Saturday 27 January 2024

To Defend The Ruin? No Thank You

Preparing for BRICS ownership, Tim Stanley writes:

The West’s military posture has moved from ‘thick’ to ‘suicidal’. The recent speech of General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the British Army, in which he suggested that Britain needs a ‘citizens army’ to see off Russia, has forced the Government to deny that it wishes to introduce conscription – in advance of a great power conflict that Grant Shapps says is perhaps five years away.

The media is casually debating ‘would Britons refuse to serve?’, on the basis that Gen Z is too neurotic to fight. The better question is ‘should we serve?’, on the grounds that our generation of leadership is so staggeringly dumb. What did Phil Ochs sing? ‘It’s always the old to lead us to the wars/ Always the young to fall…’

This crisis is on the little Brezhnevs who run the West, who failed to invest in the regular defence forces and baited Putin into invading Ukraine. Yes, primary responsibility for the war lies with that fascist thug in the Kremlin. But we also flirted with Kiev for years, dangling over it the baubles of EU and Nato membership, inviting a reaction from Russia. When it came, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, we did nothing – almost encouraging Putin to finish the job in 2022.

(The one man who did hold the line was that notorious isolationist, Donald Trump. Putin attacked under Obama, went silent under Trump, then had another go under Joe Biden. But, of course, voting Republican is a reckless act, yada yada.)

Having decided that Ukraine’s war is our war, the West has urged the fledgling nation to spill vast amounts of blood in its self-defence without providing it with the necessary arms to win, because we are unwilling to run a war economy. One vignette: the expansion of an arms factory in Troisdorf, Germany was blocked last year by the local authority because it wanted to build homes and offices instead (Nimbies Rule, Ok?) By contrast, Russian arms factories work triple shifts, six days a week, and the Asiatic empire was always likely to beat Ukraine because it is many, many times bigger. The longer we delay negotiations, the worse the peace settlement is likely to be.

Despite its obvious disadvantage, the West seems determined to compound its former errors by bringing Ukraine into Nato at the earliest opportunity. It is starting to sound suspiciously as if policymakers want a wider war – hyping up a wild scenario in which Putin, having wrecked his economy and risked a coup over invading Ukraine, will double-down and try to conquer the whole of East Europe as well (‘In for a kopek, in for a ruble’). Should this happen, and if Nato then declares war on Russia, the very notion of a citizens army will become swiftly irrelevant. Fighting would end within five minutes. No one would win except the cockroach kings of the fallout zone.

But if we must contemplate this perverse fantasy – the war game rattling around the heads of the MoD – one must ask precisely what we would be fighting for? I’m not against national service in principle; the defence of the community is an honourable cause and it can teach us life skills. And I would happily sign up should my country be directly attacked, to defend Britain’s territory, history and people. Soldiers rarely fight for abstractions; they do it for ‘home’.

But the 21st century elite is sold on an ideological project – hyper liberalism – of which many of us feel absolutely no part and would not be inclined to spill a single drop of blood. How should we define this war against Russia, China, Iran, Equatorial Guinea and any other government who wants a piece?

A war for freedom? I’m not sure we’re into that anymore: Britain is a country of bureaucracy gone mad, where speech is policed and small businessmen are sent to jail by the post office.

A last stand for Western civilisation? What civilisation? Do you think the average conscript would have a clue who Plato was? Could name that Beethoven tune, recite the Lord’s Prayer or distinguish between a Michelangelo and a Monet? Our culture has degraded into American pap, and even our curators and professors tell us it is morally rotten – built on the backs of slaves, intrinsically racist, probably homophobic.

Meanwhile, politicians pull off one blunder after another, from Iraq to the Credit Crunch to the hysteria of lockdown, and then ask for our trust in the most deadly endeavour imaginable; a gamble with life and limb that is plainly above their pay grade. Put bluntly, would you allow your conscripted sons and daughters to be sent into the trenches on the orders of Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer? The elite has wrecked the future of the young and now asks them to consider sacrificing their lives to defend the ruin. No thank you.


  1. Peter Hitchens says this article is a sign we're breaking into the mainstream.

    1. I don't know what he thinks that the Mail on Sunday is, but yes. An impending change of ownership is refocusing things beautifully.

  2. Could we be winning?

    1. Dare to dream. But never, ever, ever be complacent.