United Kingdom – The decision to slap mighty Russia with sanctions and effectively declare economic war on this key supplier of energy, foodstuffs, precious metals, etc, then provide weapons and know-how to Russia’s enemy without a proper explanation or even a vote in Parliament, has spectacularly backfired as everyone with half a brain knew it would.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, who also happens to be my MP, ignored my earlier letter on the subject so I’ve written to him again.
Check it out
Rt Hon Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland
Dear Mr Jack,
Baiting the Russian Bear
I wrote to you three weeks ago asking why the Government threw caution to the wind and backed Ukraine against Russia knowing that doing so would seriously hurt our own people and ruin our economy.
Why, after doling out some £3billon of military aid, was Mr Sunak allowed to say: “We are working tirelessly to bring an end to this conflict” when he was obviously escalating it?
Why did the Government, already £2.4 trillion in debt, pledge help to rebuild a devastated Ukraine at an estimated cost of $750 billion?
And why hasn’t the Government sent a peace delegation to Moscow instead?
No reply as yet.
With 700,000 households in Scotland facing extreme fuel poverty, and in many cases destitution, and 18 million families (that’s 45 million people) in the UK as a whole likely to be left cold and hungry and struggling to make ends meet, isn’t it time to mend our relationship with Russia? A few short months from now, when our self-inflicted pain turns to agony, when people’s modest savings are wiped out when their hopes for a bright future vanish and the dreams of their children are dashed, and when countless businesses have gone to the wall, no-one will care who started the war — Putin, NATO or Zelensky. We’ll be praying for it to stop. So we might as well do everything possible to end it now.
But Boris Johnson, who seems more concerned with creating a heroic self-image than achieving peace, has just committed us to prolong the bloodshed by announcing that “the UK will continue to stand with our Ukrainian friends” regardless of the cost-of-living consequences to us. Giving away another £54 million in military aid he said that for the past 6 months the UK had stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine “supporting this sovereign country to defend itself from this barbaric and illegal invader” (meaning Russia). His posturing has just won him Ukraine’s Order of Liberty medal.
The irony is that Mr Johnson cannot even bring himself to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians defending their homeland from murder and ruthless ethnic cleansing by the barbaric and illegal invader, Israel. All the more shocking when the responsibility for restoring freedom to the Palestinians is plainly Britain’s having been the mandated power in Palestine until 1948 when we walked away, leaving the fuse to the powder-keg fizzing.
The apartheid Israeli regime has been allowed to terrorise the Holy Land, slaughter the Arab population and rob them of their homes, resources and livelihoods with impunity for 74 years. Like most of his predecessors, our outgoing PM has taken every opportunity to actually REWARD Israel for its crimes against humanity. For the Palestinians, there has been no liberty, only nonstop misery on Mr Johnson’s watch. The Order of Perpetual Oppression would be an appropriate award for him there.
And the NATO question?
In 2007, Putin complained: “What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.”
During negotiations over the reunification of Germany in 1990, the Russians were given to understanding that NATO would not encroach eastwards beyond that point. It wasn’t carved in stone but such an undertaking by Western leaders was appropriate to the occasion and should have been respected by their successors. Breaking promises at the top diplomatic level simply isn’t acceptable, and the West’s betrayal is central to the Ukraine conflict.
Newly declassified documents, I read, reveal that in 1990 when Gorbachev told US Secretary of State James Baker “it goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable”, Baker replied: “We agree with that.” Baker then told a press conference that NATO’s “jurisdiction would not be moved eastward” and assured Gorbachev and Shevardnadze (Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs) that “if we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east”. Baker’s not-one-inch promise was the condition that allowed Gorbachev to agree to a united Germany in NATO.
UK’s John Major told Russia’s Minister of Defence Dmitry Yazov that he “did not himself foresee circumstances now or in the future where East European countries would become members of NATO”. And his Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd informed Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh that “there are no plans in NATO to include the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in NATO in one form or another”.
You’d think our current Tory Government if they wished to be seen behaving honourably, would have kept all that in mind.
America and NATO, meanwhile, have been interfering in Ukraine for years and began training the Ukrainian military in 2014, accounting for about 40 per cent by 2020. They were armed and financed by the US, UK, Canada and France. In November 2020 Jens Stoltenberg, General Secretary of NATO, announced: “We have increased our presence in the Black Sea region… We have increased our cooperation with our two valued partners, Ukraine and Georgia.” So Ukraine had been on board with NATO for some time, posing a serious threat to Russia’s security. But, although NATO has a presence there, Ukraine is only a ‘partner’ not actually a member. So neither Britain nor the other members of the alliance need to feel obliged to wade in.
No matter how abhorrent the situation in Ukraine today, it has been an on-off civil war within Russia’s sphere of influence since 2014 and peace initiatives (Minsk 1 and 2 and the Normandy Format) all failed. It was of little interest to ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus. But in February of this year, the local ruckus erupted into the hellish ‘proxy’ confrontation that US-dominated NATO had long been hoping for. And the man on the bus now finds himself paying through the nose for it.
Zelensky, elected in 2019 on a pledge to end the conflict, doesn’t seem to care how much devastation or how high the body count it takes to achieve his ambition, whatever that really is. He’s the creation of media image-makers and who knows what else, and expects the West to carry on turning the sanctions screw, send him endless supplies of high-tech weaponry, and pay for rebuilding Ukraine afterwards. He says he then wants to turn the country into a “second Israel”.
Throwing around money we haven’t got!
UK policy so far shows little regard for the consequences to Britain’s fragile economy and demoralised citizens and gives even less thought to the harm caused by our vicious sanctions to Russia’s civilians and the many British companies that worked hard for years, even decades, to establish themselves in Russian markets.
Declaring economic war on Russia and arming Russia’s enemy obviously puts us in peril and our nation, quite possibly, in Russia’s nuclear cross-hairs. Isn’t it time Westminster changed its tune and took steps to avoid creating a legacy of bitterness and destruction?
Our debt-ridden Government, after failing to safeguard the country’s energy security, bodging Brexit, overdoing furlough and casually handing £billions to fraudsters during the lockdown, simply cannot afford to subsidise this largely self-inflicted cost-of-living crisis driven by a war it is trying — unbelievably — to keep going. It must go straight to the core of the problem and try to stop it.
The trouble is that Johnson, Truss, Sunak and co have no personal memory of the last cold war with Russia. But my generation does – the Civil Defence, the huge inconvenience of National Service, the countless alerts and NATO exercises, the ever-present fear of being nuked… Not very funny then and even less funny now with the prospect of grinding poverty was thrown in.
A response would be greatly appreciated, please.
Kind regards, Stuart Littlewood
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books – Paperturn-view.com.
Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court.