By Kumar David –
“It’s a funny world” said Margaret Thatcher. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is pleading with America and the Brits to stop whipping up panic in his country, but Biden and Boris have their own agenda. Both are deep in trouble; popularity plunging, there is a revolt within their parties and Boris faces a battle for survival. Both must divert attention; what better scarecrow than a foreign enemy, funnily enough on someone else’s doorstep! The Ukrainian people demonstrate and thank the Americans and Brits for military hardware against a fate that may never befall them unless the West manages to provoke the Russian bear. The government of the Ukraine is lukewarm about joining NATO, but Biden and Boris insist “You must have the right to self-determination whether you intend to join or not. Let’s push to the brink to authorise your right”. Ukraine has made no NATO application and is unlikely to do so; maybe Zelensky and Putin have winked and established an unspoken deal! Your right Meg, it’s a funny world indeed.
Were Kiev to declare that it has no intention of joining NATO, Russian pressure would cease. Putin has placed three demands on the table, only one concerns Kiev, “Don’t bring NATO’s frontier to the Russian border”. The others like an agreement on intermediate range missiles in Europe have nothing to do with the Ukraine. A “we don’t want to join NATO, so what’s all this fuss about” declaration from the government in Kiev would defuse volatility pronto, but you see Zelensky can’t do it because that would take the mickey out of Biden-Boris clamour. The Europeans know this, that’s why they are half-hearted, reluctant to ship arms to Ukraine, Anglo-American pressure notwithstanding. Russian troops have not crossed its borders; US and British troops and armour have been moved into surrounding countries.
But! My theory is that there will be no war because Biden and Boris don’t want it, all they want is sabre-rattling to shore up domestic popularity. But that cock is now not fighting too well either. US Senators are asking: “Why on earth do we want Ukraine to in NATO, what does it do for defence of” the ‘Free World’. Ukraine in NATO does bugger-all to strengthen European or Western defences. How does membership of faraway Ukraine reshape NATO defences? These are questions that the now jingoistic BBC will not even ask the reams of “expert” commentators it invites on its shows. Europe and America understand that Russia will not allow NATO to creep up to its border; the sabre-ratting is entirely for domestic consumption.
To avoid misunderstanding may I add in conclusion that I do not support Putin and am aware that he is an autocrat who has locked up critics and silenced the opposition. I support Biden in so far as the return of Trump must be resisted. As for Boris he is fun guy in an age where every other president or PM is a grim visaged bore. Boris, they say is bananas, true but the poker-faced countenance of all the others is bitter gourd. When did Xi last smile? Behold those faces Meg, maybe the world isn’t funny anymore.
By far the status quo is the best; let sleeping dogs lie; keep Ukraine out of NATO but in other matters (economy etc) let it do as it wishes. It’s like keeping Sri Lanka out of all military pacts with the QUAD, China or India; nonalignment has worked very well. I recommend it to the Ukraine.