RISHI Sunak flew to Ukraine a few days ago to sign an agreement for ‘security co-operation’ and ‘a hundred-year partnership’. This is in a context where the former head of the British Army is warning that our armed forces are so shrunken that we invite a 1930s-style disaster.
What is the justification for such a foreign relations development? You may search the 2019 Conservative manifesto commitments in vain for any mention of Ukraine or Russia, and their only reference to Nato is a pledge to exceed the minimum funding level of 2 per cent of GDP.
Sunak did not head his party at the time of the General Election so he has not received personal validation from the voting public. Nor did he win the support of the Conservative Party membership in the recent leadership contest. He owes his tenure solely to the ballots of 202 Tory MPs 15 months ago. The Monster Raving Loony Party has hugely outnumbered that in every GE since 1983, and in fact their 2019 performance was their best yet, despite the growing sense that the loonies are in charge already.
The Foreign Secretary is also merely an appointee and sits in the Lords, safe from the bruising interrogation of the Commons. Ten years ago the now Baron Cameron said ‘I get it’ at the Dispatch Box over public opposition to bombing Syria; today he partners the PM in risking direct confrontation with a Russia that rightly or wrongly sees itself as potentially fighting for its life; as does Israel, whose side we have taken, to the great displeasure of our domestic Muslim community (as well as of much of the left).
We are not yet technically at war with Russia, so I hope the government will refrain from sanctioning me for pointing out that we are on a similar path to the one that led to WWI, another avoidable entanglement that started the ruin by stages of our economy and consequently our society.
I might risk more in speaking of Zelensky’s regime. Not only Ukrainian but foreign journalists and politicians are included on the Kiev-based Myrotvorets hit-list website and the US-born vlogger and regime critic Gonzalo Lira died a prisoner in Ukraine on the day of Rishi’s visit, allegedly a victim of torture, extortion and medical neglect.
Worse by far is the threat to us all of nuclear war; the thrilling atomic explosion shown in last year’s Oppenheimer movie is a mere firework compared to the arsenal held by several potential combatants, Russia’s stock being the largest. Does the US State Department envisage an Armageddon geographically restricted to Europe? Why did the toxic clown Johnson fly to Kiev two years ago to scupper peace talks? Why is his latest successor strapping us together with a vicious, corrupt and autocratic regime suicidally committed to an unwinnable conflict with a nation that if it goes down is prepared to take the rest of the world with it?
Our PM may be unelected but he could at least have shown some spine and said no to acting as Washington’s gofer. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a wimp.