Tuesday, 30 August 2022
Strip Tony Blair of his knighthood, remove him from the Privy Council, and, since Britain now sanctions its own citizens, sanction him.
No, of course the Russians are not simultaneously occupying and shelling the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, at Zaporizhzhia. It is the Ukrainians who are doing that shelling, on what they maintain is their own territory, although they evidently do not regard its inhabitants as their own people, or even as human beings at all. See also their deployment of chemical and biological weapons.
Russia cannot even subdue Ukraine, much less conquer the whole of Europe. The internal boundaries of the Soviet Union were never designed to be international borders, indeed they were specifically designed to make impossible independence in those forms, and they were never going to last more than one generation as frontiers.
People wanting a homeland for ethnic Ukrainians would therefore be better off without the south and east of the former Ukrainian SSR, while nothing could be less attractive to Russia than the west of it. Accordingly, Russia has never stated any war aim of taking, much less holding, the whole of Ukraine. Crimea is not part of the Ukraine at all. In Galicia, it is Poland that may press a claim to the region centred on one of its principal historical cities, just as it is Hungary that has a thousand-year claim to Carpathian Ruthenia.
The sanctions regime is having no negative impact on Russia. It is pure self-harm. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling inflation, but that currency is able to purchase only the resources available.
Perhaps everyone who was suffering from the cost of living crisis should move to Ukraine, where the British Government would have no difficulty spending limitless amounts of money on us, with no questions asked, and with Opposition parties demanding only even more of the same? Yet there is no British strategic interest in any of this. We should recognise reality, and get down to freeing up the food and fuel supplies again, while we devoted ourselves to the long-term pursuit of energy independence and of greater self-sufficiency in food, the former a great deal easier than the latter.
Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today’s Russian Federation.
No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.
All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms. An enthusiast for it is the worst possible candidate to be Prime Minister. Yet we are days away from a Prime Minister who had, as Foreign Secretary, criminally encouraged British citizens to go and fight in Ukraine.
It must be said that while we may hope for a neutral and denazified Ukraine, eight years after NATO and the EU backed a Nazi putsch against an elected neutralist government, we should consider how many of those claiming asylum in Britain were from the NATO protectorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, and how very many, ostensibly from the NATO member state and EU candidate country of Albania, were in fact from the NATO protectorate of Kosovo, which is also the major source of the heroin, prostitutes, and illegal guns on our streets.
If it were also a NATO protectorate, then Ukraine, which is already a global centre of the traffic in women, and not unconnectedly of commercial surrogacy, would be like that, only with 20 times more people and 55 times more territory. It is already a candidate for EU membership. Thank heavens that Britain is not.
And thank heavens that there is a world elsewhere. Neither Argentina nor Brazil signed the World Trade Organisation statement on Ukraine. This Latin American Pope’s nuanced approach is an important example of how this war is usefully compelling us to face the fact of a real world beyond “the international community”.
On 2nd March, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote. On 7th April, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote, and the number of countries voting with Russia had increased sixfold, from four to 23.
This is the world of the recently inaugurated BRICS+ Dialogue with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. If we would not have picked some of those partners, then it is very telling that they have accepted the invitation.
This is the world in which China, India and Russia are trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has added yuan to its reserves, in which China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands of which the Queen is Head of State and thus technically a signatory to that pact, in which Russian Embassies in Africa are having to thank local men for their goodwill but ask them not to travel to Russia to join up in such numbers, and in which Vietnam has announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned.
They are weakening because pompously saying that “we must be prepared to pay the price” is an unerring sign of someone who would never have to do any such thing, but sanctions against Russia have been imposed only by North America, by Australia and New Zealand, by the American military colonies of Japan and South Korea, and by Europe, although obviously not by Europe’s largest country, the capital of which is Europe’s largest city.
77 per cent of Russia’s population lives in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As a major entrepôt to the vast world of emerging Eurasia and to the world of alliances beyond even that, it offers a potentially glittering future to Mariupol and Avozstal. There may also be such for Kherson. Part of the same pattern is the expansion of cryptocurrencies in Africa and Latin America, unwelcome though that is in itself.
From Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond, people remember who stood with them in the liberation struggle, and they remember from whom they were liberated. The same tiresome types who pretend to believe that NATO was founded as an expression of social democracy also pretend to believe that it was and is some sort of liberation movement, but the world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up. Increasingly, it is not. All this, and the Belt and Road Initiative carries all before it. Like it or not, that is the reality. We need to be at the table, or we shall be on the menu. We need to be on the bus, or we shall be under it.