my country involved in the political settlement of the Ukraine.

    • Tedgo
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Re reply and “overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine”

      My take on events in Ukraine is that after some street demonstrations, albeit provoked by both the EU and Russia, the democratically elected parliament has impeached the corrupt President.

      The democratically elected parliament is still trying to run things, many commentators in the press and elsewhere seem to imply that a unelected bunch of rioters have taken over.

      What’s happened in Ukraine is not much different to the British voting for Bliar and getting Brown, or Nixon being impeached in the USA.

      Apparently under the Ukrainian Presidents rule, 70 billion dollars have been siphoned off to overseas bank accounts.

      • Jeffery
        Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        The power of Hollywood! Nixon was not impeached (but resigned), Clinton however was impeached (and did not resign).

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Well said Mr R!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Putin played a weak hand? It’s we who are weak – and divided.

    • Bob
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      As a UK MP I do not want my country involved in the political settlement of the Ukraine.

      Quite right John. Concentrate on our own borders first.

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

        John voted very strongly for the Iraq war…….and what is the difference between supporting a puppet Government in Ukraine against gangsters, and supporting gangsters in Syria against a puppet Government?

        Reply Not a vote I am proud of or would repeat.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Well said John. Stewart Knight, if you think Russia is imperialistic, what do you think of USA….? Like Iran is supposedly a major threat to the world, but is surrounded by 40 US bases in neighbouring countries (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan). Get a grip, wake up and smell the coffee!


      • Stewart Knight
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        When the US invades Iran then perhaps I will agree with you…but it hasn’t, and we are, wait for it….currently discussing the Ukraine and Russia.

        • APL
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Stewart Knight: “and we are, wait for it….currently discussing the Ukraine and Russia.”

          In the context of global geo politics it is hardly the case that these things can be taken in isolation.

          It is of note that the west have been chipping away at traditional Russian allies; Libya, western involvement in Syria frustrated by Russia, ( even if that has involved siding with factions that are in opposition to the West – don’t seem to have learned much from Afghanistan – ) and now the EU has been stirring up discontent in a country right next door to Russia – of which the Crimea is majority ethnic Russian – and worth noting the British were fighting the Russians for control of the Crimea too.

          I’d imagine its a bit like a dispute over Scotland between England and the Germany.

          • Stewart Knight
            Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            These things can and should be taken in isolation as the situations are very different.

            You’re confusing Russias allies with their customers for weaponry.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      The legitimate government of Ukraine has been overthrown by gangsters with considerable assistance from neocon and EU troublemakers. There has been no legality in any of the events that have taken place. The President had made a deal with opposition politicians for early elections and a return to the 2004 constitution, but instead, the President and his party were driven out by armed thugs who are now running the country by ‘passing’ laws without any constitutional underpinning. There has been no intervention by Russia whilst this has been taking place.

      The Ukraine is not a matter of vital interest to the English people other than we do not wish to be dragged into another neocon war by a bunch of chickenhawk politicians who have far more real pressing problems to solve here at home than their tiny little brains could possibly encompass.

      Mr Redwood is an English MP who puts the real interests of his constituents first before trying to solve the world’s problems with our powers and our money, bearing in mind we have very little of either despite Little Willy’s squeaking.

      • Stewart Knight
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        The Ukrainians should have been left to sort their own house out, and if you think the Russians did nothing previously, then you are sorely mistaken.

        John should be putting his own constituents first, but that should not include giving tacit support to Putin as he heads towards Russian hegemony in the Ukraine.

        Do we really want a new USSR? This is what we are going to end up with unless Putin and Russia is stopped….I don’t suppose anyone here thinks this is in the interrests on the UK?

        • forthurst
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Stewart Knight: “The Ukrainians should have been left to sort their own house out, and if you think the Russians did nothing previously, then you are sorely mistaken.”

          Russia did not engineer the current unelected governance in Ukraine, and the US and the EU did with very considerable funding. There is plenty on the public record including Victoria Nuland’s infamous phone call, as well as rabble-rousing in the Maidan by Neocons such as John McCain and EU representatives of Poland, Germany and France.

          “John should be putting his own constituents first, but that should not include giving tacit support to Putin as he heads towards Russian hegemony in the Ukraine.”

          He is doing nothing of the sort, merely suggesting that we should keep our noses out of it.

