AT the time of writing there has been no Russian incursion into the territory of Ukraine. Let’s hope that remains the case as consequences for both countries and our wider European homeland could be catastrophic.
All must abide by international treaties. Russia and Article 16 sceptic Britain included. Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea was unlawful. But treaties aren’t set in stone. They can be changed.
The 1994 treaty in which the ex-Soviet republics recognised the sovereign boundaries of their successor states was accepted by Russia at a time of economic and political weakness, just as the Versailles Treaty had punished Germany a lifetime before with grave but likely unforeseeable circumstances.
I support the alliance of democracies that sees most European countries working formally with the USA. However, the era of American international hegemony is over and Brexit Britain flounders in its search for a role.
Having unilaterally decided to wreck the economic relationship with our closest neighbours, it is hardly surprising that British diplomacy looks more like that of a failed state hanging on to others’ coat tails than a respected inspiring leader.
Russia fears the expansion of an American-led Nato. In the longer term there needs to be a new treaty with Crimea probably transferred to Russia.
Maybe the future lies in a confederation of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus? A fully democratic Russia would be an invaluable prize.
President Macron went to Moscow and French and German Foreign Ministers have also visited their Russian equivalents. It should have been the French and British leaders in Moscow. France and Britain are the only two European powers that count militarily and should be leading the pan-European response to possible Russian aggression.
But Brexit Britain doesn’t fit. Brexit is an isolationist project. Inward-looking, it prevents Britain from using its vast and generally benign influence as an Atlantic bridge to help solve issues in the European theatre. America should keep out of it, but Britain has abrogated responsibility. The Brexiteers have made us irrelevant and subservient.
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