Wednesday, 7 May 2014

British Foreign Policy and Ukraine.

"The idea that some extremists have taken over here is far, far wide of the mark"-Wiiliam Hague on meeting civic and political leaders in Ukraine before elections on 25 May.

William Hague's diplomacy reveals a complete ignorance of what is at stake in Ukraine. When he claims 'extremists' have not taken over 'here' ( meaning Kiev ) he intentionally uses the word extremist to mean only those militant pro-Russian or eastern federalists who are rebelling against Kiev in the Donbass.

By any definition, Svoboda are ultra nationalists and they are in Kiev and in cabinet positions in the government. It is what Orwell termed doublethink to deny the obvious and then point the finger at Russia alone for bearing responsibility for the Ukrainian Crisis.

"It is moving forward in a way that should worry Russia in the long term … There will be Nato countries that increase their defence expenditure, that see a revitalised role for Nato. Yes, we will reduce our energy dependence on Russia in western European countries.
It is highly unethical for Hague to pretend that bigging up NATO power is somehow going to have any impact on resolving the Ukrainian crisis as a civil war has effectively started to break out. This shrill New Cold War posture can only make a diplomatic solution more impossible.

The Western powers are not going to fight for Ukraine and to insinuate that the west would is to promise Kiev something it is not going to be able to deliver, something that could only embolden a government in Kiev to act rashly in trying an all out military offensive to crush the uprisings in the Eastern Ukraine.

This idle boast is not backed up by any realistic assessment of Western energy security in 2014. US shale gas will not be exported on LNG tankers until the 2020s and the cost of Qatar's LNG has been vastly increased by Japanese demand following the Fukushima disaster and ending of nuclear power.

As Anatol Lieven puts it, as Kiev cannot win militarily against rebels in Slaviansk and Donestk, the only way to prevent the incipient civil war from turning into a major conflagration, and having Russia invade as in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, is diplomacy based on an agreement to a more federalised Ukraine.

As Lieven makes plain, Lviv in the far West of Ukraine declared autonomy in February 2014 when it seemed Yanukoych was going to permanently reject the EU and enter Putin's rival Eurasian Customs Union so it cannot be argued that the Donetsk does not have the right to do the same.

The blundering diplomacy of Hague with its systemic hypocrisy could only make a potential for civil war in Ukraine worse. The FO has learnt nothing from the Russo-Georgian War where it seemed as though the west would back Saakashvili , thus encouraging him to attack Russian forces in South Ossetia.

In Hague's case, he has not learnt from Syria; that sticking to intransigent positions and messianic geopolitical strategies-essentially 'neconservative postures-do not work as fail to take into account the reality on the ground in regions of conflict and can worsen the situation.

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