          “Do we really want a new USSR? This is what we are going to end up with unless Putin and Russia is stopped….I don’t suppose anyone here thinks this is in the interrests on the UK?”

          I do not wish to live in a unipolar world of any sort. Do you imagine that those whose authorship is on the PNAC document represent a benign force for peace and freedom in the world? etc ed

          • Stewart Knight
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            “Russia did not engineer the current unelected governance in Ukraine, and the US and the EU did with very considerable funding………”

            Russia installed a puppet as President of the Ukraine, and has engineered unrest using ethnic Russians in the Ukraine, so yes, Putin did engineer this specific and particular problem.

            “He is doing nothing of the sort, merely suggesting that we should keep our noses out of it. ”

            Yes he is, and in context the past two posts on the subject that John, a senior British politician made, condemns Ukrainian ‘gangs’ and gives tacit support and succour to Putin by his lack of condemnation of their aggressive military actions. I can find no reason why Putin should hold back when he is told that the gangsters are in the Ukraine and Russia is right to look after its interests by one of our senior politicians.

            Nothing short of condemnation of Putin and Russia would be expected, while arguing for us to stay out; that is of course acceptable, but not what John has done with two posts that in context condemn the Ukrainians that overthrew Putins puppet, and failed to give condemnation of Putin.

          • forthurst
            Posted March 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Stewart Knight: You obviously have a particular axe to grind about Russia and Ukraine which has distorted your view of reality; JR is wholly English as am I (almost) therefore I believe both our perceptions although different are based upon objective assessments of what is actually happening and the corresponding British interest.

          • Stewart Knight
            Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            I would reply to your reply, but it seems to have locked that last post…..

            I do have a particular axe to grind, being of some Ukrainian descent, but mostly Scottish. I don’t see the relevance of this though as I, I would presume like John, 100% British and take as much interest in this as I would any other conflict.

            My view of reality? No, no distortion. This whole situation has been engineered by Putin, the same as he engineered the conflict and subsequent invasion of Georgia using ethnic Russians.

            Putin is a bully who is looking for Russian hegemony in the east; that isn’t a distorted view of reality. From energy to forced loans, to threats of military action, he and the Russians look to their neighbours.

            Putin will be looking at British blogs like this for succour, and if you think that is a skewed and paranoid view of the world then you are very naive, especially when it comes to the like of the Russians who lack in subtlety and maturity in diplomacy.

            What should be done? Who knows, but if Putin is allowed to continue we WILL end up with a second cold war, undoubtedly.

            Stewart Knight: You obviously have a particular axe to grind about Russia and Ukraine which has distorted your view of reality………..

          • forthurst
            Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            Stewart: thank you for your frank admission. If you had read my comment of feb 25, you would realise I have a passing familiarity of the events of WWII which have lead inexorably to the bad blood in Ukraine. As an Englishman, (but part scots), I am very aware that I was brought up with a version of WWII which took me a long time to realise was not the whole truth.

            (I doubt that Putin is very interested in this blog, good as it is).

    • Stewart Knight
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink


      Putin has played a weak hand well? Putin has invaded and bullied a sovereign state, and had installed his own literal puppet president prior to that….this is playing a weak hand well? It makes me wonder what your analysis would be if he had played it badly. Putin and Russia either had the right to invade or they did not, simple as that, and anything other than a right makes this unacceptable. So I ask again, where do you condone him invading next?


      That’s as may be, but are we invading that country?


      But it is okay for Russia to get involved and invade that country to enforce a political settlement by aggressive military means?

      Chamberlain was an MP too John…….

  23. Thomas E
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    But the United Kingdom made assurances to the Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances; are you suggesting that the UK and the USA should ignore the international obligations it freely entered into?

    If so, why would any future nuclear power ever give up its weapons?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      A good example of the UK making reckless treaty obligations that it cannot possibly enforce. Reckless HM Government foreign policy. We never learn. One reason why we need to be in the EU – preventing ludicrous UK governments making ludicrous commitments which then our heroic armed forces have to deal with.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        But we signed the Treaty whilst still being members of said Union. Are therefore suggesting that our democratically elected representatives be replaced by unelected drones like the ones we currently have ? The very same ones that are going into Ukraine and laying flowers and offering empty words with no mans of backing them up should it ever get nasty.

