Sunday 21 August 2022

Foundations of Geopolitics

Do not hope for a better foreign policy from Rishi Sunak than from Liz Truss. Sunak has been endorsed by Michael Gove.

The glee at the murder of Darya Dugina says it all about the morality or otherwise of the hawks. The intended target was obviously her father, Aleksandr Dugin, whom it is not clear that Vladimir Putin has ever met, and whose writings bear only the most superficial resemblance to Putin's policies. As Enoch Powell said, when told that Margaret Thatcher professed to have been influenced by his books, "She cannot have understood any of them, then."

In launching this attack and in claiming responsibility for it, Ukraine has dramatically escalated the war. It is also quite clearly deploying chemical and biological weapons on what it insists is its own territory, but the inhabitants of which it obviously does not regard as its own people, or as human beings at all. As the largest country entirely in Europe, and being more populous than any of its neighbours apart from Russia, Ukraine seeks a global role that befits a nation of more than 40 million, strategically located, abundant in natural resources, the heir of the Kievan Rus' and of the Kingdom of Ruthenia, and the homeland, one way or another, of much of the Soviet elite.

Khrushchev came of age there, and he continued to identify with it so strongly that he gave it Crimea as a drunken birthday present to himself. Brezhnev was Ukrainian without complication. Chernenko's name was immediately recognisable as Ukrainian, for such was his father. Gorbachev's mother was an ethnic Ukrainian. And so on. Populous and industrialised, it was hardly surprising that a land of coal and steel should have provided so many leading figures in the Communist Party, in an order than ended only one generation ago. Ukraine is used to being a big deal, and it intends to be a big deal again.

As in most wars, there are no goodies here. Each side is a ragbag of shady characters who wish to rule the whole of the area of the former Soviet Union. The likes of Mikheil Saakashvili and David Sakvarelidze have washed up in Ukraine, there to engage Nazi muscle. Everyone knows about the Wagner Group and so forth, but none of that makes any of this less true. The influence of Dugin does not negate the influence of Andriy Biletsky, to whom, "The mission of Ukraine is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival against the Semite-led Untermenschen."

Those two lots of very bad baddies are now facing off at Zaporizhzhia, where we are expected to believe that the Russians are simultaneously occupying and shelling the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Of course we all know what is really happening. Sadly, one or other of these is going to have to win, and we are going to have to deal with it when it did. In the meantime, however, we should be strictly humanitarian in our involvement in this as in most war zones, and we should absolutely not take either side.

Still, the existence of Zaporizhzhia is an unlikely glimmer of hope. The use of nuclear energy as part of the destruction of the British coal industry, in order to destroy the political power of the miners, has left an unnecessary legacy of bitterness on both sides. But Britain still stands on coal, and it is surrounded by sea that is itself rich in oil and gas. The wind blows a lot, and the Sun shines quite intensely from time to time, in this country that pioneered nuclear power. Let it be bathed in heat and light. This is why we have a State.