Putin & The Ukraine

It’s difficult not to have the same ill feeling over the Ukrainian Crisis that many of us had in 2003 with the Iraq Invasion

SPN Putin & BidenThis is mainly because one side of the crisis is being peddled with far more coverage than the other.

Just the same as nobody was claiming that Saddam was a cuddly bunny, nobody in their right mind would consider that Putin is one either.

Let’s go back to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 62 and how it was presented to citizens in the Western Democracies. What we came away with was that the Soviets had decided to put nuclear missiles on the doorstep of the United States, eliminating any warning time in which to react to a nuclear strike. This was followed by tension, an ultimatum then the supposed Soviet back down. The US proclaimed, “eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.”

Of course, there was much more to it than that, especially the fact that the US started the whole thing off when they placed medium range, nuclear missiles in Turkey, on the borders of the USSR. The reaction of the Soviets was to respond in kind; i.e. Cuba.

The other guy did not “blink” but rather the US agreed to pull the missiles out and the Soviets then turned around before crossing the maritime-exclusion line just 500 nautical miles from the USA. The US sold the missile withdrawal in Turkey as their being obsolete and needed to be replaced – they never were replaced, of course.

Nobody wants nuclear weapons on their borders.

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And that’s the problem; the expansion of NATO into the ex-Warsaw-Pact countries, putting military assets and probably nuclear missiles on Russian borders. It is provocation.

When the Warsaw Pact disappeared, NATO should have disappeared with it but it didn’t. Instead it expanded from 16 member states when Germany unified, to around 30 of the present day, absorbing all those ex-Warsaw-Pact buffer states and moving right up to the Russian borders and if there is one thing that makes the Russians touchy it is Western powers rolling into the Motherland a-la-Napoleon and a-la-Nazi Germany.

So, what is the logic behind the continued existence of NATO; i.e., the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and what the hell was NATO doing fighting in Afghanistan, anyway?

If you go back to 1986 in Spain you can see why NATO has expanded: Spain was told that if it wanted to join the Common Market, then it had to join NATO – you couldn’t have one without the other. The socialist government of Felipe González had been anti militarist and certainly did not want to join NATO, so they put it to a referendum that year, and the question was: should Spain join the Common Market & NATO? The result was, yes, enabling the socialist to do a U-turn without losing face.

Now, if the EU is chaotic because of the twelve new member states, most of which are ex-Warsaw countries, and some like Hungary with little democratic history to its existence, then the flood of Eastern European countries into NATO is not only chaotic, but asking for trouble because if any member is attacked then the whole NATO alliance is obligated to respond.

Russia is basically demanding that NATO stops encroaching and should not, under any circumstance, admit the Ukraine to NATO, which is not entirely unreasonable because if Russia started putting missiles into Mexico near the border, then you can be damned sure that the US would be reacting the same as Russia. Putin has already hinted at renewing military ties with Cuba. Ukraine, after all, was not just a Warsaw Pact country, but actually part of the Soviet Union.

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On the other hand, Putin is arguably another Hitler in the sense that appeasement is seen as an invitation to act more aggressively, so you can’t just agree to what he is demanding. Therefore, what will probably (and hopefully) happen, will be that the West refuses to be told who can join NATO but, quietly make it difficult for the Ukraine to ever join; i.e., the same as Turkey joining the EU.

What about the Soviet occupation of the Crimea? Sevastopol in Crimea was the home to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet (its warm-water port). In 1954, the USSR transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR. The transfer to Ukraine was made by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth as a good-will gesture.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia lost this very important port and had to pay a lease to continue with its use, which came to an end in 2014 with the Ukrainian Revolution. The Crimea, which had previously been a separate state to the Ukraine and an integral part of Russia, was annexed back by Russia after a dubious referendum justifying it.

Compare the above to the US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the present accusations from Washington and London and then ask, “how do you spell hypocrisy.”

Before you consider that I am a leftist peacenik, I am ex-military and served in Germany as part of the NATO forces when it was calculated that the Soviets would reach the channel ports in only 48 hours therefore NATO forces opposing them in Germany were considered expendable with the only aim of slowing down the unstoppable Soviet land forces, thus buying time for US reinforcements to arrive in Britain.

That was then and this is now – a completely different ball game at a time when the US should be concentrating its efforts to counter China and let the Europeans pay for their own defence for a change.

(Editorial: Ukraine Crisis)

  16 comments for “Putin & The Ukraine

  1. Tomm
    January 28, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    I agree that the EU should protect self from Russia but the reality is they will always look to and ask the US to intervene because they have the largest military complex and have been the police of the world.

    Now the reality here is the EU does not and probably will not spend money on defense because they would supposedly spend their money on healthcare and policies for the people. Great in theory but during this virus the EU has also been exposed as not having the health system it proclaims to its citizens nor did they have funds to help businesses during the lockdowns.