        I would not even dare claim to know much about that region, its history and politics but, from what little I have learned this past couple of weeks, tells me that the EU is no angel, what with the Euromaiden protests.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted March 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Good points Mark. But the majority of the other EU member states did not sign the Treaty. There was no compulsion or extension to our responsibilities arising from our EU membership which was responsible for the UK signing this treaty. This is an example of the UK willingly binding itself up to something that is a) impossible in the circumstances and b) another foreign commitment which, (as others have said on these pages), is nothing directly to do with us.

          Unusually I do know a little about this area as I have been there on a history trip. I have been at the precise spot where three British spies betrayed by George Blake were arrested in Sevastopol. I have seen the Russian submaries in their pens and I have seen the remants of the British hospital built by the British during the Crimean war. I have walked the same valley that the 600 walked. I mention this only because these fleeting experiences confirm that this is of limited interest to the UK. It makes the signing of the treaty by the UK even more ridiculous. That action alone seems to me to be the actions of drones; even elected drones.

          • Mark B
            Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink


            You are indeed a well traveled and cultured fellow – I salute you ! But like much of what you saw in your time there, the treaty was a product of its time. No one knows the future. If they did, I think they would get very bored with winning the lottery every week.

            As we approach the 100th anniversary of the War to End ALL War’s, I am astounded by the multiplicity of agreements that were placed in order to stop war but really meant that we had no choice but to join. Such is the nature of international diplomacy.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Interestingly France is not a party to that agreement even though it has nuclear weapons.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Checking that out I find that the UK’s obligations are mostly negative, that is to say there were a number of things we promised not to do to Ukraine if it gave up the nuclear weapons it had on its territory, and indeed we have not done any of those things to Ukraine.

      There are two positive obligations.

      Firstly we promised to seek UN Security Council action to assist Ukraine, “as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”, if it became “a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I’m aware there has been no hint from Russia that it might use nuclear weapons, so that does not yet apply.

      Secondly we promised to consult with the other parties “in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments”.

      There is no UK commitment to assist Ukraine if it is attacked with conventional weapons, as there would have been if it had been allowed to join NATO.

      • formula57
        Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Nice research Mr Cooper: thanks 🙂

        Re NATO, Article 5 of its treaty only obliges a member state faced with an armed attack on another member to take “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”

        So, since it is a far away country of which we know little, Ukraine can be given every assistance short of actual help.

  24. william
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Do you think the Budapest Memorandum of 1994,signed by the USA, the UK, Russia and Ukraine , should be ignored? What are treaties for? Can Russia do what it likes?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I found the text of that Memorandum here:


      From my reading of that document we did not give any guarantee to assist Ukraine in the event or threat of an attack just with conventional weapons; and nor did we promise to take any direct action against Russia, or indeed against the US, if they broke any of the terms of that Memorandum.

      The point was to assure Ukraine that if it gave up its nuclear weapons it would not be left helpless in the event or threat of a nuclear attack.

      • zorro
        Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Somehow, I also think that it did not include a clause to say that we should protect a ‘gang’ which has overthrown the democratically elected President….


  25. hy
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Putin has already acted decisively without all of the hand-wringing associated with our political leaders in the West. He’s shown that the EU is hot air & nothing else when challenged.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      No he hasn’t. Its Putin’s turn next after Belarus. He knows it. Putin will be a luaughing stock within Russia within three years and maybe deposed shortly thereafter. EU will spread east to the source of cheap labour and cheap food.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        yulway martyn

        Ah so now we have it. Your beloved EU is actually an Imperialist Empire builder. That explains a lot. Well I’m afraid you and they are on the wrong side of history. Empires went out of fashion in 19th century. Small and individual is now the way forward. Lots of breakups to come over the next decade or two

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Nothing to do with empires. You choose words and then castigate them. Try and say something sensible.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink


            Stop being so naive. I know you are a shill for EU expansion, but denying that expansion into other countries in order to exploit their resources as YOU suggested, IS imperialism and empire building. If you can’t see that then you seriously need specsavers

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

          Actually you may be right. I see Prince Edward has cancelled a planned visit to Sochi. Let’s see if small makes a difference. Personally I think the EU may be more effective than a minor royal from the UK. Still let’s wait and see. As I say you may be right.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Your complete failure to understand the new zeitgeist is probably understandable in light of most of your arguments but minor royals from an antiquated monarchy are part of the problem not the solution, the EU has NO solutions to separatist movements as witnessed by your glorious leader Barrosso’s pronouncements on an independent Scotland, they will also suffer in Catalonia, Basque region, Northern Epirus, South Tyrol, Sardinia, and now Crimea as well as the more than a dozen other separatist movements in Europe currently

  26. Peter Richmond
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I could not agree more. I see in today’s Telegraph, Ukraine is pleading for help to keep its nuclear assets safe. Safe from whom I wonder? As you say, Kiev does not look to be a shining example of good government any more than the Russians.

