Thursday, 26 February 2015

"A Friend In Need"?

How is Ukraine any such thing? She last did anything much, if at all, for us 70 years ago. When, for fairly obvious reasons, so did Russia.

But, unlike the Russians, there were an awful lot of Ukrainians on the other side. In recent weeks, those who revere that memory have marched to our Cenotaph and laid a wreath at it in honour of their heroes. Give that a moment to sink in.

If anything, Russia's support for the war in Afghanistan (whatever one might think of that in itself), and for the general struggle against the Islamist terrorism of which she is a major target but which in its Crimean Tatar form actively supports the coup in Ukraine, makes Russia a far more recent, and arguably an ongoing, ally.

In 1945, it mattered to us whether the swastika or the hammer and sickle, both of which flags have been dug out by people who had clearly never stopped having them to hand, flew over the Donbass. But that is not at all our concern in 2015.

The coup-installed President of Ukraine has been to Abu Dhabi to see about buying weapons from the Emiratis who have given up bombing the IS that, with the other Sunni monarchies, they were so instrumental in creating.

A dozen years ago, certain newspapers, at least one of which is now fighting for its life, poured scorn on schoolboy demonstrators against the Iraq War very soon after having gleefully published pictures of tiny children waving placards in support of foxhunting.

But that, grave though it was and right though the youths were, was as nothing next to the prospect of everlasting involvement in The War Among The Wahhabi, or, without exaggeration, to World War Three against Russia.

We now see the emerging connections between those for whom we should be fighting in those two ostensibly distinct conflagrations.

We are already providing air support to one lot of the Wahhabi (while continuing to define as our enemies the Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese fighters on the ground in defence of Christians and others), and we are now, in time-honoured fashion, sending our troops to "train" the blackshirts who have taken power in Ukraine.

No one is more entitled than teenage boys to object most vigorously to these actual and putative developments. I am starting to wonder what is taking them so long to do so. I am even starting to wonder whether these follies would be considered at all if the voting age were to be lowered to 16.