Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has reiterated UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s comments from earlier this week, when he claimed that Russia was useful in the fight against ISIS, and that the West should look to the country as an ally against terror, rather than an enemy itself.
Speaking in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday 15th, Mr Farage said that despite the West’s obsession with demonising tyrants like Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, they were “on our side” when it comes to the “big foreign policy stuff” like tackling the Islamist threat over the next ten years and more.
Mr Prodi appeared to give a coincidentally similar message just a day after, at a conference in Rome, where he said: “To eradicate terrorism, it’s necessary that the big powers reach an agreement… But several things are preventing this – one is the US and Russia confronting each other over Ukraine – it’s keeping the level of tension too high.”
“Why? Take Libya and the Middle East – you can’t get peace in these places without the US and Russia taking the same position.”
But Prodi and Farage parted ways on the recent Iran deal, which Mr Prodi lauded, but Mr Farage said was “too soon”. He pointed to the fact that Iran still wants to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth” and noted that under President Barack Obama, relations with Cuba and Iran have improved, while America’s relations with Great Britain and Israel have deteriorated.
Speaking yesterday at the Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill, Mr Farage said: “I think what happened in the Ukraine was absolutely appalling. Moronic, actually. The fact that there was a democratically elected leader of the Ukraine that was brought down by a street stage coup d’etat by people waving European Union flags.
“And I think the foreign policy that we’ve pursued through NATO – which needs serious reform as an organisation as well, though the model’s okay – the foreign policy we’ve pursued is we’ve said ‘we want the Ukraine to join NATO’. Politically, the message that the European Union has been pushing, indeed the biggest cheerleader of all for this has been David Cameron, is that we want the Ukraine to join our political union.
“All of those, frankly, are very provocative acts on Russia and Putin, whatever we think of them. And I think the Ukraine crisis is something that we have provoked. When I make that argument it doesn’t mean that Putin’s my best mate, or that I want him to be. And I can see why people living in the Baltic states are genuinely concerned about Putin. But can I say this, and this will probably shock you.
“We’re all told that Putin’s a baddie and that Assad’s a baddie. These are the really bad guys in the world.
“Well let me put this point to you… actually, when it comes to the biggest threat we face, which is violent, extreme Islamism. On that great battle… on those issues… both of those men are on our side. So I do think when it comes to some of this big foreign policy stuff… we need to starting thinking… not about the next six months, but where we should be positioning ourselves for the next decade and more.”