Fraser Nelson on Ukraine: So right, then so very wrong

Like a dog returning to its vomit, I cannot help but return occasionally to the comment section of the Barclay Brother Beano.  The reason being I have challenged myself to uncover at least one vaguely sensible or remotely valuable contribution amidst the sea of drivel that passes for articles and comments.

It is there we find today a piece by media’s favourite nominal conservative and Cameroon cheerleader, Fraser Nelson, who, presumably having read Bravo Two Zero, now seems to fancy himself as a defence expert.  His article is one of those that boasts a welcome, if surprising, nod to reality, but then falls into ruin due to morale sapping ignorance that completely devalues his contribution.

Where Nelson gets it right is in calling William Hague for his ludicrous reassurance that he would stop any “strategic shrinkage” – as Nelson explains, to make sure that Britain’s standing on the world stage would not be diminished because there were cuts going on at home.

Hague’s failure there is only eclipsed by the other failures Nelson reminds readers about.  Firstly, that UK forces in Iraq occupied Basra after the invasion only to be forced out by Iranian-backed militias, after which an inquiry was commissioned to ask why we fought, rather than why we lost.  Not many media types recognise this reality, instead preferring to retail the laughable MoD line that our forces completed their mission successfully and withdrew.

Secondly, the current debacle that sees UK forces – after the disgraceful loss of over 400 lives, and wasted expenditure of billions of pounds – about to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban, effectively ensuring that all that blood and treasure has been sacrificed for nothing.  Again, that’s not the MoD line but it accurately reflects reality.  Due praise to Nelson for that.

However, it is when Nelson turns his attention to the Ukraine crisis – in order to underline his argument that our defence capability has been eroded too far – that he falls in with the official line and misrepresents what brought this crisis about.

Nelson explains that because of the defeats outlined above, and our tepid and badly judged misadventure into Libyan affairs, to the outside world Britain looks like it is shrinking fairly quickly – along with other indebted, war-weary Western powers. Our commitment looks shaky, our judgment even worse.  That’s fair enough. But what follows is where he goes native…

And this, of course, is what has fuelled the Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin saw how things were changing, and decided to give the Caucasus a prod; then to see what would happen if he annexed Crimea. The answer, as he suspected, was not very much. Now, his unbadged militants are at work in the east of Ukraine with dozens dead. Still no reaction. This sent out a clear message to Moscow and beyond: the West has grown tired of policing the world. And now, as a century ago, things are up for grabs.

That is utter rubbish.

What fuelled the Ukraine crisis was the European Union’s expansionist ambitions. A complete disregard for the promises made by NATO to the Russians that the west would not encroach one more inch eastwards, saw the Association Agreement tabled to Kiev, with the plan being the eventual assimilation into the EU.  Despite this there is not a single mention of the European Union/EU anywhere in his piece.

For reasons historical, strategic and those relating to a nation’s pride, Ukraine was a line in the sand.  Home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, the EU’s efforts were provocative and smacked of arrogance.

The United States also has skin in the game.  It encouraged the EU’s move as it would greatly appreciate the Russians being contained in that part of the world so Washington can retask its resources to its efforts to front up to China from the Pacific.

Putin’s actions were a response to the EU’s efforts to begin the process of taking over Ukraine, not the cause of what is happening in Ukraine today.  In no way was what we are seeing today driven by a Kremlin assessment of our degraded military capability.

It would probably be fair to say that a calculation of NATO’s effectiveness and willingness to adopt a military posture has dictated the nature of the Russian response.  The assessment of how far NATO would go, to support that part of Ukraine’s population that rejected a brokered deal for elections, where the EU Association Agreement could form part of the proposition put before the electorate, has been purely reactive.

The British public is being fed yet another spoonful of lies from the government, as it was during Iraq and Afghanistan.  While Fraser Nelson was happy to tell it the way it was over those two campaigns, he is clearly loathe to admit the truth about the EU origins of the Ukraine crisis. One wonders if this is because the EU is a construct he approves of and has repeatedly argued the UK should remain a part of?

5 Responses to “Fraser Nelson on Ukraine: So right, then so very wrong”

  1. 1 mikebravo 09/05/2014 at 4:12 pm

    It is amazing that the whole media will wilfully overlook the facts and reality and spew the government line.
    I do have to wonder why though.
    The only reason I can think of is that we are intending to have a bash at the Russians in some way and us plebs need to be kept fully in the dark so that we can be stoked up into a good patriotic fervour when the time comes. We can’t have a million of the sheep turning up in parliament square and causing trouble for our glorious leaders.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 09/05/2014 at 8:41 pm

    It might just be as simple as a bit of distraction. During the cold war successive governments played up the red peril. Remember those booklets on how to prepare your home for a nuclear strike?

    There’s no better way for the politicos to convince people we need them than having an enemy we need to be protected from.

  3. 3 andy5759 11/05/2014 at 9:49 pm

    Our ventures into Afghanistan probably had more to do with establishing links with the movement of narcotics. In a world of diminishing returns drugs are profit.

    This current “crisis” is entirely down to EU ambition. You are spot on with your analysis, in my opinion. After annexing the Baltic States EU dared more. Is this the legacy Baroness Ashton foresaw as she giddily strode to the dais as our representative to the world?

  4. 4 Frazer Irwin FCD 12/05/2014 at 8:26 am

    “Those who cannot remember the past are forced to repeat it,” so wrote George Santayana. Looking at the photograph of this individual he still looks wet behind the ears. VP and his mates must be laughing over their vodkas. As for the EU, they have gone one country too far. One has to wonder what will happen if Turkey when they let Turkey in. A point no-one has mentioned are the mega states of the US, Asia, Pacific and EU and their part in the NWO. Are you ALL so blind to Agenda 21 and what is happening under your very noses?

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