    I also can’t see why ex-Russian satellite countries can not look for democracy and freedoms have been oppressed by communism. Democracy is certainly not the answer to everyone’s issues but not allowing people their freedoms to speak, to protest, to have fair election.

    If I was Putin and wanted to save face with my people not only would I put forward this case but I would withdraw all nuclear weapons on my borders and tell the United Nations in a speech that this demonstrates how we have gone astray worrying over occupations which in this day and age would be so costly it makes no sense.

    If we can’t put our differences aside and work together we will never see equality and progress amongst the nations of the world. We all know the planet is in trouble and coming together is the only solution. Our differences over different governmental polices is simply developed from their growth.

    China has its form of government which supposedly works for them, Russia has theirs and the US has theirs but as each country tries to show that they have the better solution, maybe it’s time to rewrite a federated document that is taking the good parts that the public wants and creating a new Phoenix of policies that are good for mankind.

    Let’s look hard at reality and discover being able to drop a nuclear weapon on a country in several seconds gains you absolutely nothing. Mass and mutual destruction were ridiculous ideas then and still are.

  2. January 28, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Arghhhhh!!! Well done, that man!

  3. Patrick Barry storey
    January 28, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    No Martin. Worse.!! London Ambulance.!!
    Guest appearance for X div Met Police.
    Turn up with boots. Socks and shorts. Gotta game at hooker.

  4. January 27, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    Patrick: Lol, I got married at RAF Uxbridge – what a bloody disaster that was. We’re you a pongo, Patrick?

  5. January 27, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    Jeremy: I remember the 1986 referendum because we were asked to play at a concert in the Plaza Bib Rambla in Granada against staying in Nato. The provincial council, which organised the Say-No concert, was in the hands of the socialists at the time, as was just about all of Spain, Felipe having won a massive majority in 1982 obtained another one in 1986. Anyway, there were about eight groups playing that day. Actually, it was a bit like the 1974 British Referendum on whether to remain in the Common Market; i.e., Spain had already joined and the 1986 was whether to remain or not.

    There was some resistance to Spain entering the EEC from the other member states but this opposition ended when Felipe Gonzàlez accepted before the German Chancellor in 1983 a pledge to join the common defence of the West (Nato) together with allowing US nuclear missiles on Spanish soil, which supposed a link between being in the common market and Nato. The end result was the referendum of 1986 and its 54% in favour and 46% against, more or less.

    Spain, under Franco had always been anti-America and when democracy came around the Spanish left was against US bases, US missiles and anti-militarism. Franco applied for membership to the CEE in the 60s but this was rejected because of a lack of democracy. But it was the failed military coup in 1981 that convinced the CEE and Nato to get Spain into both organisations in order to foster the budding democracy – the Spanish military was not going to try another military coup if Spain was part of Nato, after all. Spain joined Nato in 1982 under the condition that no US nuclear weapons would be allowed on Spanish soil and US bases would be reduced here. All that changed with the referendum.

  6. Patrick Barry storey
    January 27, 2022 at 10:55 pm

    Blimey Martin. Some ones hit a raw spot.
    What did the Romans ever do for us eh. ??
    The only RAF Types I have met are RAF Uxbridge rugby team. And a few dodgy looking girls in my youth. !

  7. Jeremy
    January 27, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Just fyi, Ireland was part of common market before Spain. Officially neutral and never part of NATO so plenty of precedent in 1986 for Spain to have used.

    As an opinion, being part of old Soviet Union does not mean that Ukraine should now be part of Russia. Just as Ireland, once part of UK does not have to rejoin UK. And, yes, you end up arguing that at some point in the past, might of conquest now confers rights of occupation – no one is going to argue Russia should be ‘only’ the original Muscovy.

    Hypocrisy is normal operation for UK, however. Sad but true.

  8. January 27, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Nick: No, I’m referring to the pack of lies that the US made up and faithful UK peddled, in order to swing the US and British public to support the 2003 invasion.

    Here in Spain, 96% of the population were against it, but of course, Jose María Aznar, in the most obnoxious display of prostrated boot-licking, (learnt first hand from watch Tony at work) wanted to be there with Tony and Bush at the Azores, so that he could later put his feet up on a table at Bush’s ranch for a photo shot – what a Richard Head!

    As for being a lefty… how many lefties do you know who are monarchists? The oath you take upon joining the forces is to Her Majesty the Queen and Her government (note the order). I’ll admit that when Lizzie shuffles off, I shall hand in my royalist ideas, but until then I am a staunch monarchist. Secondly, I don’t know how old you are, but I was serving when the bloody socialists were busy letting the unions destroy the country, that’s why the forces vote went for Maggie in 1979. I grew up sitting in the cold during blackouts and bread queues because of the 3-day week.

    So believe me, I wouldn’t urinate on a socialist government if it were in a collective fit of spontaneous human combustion to extinguish the flames.