  27. English Pensioner
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Britain has no interests in the area, and as such we should avoid any military involvement. But because we have no interests, we are in a position to help in any negotiations should they take place. The fact that Hague is going to Kiev for talks is a move in the right direction.
    If one tries to see the Russian viewpoint, they are convinced that the Western countries, want to get control of countries adjoining Russia and they also have a legitimate interest in the Black Sea ports.
    I think that there is a case for partition of the country; this was the only solution in Yugoslavia and here we have possibly a similar situation with the Russian speaking provinces in the east where the people see themselves allied with Russia, and the Ukrainian west, where they would rather be aligned with Europe.
    A major problem in the country appears to be corruption, and whilst this exists, the various international bodies, the EU, etc, should avoid supporting the country financially.

  28. ian wragg
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The EU is culpable in this conflict. With it’s empire building strategy it was bound to end in tears.
    Offering the prospect of one of the most corrupt areas in the world a chance to join the EU (and come to Britain) was stupid to say the least.
    I bet Putin is shaking in his shoes after meeting Baroness (no-one ever voted for me) Ashton the High Representative of the Eussr. She has no tanks and let it always be so. The idiots in Brussels may be guilty of [provoking WW3.How does that fit in with …”the EU is responsible for maintaining peace in Europe for the last 50 years”….Not.

  29. Andyvan
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I find this incredible. America is trying to remove the Black Sea fleets home base to isolate Russia from Syria and the EU is trying to gain control of yet another bankrupt country. The west has stirred up protests often paying protesters, sent it’s diplomats to cause trouble on the street, backed violent fascist groups and threatened Russia. How would America react if Russia was doing any of those things in Mexico or Canada? How would we react if they did it in Edinburgh or Belfast or Dublin? Putin was always certain to react. The fact that military interference is even discussed shows how out of touch and dangerous western governments and their poodles in the media really are. Going to war with Russia over a country that wasn’t even a country before the fall of the Soviet Union is absolute insanity. Anyone that even suggests it should be removed from public office and given an urgent appointment with a psychiatrist.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      This crystallises what I was going to say so thanks…… The double standards of the West are frankly unbelievable. What did they think was going to happen? What would occur if the reverse was to happen with the USA or EU? Referring to a 1991 treaty is laughable….. To enforce that shouldn’t they be insisting on the reinstatement of the lawfully elected President? The arrogance of they West is mind blowing. These people are clearly a clear and present danger to world security….. And I’m not talking about the Russians!!


  30. Colin
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    “A stronger President may well have threatened Russia with the full might of the US military machine.”

    If he were a lunatic who wanted to start World War III he might.

    All western governments – indeed all governments besides Ukraine’s and Russia’s – should keep their noses out of this. There is no public interest in getting dragged into foreign wars.

    Our governments should stop preening and trying to rule the world and get on with what we pay them for – mending the roads and emptying the bins.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Very practical advice, if only Messrs Cameron and Hague would heed it….


  31. behindthefrogs
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    As you say the UK is not big enough on its own and the US isn’t really interested probably because this problem isn’t on their doorstep and is unlikely to affect them. The only way the UK can influence matters like this is as part of a Europe that has the strength and resolve to do something. There many matters where we should be reducing Europe’s influence and control, but this is not one of them.

  32. Iain Moore
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Well said, the EU’s blunderings (or more like provocations) have woken the Russian bear.

    The EU claims it is a force for peace in Europe, conveniently forgetting the internal strife it has brought to countries, but with the Ukraine it might just have set off a war with Russia.

  33. miami.mode
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Mr Obama seems to be a typical insular American and would probably only act outside the US if their interests are directly threatened.

    The EU in these circumstances looks to be a bit of a joke and can do virtually nothing except perhaps to send Baroness Ashton and President van Rompuy in to scare them. I see that van Rompuy’s middle name is Achille so it probably only needs a kick on the back of his foot to see him off. They could of course threaten not to take any more gas from Russia thus finally ruining the EU.

