Nigel Farage Is Right: It Was the EU, Not Russia, Which Provoked the Ukraine Crisis
Nigel Farage has accused the European Union of having "blood on its hands" over the Ukraine.
Does that sound over the top?
Well it might if you've been taking your cue from much of the media this last month. Mostly it has been following the line that Putin is a warmongering bully whose incursion into the Crimea was entirely unprovoked.
But you really don't need to be a massive Putin fan to acknowledge that Farage has a point. It was the EU that provoked this crisis in the Ukraine, not the Russians.
To appreciate how, you have to go back to documents like this, which outlines the strategy for absorbing Ukraine into the EU. First step is an Association Agreement like the one signed, behind closed doors, by its acting prime minister Arseniy
Yatsenyuk in Brussels last week. Full membership normally follows later.
Well, that was the EU's plan and it has been working on it for some time. The Ukraine was to form the jewel in the crown of the EU's Eastern Partnership programme, which would see Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus brought closer to the bosom of the EU.
This was what David Cameron was endorsing last year when, at the time of Croatia's accession to the EU, he described his dream of seeing a European Union which stretched "from the Atlantic to the Urals."
Could Cameron not appreciate how provocative this statement would seem in certain quarters? Clearly not - which just goes to show how out of touch with reality most of the leaders in the West are these days. And that would certainly include Barack Obama, whose speechifying on Europe this week speaks volumes about his blind infatuation with the pan-socialistic EU project but shows a characteristically pitiful grasp of the broader geopolitics.
The short-sightedness of the EU's plan to expand its empire right to Russia's borders calls to mind the great planning meeting held by the various commanders, British, American and Polish, prior to the disastrous Operation Market Garden. (Arnhem; the Bridge Too Far; etc).
Everyone present agreed the plan was a jolly splendid idea, until the Polish Major-General Sosabowski piped up that there was one vital element the planners had failed to take into account: "The Germans."
In the same way, the EU's plan - currently masterminded by the aptly named Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy - appears completely to have overlooked how the Russians might feel about having a neighbour and trading partner dragged from their sphere of influence without so much as a by-your-leave.
This, as Richard North rightly notes, was a hugely provocative action which no Russian leader could allow to go unchallenged. Again, what you think of Putin's regime is immaterial here. Even were Putin the gentlest, most kitten-loving, gay-rights-obsessed, immaculately incorruptible, scrupulously democratic leader in the entire world, he would still have acted much the same as he did because he's Russian and Russian pride is very much at stake here.
Putin hinted as much to Baroness Ashton - the former Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament campaigner who in 2009 was promoted way above her pay grade to the position of the EU's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - when he warned her in January not to make any more appearances on the barricades in Kiev with anti-Yanukovych protestors.
"I can only imagine what the reaction would be if in the heat of a crisis
in Greece or Cyprus, our foreign minister came to an anti-European rally and
began urging people to do something. This would not be good," he said.
When the EU's leaders ignored Putin's heavy hints that Ukraine was a problem best sorted out locally, the Russian intervention was inevitable.
There is almost no end to the reams of weapons-grade drivel which have been spewed out by Western commentators on the Ukraine in the last few weeks. Here is a choice example from the Washington Post's Fareed Zakaria, who claims:
The crisis in Ukraine is the most significant geopolitical problem since the Cold War.
No it's not. Not even close. It has been a huge fuss about remarkably little which the West has handled very badly indeed.
Not least among the disastrous consequences of our headless chicken response is that, as Christopher Booker notes, we have increased the likelihood of the Ukraine splitting into East and West. The economically productive Eastern Ukraine, where all the heavy industry is, would of course end up with the Russians. And guess which idiots would have to bail out the Western Ukraine, the economic basket case with nothing going for it whatsoever...