Monday, July 15, 2024
HomeCulture WarI’d rather listen to Nigel Farage on Russia than Boris Johnson

I’d rather listen to Nigel Farage on Russia than Boris Johnson


IN THEIR scramble to smear Nigel Farage, the media and Civil Service seem to have forgotten the convention of ‘purdah’ – that no major announcements or comments are made during election campaigns. In the brave new world of the Uniparty that seems not to apply, allowing the Ministry of Defence to make an extraordinary announcement about its view of why Russia invaded Ukraine

The 1994 Budapest agreements gave Ukraine somewhat less than cast-iron guarantees after Ukraine surrendered its nuclear weapons. We have armed Ukraine since the war began, but hardly to he teeth. Indeed the war has shown up the UK’s military weakness, extensively written about in TCW.

Now the ‘Big Beast’ Boris Johnson has weighed in. This is the same Boris Johnson who is largely responsible for the death of the Conservative Party with his half-baked Brexit, his lunatic extensions of Net Zero  and the assorted disasters of covid. Oh yes, and he’s the one who thought 14 Challenger tanks would turn the war in Kiev’s favour. He’s got a book to sell and no doubt seeks a peerage to match his brother Jo. What he hasn’t got is an understanding of Putin, Russia and the military realities.

Last year I was at a lunch where the speaker was a man who does understand Putin and Russia. (Chatham House Rule, so no names.) He was unequivocal that a hostile Ukraine was an existential threat to Russia. Any budding Rommel who looks at a map could tell you that – it’s just 500 miles from Kharkiv to Moscow – almost ATACMS ballistic missile range.

As the speaker outlined, believing that he had powerful armed forces Putin could probably have endured a neutral, nuclear-free Ukraine, just as Finland and Russia managed to find a working relationship during the Cold War. A Ukraine that is a member of Nato – and therefore nuclear backed – is a different kettle of fish. Russia was invaded twice last century and once the one before. The Russian death toll in World War Two was over 25million. Mr Putin may or may not be paranoid abut the West’s and Nato’s intents but he has good reason to be. Worse, Russia has lost the buffer states that protected it during the Cold War.

This is important – Nigel Farage referred to the West poking the Russian Bear with a stick. It doesn’t matter what the stick-holder thinks, it’s what the bear thinks that counts. It’s now clear that the bear was aggrieved. The net result is that its tanks are parked on about 20 per cent of Ukraine and are not going to withdraw. Western sanctions have failed; they may have made Russia stronger and more resourceful. We lack the conventional military power to do much, especially if the United States aren’t prepared to commit fully.

It’s time for some realpolitik. Unfortunately Henry Kissinger is now dead and, whatever else the PPE syllabus contains its graduates are theorists, not pragmatists. Nigel Farage doesn’t have a degree; he doesn’t need one to point out that Western policy on Ukraine is a naked emperor. The pragmatist’s choice is an imposed peace (no idea what that would look like), an expanded war (definitely not a good thing) or for the meat-grinding war of attrition to continue. Until someone gets sensible, which might be Donald Trump but certainly isn’t President Biden or any likely British Prime Minister, the mothers of Moscow and Kiev will continue to weep. Nothing else will change.

If the Civil Service, Sir Keir Starmer and the MoD don’t like Nigel Farage pointing this out, that’s their problem. We have the opportunity to vote to ensure it doesn’t become our problem.

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Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell
Patrick Benham-Crosswell is a former Army officer who has spent the last 30 years in commerce. He is the author of Net Zero: The Challenges, Costs and Consequences of the UK's Zero Emission Ambition. He has a substack here. He is the Reform Parliamentary Candidate for Swansea West.

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