    I’m sure Mr Putin will do whatever is necessary to maintain his interests in Ukraine which may unfortunately lead to a form of civil war and could end up similar to Georgia.

  34. Mark
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The EU in particular have made a real mess with their foray into Ukrainian politics. Perhaps it is that several of the members have historic links as colonists (Poland, Lithuania, Austria/Hungary, Germany) or co-belligerents (Sweden, Finland, UK, France, Italy (Sardinia)), and thus in EU minds it might provoke some sort of unity, while creating a common enemy in Russia.

    I visited the Ukraine in Soviet times. Even then, the undercurrent of tension between the Russian and Ukrainian elements of the population could be detected by a casual observer. It was equally clear that the Russians had made considerable efforts to make economic progress – and that however grudging were the generations who remembered the terrible privations of the War, Stalin’s purges and the Kholodomor famine, there were even signs of private wealth, such as a marina full of small pleasurecraft on the Dnepr.

    The economic mismanagement and corruption endemic in the post independence period from both sides of Ukrainian politics have collapsed the economy. That is not solved by having a war over the entrails. Neither is the problem of the lack of EU unification. It does nothing for either EU or Ukrainian energy dependence on Russian pipeline supplies of gas and oil (the “Druzhba” – Friendship oil line has an arm that supplies the Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary).

    Not to mention that the UK could no longer even muster 600 horse. I trust that the 650 will not try to form half a league into the Valley of Death. Someone would have blundered. It’s time to dispatch the arrogance of “theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die…”

  35. Martin Ryder
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    My question, Mr Redwood, is will we have a choice on whether or not the UK becomes involved in the Russia versus Ukraine argument?

    We are a vassal state of the Franco-German Empire and it is our masters in Brussels who are managing our involvement in this matter. If they manage this in the same way that they manage everything else then we will be at war before Christmas.

    Our only hope is that the EU Commission realises that cuts in defence spending right across Europe, other than in Russia, means that they have nothing much to fight with. The Russians are not much better off but they have enough men and materiel to occupy Eastern Ukraine and, more importantly, have the will to use violence to achieve their aims.

    I can understand the Russian position. It is the same as if the legal Mexican government was overthrown; the President chased into the USA and Mexico’s southern neighbours started to threaten the US government with force if they were to take the legitimate Mexican government’s side.

    The Ukraine people should be free to manage their internal affairs without interference and support from outside. Both the EU and the Russian Federation should keep out of the matter.

  36. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The Crimea and port of Sevastopol is a vital strategic naval area located in a key position straddling the Middle East and Europe. The Russians have more claim to this area than they do to the military zone of Konigsberg (Kaliningrad) which is occupied German territory as distinct from this territory which was transferred to Ukraine during the Soviet era.
    The Germans made enormous efforts to capture the Crimea in 1942 and Sevastopol was under siege by the heaviest railway artillery, an entire airfleet and very powerful army units under the command of General von Manstein who is reckoned by many to be the top commander at that time. The oil fields of the Southern Caucuses drew the Germans to this area which was considered to be more important for practical reasons than the capture of Moscow far to the north. The Germans defeated the Russians here at that time.
    The Crimea is no less important today. Unfortunately, we appear to have signed an agreement in 1994 to support the integrity of Ukraine’s territory. Obviously, we are incapable of backing this up militarily, and politically offensive action would also be impossible. It’s going to be humiliating for us. Putin is acting ruthlessly as the Israelis would do and he is correct to do so. He has all the cards, the gas and the oil and a powerful army. The Russians are tough. We and the Americans have been rotted and weakened from within. Putin can see this clearly when issues like, for one small example, gay rights take precedence over more important considerations.

  37. Patryk
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    John, I agree with you on the three points: The UK cannot afford to get involved militarily; Obama is a weak leader; the EU is even weaker. But I have an impression you’ve missed the most important point. All this doesn’t mean that the West can just wash hands and do nothing. What’s happened in Ukraine is a direct result of the West’s appeasement of Putin – a highly dangerous man. Even more dangerous that he’s a great strategist – makes two steps forward and one back.