    Let us just say that having lived outside the UK for 40 years I am able to detect a porkie from a distance and this crisis has all the whiff of bovine, solid flatulence.

    As for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the early 90s, you do know that when we handed over Mesopotamia when our Mandate expired we just happened to keep hold of one of the provinces should have been included in the new state of Iraq because it had a lot of oil under it *Gasp!* We created an independent state and then signed a defence pact with them – the RAF had detachments there.

    So, when Saddam said that Kuwait was a part of Iraq, he was right. You might also remember that when best-buddy Saddam (who also played footsie under the table with Moscow) asked Washington how they would view an Iraqi take over of Kuwait, Washington responded that they would view it as a “domestic affair” Saddam, the silly bugger, believed them and invaded.

    It was only when he was knee deep in Kuwaitis that London and Washington threw up their arms in horror and set about bombing the crap out of them.

    He should have learned from the 1953 UK/US coup that overthrew a democratically elected government in Tehran because the Iranians were going to nationalise Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC).

    Operation Ajax/Boot saw the undermining and overthrow of a democratically elected government and the Peacock-Throne Shah put in its place (and we all know how that ended). In gratitude he happily let the British remain as British Petroleum.

    This was the early 50s and the States was going through its communist witch hunt and were only willing to believe the British stories about red boggie men. Check out: The Seven Sisters.

    Anyway, I was referring to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 but Western, Hans Christian Andersen porkies lace the 20th Century. Sure the Soviets were just as bad, but our governments sold us the line that we were the goodies, whereas in reality nobody wore a white stetson

    No country has screwed up the Middle East more than dear, old Blighty during the 20th century.

    Why? Because the Royal Navy was converting from coal to oil at the beginning of the 20th century so that all those rocks in the middle of oceans that were used as coal bunkers were no longer needed… Hello The Middle East!

    No, Nick, I am a realist overdosing on cynicism and far removed from lefty tendencies. 😉

  9. January 27, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    I was an Erk not a Rodney (RAF) The Brown Jobs were squaddies and Ruperts 😉 I grew up in Tidworth, which put me off joining the Brown Jobs, as you can imagine…

  10. Patrick Barry storey
    January 27, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Martin. Were you a Squaddie or a Rupert.
    One was in touch with reality.
    The other. !!
    :) :)

  11. Patrick Barry storey
    January 27, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Hmmm. Iraq invasion. Afghanistan ditto. Especially the First World War. France Ferdinand etc. March against Being America’s poodle for Iraq. Ignored by Big call me Tony. Yet during The Suez Crisis and The Falklands. America really wanted the Special Relationship to only be one way. So here we are again. Relying on the total honesty of the people running the country. Let us eat cake.!!

  12. Nick
    January 27, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Martin, surely you’re confusing your Gulf wars? The current situation is more like the first one where NATO went to the aid of Kuwait following the invasion by Iraq? I don’t recall any “ill feeling” at the time about that??

    I think your readers will make their own decision on whether you’re a lefty or not lol.

  13. January 27, 2022 at 11:12 am

    Peter: It was “traditionally” used until 93 but is now politically incorrect to use it, as it offends the Ukranians – or should I say “offends Ukranians” without the article so as not to step on anybody’s toes? 😉 Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

    It is curious, you must admit, that the United States isn’t similarly offended, as the reason given through the Ukranian Embassy in London was that it implies that Ukraine is not an independent state. I mean, there was that rumpus back in 1776, after all.

    I take it that you disagree with the article in general, no?

  14. January 27, 2022 at 10:29 am

    It is not dropping out fuse now, it is unacceptable to call Ukraine, The Ukraine.
    ” The Ukraine ” was introduced in order to demean and remove a sense of national identity.
    Thank you Martin.

  15. January 27, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Peter:

    1) Had I said, “all soviet buffer states,” you would have a point. As it is, by using the demostrative adjetive “those,” it limits the clause to the “buffer states” actually affected; i.e., those that have joined. Having said that, it would have been more accurately expressed as “all those ex-Warsaw-Pact states”. For that, I apologise and am thankful for your pointing out that it was not correct. I shall correct the article in that respect

    2) Actually, the Ukraine is one of a few English country names traditionally used with the definite article, along the lines of The United States and The Arab Emerates, though it is dropping out of use now.

    3) if you want to be taken seriously, it would be advisable not to swing in with sarcasm blazing as if it were a trolls’ paradise, especially when you accuse others of being “factually wrong.”

    Apart from that, thank you for your input 😉

  16. January 27, 2022 at 9:45 am

    If you are going to write an article and expect it to be taken seriously, please be factually correct.
    1/ Nato has not absorbed “all those ex soviet buffer states”, ie Belarus is not a Nato member
    2/ Please Please Please, it’s Ukraine, not The Ukraine

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