Friday 22 April 2022

And Ask Yourself The Question

Jeremy Corbyn: “I would want to see a world where we start to ultimately disband all military alliances. The issue has to be what’s the best way of bringing about peace in the future? Is it by more alliances? Is it by more military build up? Or is it by stopping the war in Ukraine and the other wars, which you haven’t mentioned at all in this discussion that are going on at the present time, which are also killing a very large number of people? And ask yourself the question, do military alliances bring peace? Or do they actually encourage each other and build up to a greater danger? I don’t blame NATO for the fact that Russia has invaded Ukraine, what I say is look at the thing historically, and look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war.”
John Pienaar: “Your conclusion at the end of the argument you’ve just given is that it would be right to disband NATO, now?”
Jeremy Corbyn: “Look, it’s not going to be disbanded now. What I think will happen is some kind of much deeper security discussion, as indeed NATO was having a security discussion with Russia until last year. They were even having joint exercises only three years ago. My view is that military alliances tend to build up a mirror image of each other.”

How is any of that anything other than a statement of the obvious? Wes Streeting may have some commitment to Eternal NATO “because of Attlee”, but he has no such commitment to the National Health Service, which at least in England he is in politics specifically in order to privatise, thereby completing the work of Tony Blair, Alan Milburn and Paul Corrigan.

What would either Streeting or Keir Starmer nationalise “because of Attlee”? The energy supply, which truly is vital to national security? The railways, which need to explain how they were ever charging so much in the first place, and why they intended to go back to doing so in a matter of weeks? By the next General Election, the electorate’s only possible problem with “a Corbynista in an Islington suit” would be the Islington suit, whatever that might mean. Watch what the Conservatives did, rather than what they said, between now and then. They are electorally dependent on seats that voted for Corbyn in 2017, and which would have done so again if Labour had not changed its position on Brexit. At Hartlepool, they have picked up, and they therefore need to retain, a seat that had voted for Corbyn both times.

Speaking of Starmer, it was of course he who caused the 2019 General Election to be held at all by changing the Brexit policy, and his own lies about Corbyn are why he cannot answer the charge that he had sought to install a “Putin apologist” as Prime Minister. Corbyn has already won a case against someone who had accused him of being a terrorist sympathiser, he would certainly win a case against anyone who called him an anti-Semite, even the BBC has long since had to apologise for that one, and he would win a case against anyone who called him pro-Putin. But Starmer’s own position depends on having to pretend that Corbyn is all of those things and more. Even though, yes, Starmer was in the Shadow Cabinet until the very last day of Corbyn’s Leadership.

Like a few right-wing journalists, Corbyn and his small parliamentary faction will once again be proved to have been correct, as they were on Kosovo, on Afghanistan, on Iraq, on Libya, and on Syria. That is already happening, as Ukraine moves inexorably to the settlement that was offered two weeks before the invasion, an invasion that Corbyn has strongly condemned. Indeed, he has a far more anti-Putin record than either the Conservatives or the Blairites. Again, that lines him up with, say, Peter Oborne or Peter Hitchens.

Crimea, which was not historically part of the Ukraine, has gone back to Russia. The Donbas, which was put in the Ukrainian SSR to make independence impossible, will be Russian in all but name; no one who wanted a homeland for ethnic Ukrainians could really want the Donbas, anyway. Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral. And that will entail regime change, including denazification, with which Russia could also do. Exactly as Vladimir Putin offered before the invasion, and exactly as Corbyn has said all along. Unlike his critics, Corbyn has always been anti-Putin, just as, unlike his critics, he was always anti-Saddam.

Yes, Russia wants Transnistria as well. The feeling will be mutual, and in any case what is it to us? Only as far as strictly necessary, we are going to have to deal with it either way. Similarly, late this week, even Radio Four described the Azov Battalion as “Far Right”. Day by day, we are winning. As to the war itself, we have no reason to care which of the Azov Battalion and the Wagner Group won it. Again, only as far as strictly necessary, we are going to have to deal with whichever of them it was. But 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 in which China, India and Russia are now trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is now accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has just added yuan to its reserves, in which China has just 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 just announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned. 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.

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, with 77 per cent of Russia’s population living in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As the key 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 are the places where they keep Earth Day. And then there is Planet Earth. Only one of those is real.


  1. I disagree about Russia wanting Transnistria. Even when Russian General Lebed de-escalated that, he said they were stuck between hooligans (Transnistrian rebels) and fascists (the rulers of Moldova). I really don't think the current Russian leadership is all that interested in picking up a load of Socialist Peoples Republics, Donbass or Transnistira. They will only create trouble and bolster the Communist cause in Russia, OR if they do become part of Russia, watch a de-communisation take place, much against the will of the people there. I think Russia will leave Transnistria alone apart from its troops there to keep the peace. Besides, its disputed status is far too important for money laundering issues and nobody, East or West is willing to see that disappear.

    1. All of those are very good points. Thank you very much indeed.

  2. You can look out over the world and take it all in, it's amazing. Good point about Starmer hoist on his own petard, too.