  38. Peter Holmes
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Obama has no real cards to play. He has no credibility because of his ‘red-line’ debacle over Syria and the Ukraine is not in his sphere of influence. His stated intention is to cut the US international footprint, because he sees it as a legacy of American Imperialism/hegemony, which he intellectually despises.

    The NATO treaty doesn’t cover the Ukraine and Russia has a veto on the security council. The EU has no military force capable of confronting Russia, it certainly doesn’t have the political will and it is busy funding IMF loans to support Ukraine and so cant afford any military action either.

    It is also of interest that the West is supporting the ousting, in a coup, of a democratically elected president while denying the right of Crimeran’s, the majority of whom are ethnically Russian, to secede. After Kosovo this speaks of rank hypocrisy.

    Russia controls the gas going into Ukraine, has further leverage with the recent large loans it has given to Ukraine and now holds the two international airports on the peninsula.

    Putin 2 – Obama 0 at half-time.

  39. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    And let’s not forget in all this ‘holy than thou’ and ‘we know best’ posturing from Cameron and Hague, with the inference that violence is wrong and doesn’t pay, our self same Elites issue ‘get out of jail free’ cards when it suits them. Doesn’t matter how many innocent people have been murdered by terrorists, many of them are now free. We are led by unprincipled and devious people. We hear that ‘authoritarians’ should be overthrown – talk in the papers about Putin next – but how about the hypocritical, the amoral and the unprincipled here.

    • APL
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      TPW: ” with the inference that violence is wrong and doesn’t pay ”

      Odd how these pacifists were happy to bomb Libya back to the stone age leaving it under the control of rival factions of Islamic fundamentalists.

      Good result there Cameron – Hague.


  40. forthurst
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    In the Crimea, the facts on the ground have been established without the assistance ‘radicals’ armed with Molotov cocktails, paving stones, guns or knives, and an attempt to take over the Interior Ministry by gunmen was repulsed by the the Crimean Self-Defence force which has been formed to defend against an invasion by ‘radical’ forces, and which now guards the main public buildings, roads and airports. A coalition consisting of two thirds of the Crimean parliament has mandated a plebiscite for March 30 to achieve formal independence from Kiev. The newly formed Crimean government controls the Police, Security, and the Army with those unwilling to support this arrngement having resigned. Russia has already promised the Crimea financial aid. A similar situation is beginning to develop in the eastern Industrial city of Donestsk.

    Unlike the ‘radicals’ in Kiev who are intending to have nuclear weapons within six months, have ‘passed’ laws banning the Russian language from official use, without the attendance of the Party of the Regions or the President who fled for their lives, and have issued general threats against the Russian population in Ukraine, the Crimean authorities have not attempted to demonise the Ukrainian or Tartar minorities for siding with Kiev.

    Russia will not invade the Ukraine unless it needs to, to protect Russian citizens from the Kiev ‘radicals’. The hotheads currently purporting to be the legitimate government of Ukraine would be very foolish to attempt to call Russia’s bluff, but then wisdom let alone political nous does not seem to the major attributes of the ‘West’s’ new best friends. (for ‘West’, read neocon scumbags).

    There appears to be public order in the Crimea; does the ‘West’ wish to disturb it?

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Glad that you clarified what you meant by ‘West’ as I have tried to do in posts although not quite as vividly or accurately as you…


  41. Sue Doughty
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, good points. But the Russian ice free naval base is in part of the Crimea, not all of it. Looking at naval history if one finds one’s naval base at risk of land invasion the first thing to do is load the seaworthy ships with stored and spares and put them to sea so they have a better range for their guns to be used to defend the remaining base, ships, stores and staff. I note Putin has not yet done that. This implies that part of his fleet is not seaworthy!

  42. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    These latest events in Crimea come hot on the heels of several TV programmes about WW1, and in particular the causes that led to its outbreak. Those concerned with todays events would do well to study the events of 100 years ago.

    From the TV programmes I learn that a relatively minor event in 1914 provided the trigger for the major powers to take positions with alliances in opposition to each other. The fact that none, have taken a position of, in their view, vital national interest from which they would not back down, coupled with long standing nationalistic ambition and serious personality weaknesses, led by stages to World War.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      ‘serious personality weaknesses’…I wonder who you could be thinking of….?


  43. Vanessa
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I, too, am glad we are not intervening. I have heard that Britain, after the Crimea War, under-wrote all their banks. In other words WE would have to bail them out if there was a war and the finances suffered.

