The headlines are getting progressively more concerning as the West look to be drawing up battle lines against Russia rather than Islamic State. This morning we read that the RAF have been granted permission by ministers to shoot down Russian jets if they come under attack whilst completing missions.
Russian officials have asked UK ministers “to provide an official explanation” of reports that RAF Tornados operating over Iraq have been fitted with heat-seeking missiles designed for aerial combat.
Whilst I am in no way a supporter of Vladimir Putin or his regime in Russia, it seems to me that the West is taking the line of fifty years ago, rather than responding to the crisis of the current day.
Military advisors to our leaders need to put aside the animosity they still have towards Russia from the Cold War and focus on the real threat to world peace – Islamic State.
There is still a huge risk that the militant Islamic group could make headway while we are busy cutting our noses off to spite our faces. We can’t afford to let foreign policy from the second half of the twentieth century get in the way of a global coalition to fight Islamic State.
The politics of the Cold War was a blip in the history of global tensions, but it seems some civil servants and military advisors are stuck there. Time and warfare have moved on. We are now living in the era of asymmetric warfare, with non state actors presenting challenges unheard of 20 years ago.
We don’t have to like Putin to realise that a united front against people who rape children and behead Christians is the best idea for a safer world. We joined forces with Stalin to defeat Hitler because he was an immediate threat and that pragmatic attitude is what we need now.
Yes, I believe that Assad should be replaced as the Syrian head of state, however, that is only going to come about through negotiation between his supporters and those who wish to see him replaced.
His removal and the destruction of Islamic State won’t come about by us going to war with Russia.
Mike Hookem MEP is the UKIP Defence Spokesman and a former Commando Engineer.