Ukraine, UK, foreign policy, defence and the EU

The media is at it again, with ‘journalists’ and commentators demonstrating that for all the lavish salaries and resources showered upon them they know very little and understand even less.

Con Coughlin is a case in point. Bunkered at the Telegraph, lest he get chased out of a pub by fellow hacks, the great sage has a piece that his sub editor has chosen to title ‘Britain reduced to shaking a weedy fist at Vladimir Putin’ with a subheading thus, ‘Protests against Russia’s annexation of Crimea can’t disguise the fact that Britain is now a mere bystander on the world stage because of defence cuts’.

While that is partially true, it only tells us a fraction of the story and does nothing to explain why we have this state of affairs.  Instead Coughlin deigns to inform us that:

It was always going to happen – the eruption of an international crisis so grave that it laid bare the full limitations of Britain’s ability to act on the world stage. And so it has come to pass, with the humiliating revelation that our policy for confronting Vladimir Putin’s Crimean land grab is to do… precisely nothing.

[…] So far as Britain is concerned, the best we can hope for now is that Ukraine’s new interim government does not react to the blatant acts of provocation perpetrated by Russian troops. For, as we now know, courtesy of a Downing Street photographer’s telephoto lens, Britain’s ability to respond to Russia’s wanton acts of aggression is nonexistent.

There are very good reasons for this.  The defence capabilities of this nation are largely supposed – among other things – to be geared to do two things:

  1. to defend our national territory, and
  2. to protect our national interests and support our foreign policy objectives around the world

I’m over here…

The key point here is point 2.  It is essential to note that we don’t have our own interests any more, the EU has them for us.  And we no longer have any defined foreign policy objectives, as again our foreign policy is dictated by the EU.

For these reasons our defence requirements are ill defined, and our capabilities are being eroded to the point our armed forces cannot act independently – to help bring about the EU plan of an interoperable, member state force taking orders from Brussels.

But Coughlin makes no mention of this. The media has, by and large, embraced EU membership and makes no effort to learn what the EU is designed to do, why it is doing it and how it goes about achieving it. So it is that Coughlin and his friends continue to rail against many effects of EU membership, such as the dearth of a foreign policy supported by defence capabilities to underpin it, but keep telling us how EU membership is essential to this country’s interests.

This mentality extends far beyond the media and deep into the political class, where a few days ago we saw Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to Germany and to the US, write in the Times (£) that:

Foreign policy is not an edition of Radio 4’s Moral Maze. It should be based on a cold calculation of national interest. It is time to get back to basics: the clarity of openly defined sovereign interests and publicly acknowledged spheres of interest.

Yet despite these implorings we see no mention of the EU let alone criticism of the fact membership has brought us to this. In fact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of which Meyer was part is possibly the most enthusiastic cheerleader and advocate of EU membership in the UK.

The fact is, as part of the EU, our armed forces, for all the billions spent on them, will not be strong enough to field sufficient divisions, wings and naval groups to respond independently to geopolitical crises – as it runs contrary to the notion of interoperability. In any case the would not be prepared to do so because our country’s foreign policy will be written in Brussels and our interests will be what the EU defines them to be.

You just won’t hear any journalist, politician or FCO pension recipient telling the public the truth of it.

12 Responses to “Ukraine, UK, foreign policy, defence and the EU”

  1. 1 Flyinthesky 05/03/2014 at 2:58 pm

    Notwithstanding that the eu is in conrol of any response, more should be made of the eu’s influence supported by the USA for it’s own ends that created the situation in the first place. The eu is a chessboard to the US and it wants a piece in that place.
    The eu with it’s usual M.O.: woo it, bribe it, bust it, own it.

  2. 2 lostleonardo 05/03/2014 at 3:18 pm

    It is a wonder to me that you manage to remain calm enough to write such coherent and commonsensical posts. The “slow motion coup d’etat” that is EU membership and the subservient, supine, collaborationist, quisling attitude of our “our” political and media “elites” frequently has me convulsed with rage, issuing spittle-flecked tirades to anyone (normally close family) who does not immediately leave the room. A rational response IMHO, but not the right image to project when one wishes to be perceived as offering a reasoned independent alternative, old boy.