    Not something I relish and I am sure neither does anyone else, if this is true.

    Goodbye HS2 !!!

  44. MickC
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Disappointingly, you seem to consider Obama weak. He is not-he is a realist who understands that the USA has no national interests at stake.

    He further understands that the USA hasn’t the might to intervene succesfully in this matter.

    His economic policies may not be to your tastes. His grasp of realpolitik is, however, impeccable.

    If the EU wishes to exert military might, it had best get a suitable military. It cannot-it is broke, and cannot afford it.

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      I think that John is saying that Obama is ‘weak’ compared to how we have viewed US presidents like Reagan as ‘strong’. That is not a value judgement on this particular aspect of foreign policy per se, however, Obama has probably been seen to be ‘vacillating’…..but that is because of the neocons who still have a ‘strong’ influence in US politics.


  45. Robert Taggart
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Agreed Johnny, but…
    Blighty plus the West do need to hurt Russia in some way – politically, diplomatically, economically – in order to ‘bring it to heel’.
    Russia / Russians – by Western European standards – be at best semi-civilized. Russkies only really understand things in terms of strong or weak.
    The solution to this conundrum ?…

    A proxy war ? – the Russian Federation be made up of many different races – many of whom would love to be independent nation states – Chechnya, Dagestan, Tartarstan…
    Could Western aid and arms not be channelled to their ‘freedom fighters’ ? – by a third party ??

    • zorro
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      So Robert Taggart, who is the ‘terrorist’ now? Fomenting death and destruction from your armchair I see…..


      • Robert Taggart
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Sword-in – Zorro !…
        Those Russian Republics pose no threat to Blighty – not even to Europe – unlike the Russkies.
        Russia be the last remaining European Imperial Power – this be a golden opportunity to ‘cut it down to size’ – without any of our forces ‘laying their lives on the line’ !

    • Max dunbar
      Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      I would rate the Russians higher than ‘modern 21st century’ Britons at the moment.

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Elucidate dear ‘dunbo’ – please !

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted March 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          Hague satisfy you?

          • Robert Taggart
            Posted March 6, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            THE Hague – AYE !…
            Time those pesky Russkies were put on trial !!

  46. Terry
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    No way is the Crimea our fight. Though rather a dilemma for the Commissars in Brussels with their Marxist ideals.
    What with the Russian threat to the Ukraine , the Chinese threat to the Japanese over the disputed islands and the chronic brutality in the Middle East, the world, once again, has become a dangerous place. Whatever happens, the UK, with its armed forces so depleted, should not be going anywhere.

  47. James Matthews
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I note that a key sentence was left out of my comment. It was not offensive or abusive, but it did draw attention to some current realities on this island which many would rather not acknowledge. The fact that the editor thought it so sensitive that it should be deleted rather reinforces my point.

  48. Tad Davison
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    When speaking retrospectively long after the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, former US defence secretary, Robert McNamara urged everyone in such a crisis to try to see the situation fro the other person’s point of view, and give them a way out. I wonder how many partisan commentators have bothered to do that with Vladimir Putin?

    Might it not be the case that his movement of troops into the Crimea, is a response to what he sees as the West trying to deny him a military presence in the Black Sea?

    And what of the EU, and the overtures it made to those in the Ukraine which effectively encouraged them to overthrow a recognised legitimate government?

    The EU’s champions will say that it has brought peace throughout Europe for the last fifty years, but it sure looks now as though the EU just might have brought us to the brink of war with its expansionist policies.

    And I’m sure that the images of US Senator John McCain at the barricades effectively urging regime change in another sovereign state would not have gone unnoticed in Moscow.

    Could it not therefore be, that the present actions of the Russians, are but a reaction to what we have all seen and can testify to be an encroachment of the West upon its territory by proxy by organising and turning countries against?

    Were the situation reversed, our alarm bells would be ringing too!

    This is not the way to bring about global harmony, by trying to undermine everyone outside your sphere of influence is it Mr Kerry?

    Thank Christ neither you nor McCain ever made it to the Whitehouse in your own right, or we could have had Cuba all over again!

    Tad Davison


  49. A different Simon
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    I’m at a loss to work out what the real motive is behind the current foreign policy offensive against Russia .

    Is it the New World Order of the US , EU and City of London trying to break down one of the last bastions of resistance to World Government ?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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