  3. 3 Herod 05/03/2014 at 3:26 pm

    Should one be unhappy that the UK is no longer able to go to war on it’s own account?
    After the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya led by idiot UK politicians thank god we are not in a position to fight any more. Not only were our political leaders deserving of criminal prosecution, but our military leaders were guilty of gross incompetence.,

  4. 4 cosmic 05/03/2014 at 3:51 pm


    I wasn’t happy with the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures because they didn’t meet the two conditions AM mentions. There was also no definition of success and failure and no exit strategy amongst other things. It’s shocking that heads haven’t rolled, particularly Blair’s.

    Also to a large extent, they shot our bolt, militarily.

    I was delighted when Cameron’s hare brained scheme to interfere in Syria came unstuck, because it looked like more of the same.

    However, I can’t see that passing foreign and defence policy to an even less accountable bureaucratic state, without the cohesion to be a full blown military power, is in any way an improvement or something to wish for.

  5. 5 Ted Treen 05/03/2014 at 5:25 pm

    Threaten to send Baroness Ashton to sort out Vlad: he’ll die laughing…

  6. 6 dioclese 05/03/2014 at 11:45 pm

    And there was me thinking that the UK’s armed forces were just another division of U.S. armed forces. I’d forgotten the EU. Our generals must have split personalities…

    Incidentally, there’s another blogger out there for an Independent UK – Me!

  7. 7 buffin47 06/03/2014 at 10:36 am

    We would never have deployed military force in this dispute however large our armed forces were. We are a medium power which is chronically short of money. We will do as little as possible and quite right too.

  8. 8 Autonomous Mind 06/03/2014 at 11:09 am

    Your first sentence is really just an assumption, Buffin, exactly because of the absence of our own defined foreign policy.

    Logically, we would not have deployed because if we had a defined foreign policy there is little likelihood Ukraine would have been one of our strategic interests abroad, therefore our armed forces would not have been manned, structured and equipped for such a deployment in defence of those interests. That’s the way it should work.

    However, we are part of the EU, so if Brussels had our forces under its control – which is its aim – it might have been in the EU’s interest to deploy in support of the Maidan protesters and self declared government, because it furthers the EU’s enlargement objectives.

    What this underlines so emphatically is that we are no longer independent. It is only because the EU project is still work in progress that we are not yet at the stage where our forces operate to a Brussels agenda rather than a Westminster one.

  9. 9 Pogle's Woodsman 06/03/2014 at 12:52 pm

    ‘I will do such things,–
    What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
    The terrors of the earth.’

    This is one of those perfect junctures which a real Eurosceptic in government could use to demonstrate just how impotent the EU really is.

    The West – let me just basket up NATO, the EU, the UN – has dogmatically denuded itself of any realistic or credible reactions it can take in any instance. Even if it should – which is certainly in doubt. There is no real joined-up defence strategy anyway. There are too many political and industrial fingers in Russian pies and those pies will generally be available solely with the acquiescence of the Putin operation.

    Even if one – just one – theoretical superpower wished to gain access to the Black Sea, first it would have to negotiate with Turkey, and there’s not many world leaders who have been inclined to do Turkey any particular favours in recent years.

    There are few nations on earth which notionally have less to do with UK strategic interests than Ukraine but as AM reasons here, it is only due to the pointless and dogged application to bad decisions taken on behalf of an electorate left bereft of influence that tenuous link can be made.

    It’s embarrassing. The west is just yapping indolently like an enraged and vain poodle behind the door of a pensioner when a pedestrian happens by the house. Twenty years of weak and incompetent leadership is not something that somebody like Putin will not notice. Who can blame him for taking advantage?

    Cameron, Obama, Hague, Ashton. The incapable in pursuit of the unnecessary.

  10. 10 Vanessa 06/03/2014 at 1:43 pm

    Why are we governed by such liars and informed by those who are less informed that most of us.

    Slightly off topic our “darling” BBC today had Owen Paterson on about the Somerset Levels – he, of all people should say who is directly to blame or perhaps the BBC told him not to mention the EU as, of course, that corrupt, greedy government funds the BBC now.

    I am losing the will to live !

  11. 11 Bev 06/03/2014 at 9:38 pm

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through
    Google, and found that it’s really informative.
    I am going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be gratteful if you continue this inn future.
    A lot of people will bbe benefited from your writing.

  1. 1 Britain reduced to shaking a weedy fist at Vladimir Putin – Telegraph « Dr Alf's Blog Trackback on 08/03/2014 at 1:08 am
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