The stupidity of governments never ceases to amaze me. I should know better at my age, I know, but one always lives in the hope of something better.
Ministerial stupidity was revealed by the United Kingdom’s top minister for foreign affairs, Liz Truss on the 6th April 2022 at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
April 6 (UPI) — British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the “age of engagement with Russia is over” during a meeting with fellow NATO foreign ministers in Belgium on Wednesday. Truss said in a statement obtained by CNN that the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which rules that “NATO and Russia do not consider one another adversaries,” is “dead and it is time to cast off an outdated approach to handling Russia.”
“The age of engagement with Russia is over,” she said. “We need a new approach to security in Europe based on resilience, defense and deterrence.”
She also called on NATO to increase sanctions against Russia and arm Ukraine “quickly and decisively” while saying she is working with her Group of Seven counterparts to further sanction Russian banks.
“For NATO to remain at the vanguard of global security, it must be bold. As President [Dwight] Eisenhower, the alliance’s first supreme commander, said: ‘History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid,'” Truss added.
How do we explain such an extreme, stupid, patently undiplomatic and fundamentally unrealistic statement from someone charged with the conduct of UK relations with the rest of the world ?
Truss was born in 1975 so she never knew what is was like to live into middle age with nuclear holocaust threatening to erupt at any time between the highly militarised East and West. Back then, the East-West conflict was pursued via proxy wars which ravaged Third countries obliged to align themselves with either East or West to survive. Nor will she have lived with news reports week after week, year after year showing the horrific war waged by the United States Government in Vietnam.
She never lived through the atrocious revelations of the true horror of that war. I cite just one from its Wikipedia entry:
Phan Thị Kim Phúc ….. the Napalm girl, … a South Vietnamese-born Canadian woman best known as the nine-year-old child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken at Trảng Bàng during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The image, taken by AP photographer Nick Ut, shows her at nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by an American napalm attack by a Vietnamese pilot.
In the early 1990s, Truss went up to Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics. PPE is a modernised version of Oxford’s classical “Greats” but without the need to know Latin and Greek. That is a clue to its nature. You can talk politics and philosophy decontextualised from their proper, real world constraints.
Early in her political career, Truss made the critical [and opportunist ?] decision to quit the no-hope Liberal Democrats and join the ever enduring Conservative party. Her early professional career was forged in globalised big business, as economist and accountant. Perhaps this impressed on her the bottom line of credits and debits, plus or minus, profit or loss, right or wrong.
Well, that is certainly how it looks judging by the crass assessment of relations with Russia she voiced on April 6th 2022 in Brussels – an assessment apparently not widely reported in British media, however.
Her early involvement with international big business may also provide a clue as to where Truss identifies her own and her country’s ‘best’ interests. That is the only explanation I can come up with for such a specious appraisal of geopolitics from the UK’s Secretary for foreign relations.
It also falls in line with her boss’s predilection to seize upon snappy sound-bites in pursuit of one simple strategic PR line for the conduct of policy:
- Get Brexit done !
- Vaccination, vaccination, vaccination !
- War Criminal Putin
As I have attempted to point out in previous posts, the only pertinent policy for the management of both the Ukraine crisis and Putin is de-escalation – not confrontation and escalation by deploying ever more severe economic sanctions, arms supplies and specious propaganda about Putin.
In reality, the international conditions and mindset at work around the Ukraine crisis are akin to 1914 – not 1939 !
Such a contention is, however, outrageous to the knee jerk, Righteous indignation manifest in western media and politics today. So I cite an American source analysing the real world behind the propaganda peddled to camouflage the imperialism of Mammon obsessed globalist, Big Business.
I cite George F. Kennan, the author of the 1946 ‘Long Telegram’ which formed the basis of America’s post WWII policy of containing Soviet Russia. Not Kennan in 1946, however, but Kennan 50 years later in his lesser known, but no less accurate analysis of relations with Russia. In an Op-ed piece for the New York Times on 5th February 1997, Kennan stated:
expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking……………. it is doubly unfortunate considering the total lack of any necessity for this move.
Why, with all the hopeful possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war, should East-West relations become centered on the question of who would be allied with whom and, by implication, against whom in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable future military conflict?
Ten years later, President Putin made an appeal to the West to agree a new understanding of the world’s balance of powers and interests at the Munich Security Conference, 2007. Then again in December 2021, Vladimir Putin appealed for an international agreement for security on Russia’s European border. On 1st December 2021, one news agency reported this:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will request talks with NATO to ensure that the US-led military bloc does not creep closer to his country’s borders, as Kiev moves to allow Western troops into Ukraine.
Speaking to a group of newly-arrived ambassadors in the Kremlin on Wednesday, Putin said that his country will “insist on guarantees being set out to exclude the possibility of NATO moving any further to the east, and deploying threatening weapons close to Russian territory.”
“I would like to emphasize that we need these to be legal guarantees,” the Russian president said, “given that our Western colleagues have not fulfilled their respective oral obligations. Everyone knows they made promises they wouldn’t expand eastwards, but then they did the opposite. Legitimate Russian security concerns have been ignored and continue to be ignored.”
Putin insisted that “the threat at our Western borders is really growing, and we have repeatedly talked about it. It is enough to see how close NATO’s military infrastructure has advanced to the Russian borders. It’s more than serious for us.”
But despite the historical reality of the outburst of frustration in the 2014 Russian attack on Ukraine, the American led NATO refused point blank to entertain any discussions about Russian fears over Ukraine. This arrogant and intransigent attitude which insisted on talks on Western terms alone persisted despite the blatant presence of a Russian army on Ukraine’s border for 3 months up to February 24th 2022.
4 million+ displaced Ukrainians and thousands dead are the direct result of Western arrogance towards the reality of Russian insecurity about Ukraine.
The West’s self righteous arrogance and hypocrisy begs belief. NATO continued in existence after 1992 despite the evaporation of its raison d’etre. The US government would not tolerate for one moment what the Russians have been force-fed these last 30 years. The presence of Russian forces and missiles in Canada or Mexico is the equivalent to what the Russians have swallowed for decades. Ukraine is as near to Moscow as Scotland is to London, as Montreal is to New York, or as Paris is to Lyon within France itself…
To maintain their ‘holier-than-thou’ posture, Western Governments deny the fundamental and strategic security interests of their own populations – their own electorates who pay their salaries and who nominally place them in power.
Not only have the Utopian, woke-righteous governments of the West betrayed the people of Ukraine; not only are they betraying their own peoples basic economic and security interests. They are betraying the millions in the developing world who now face famine and the consequent internal breakdown of law and order in countries with an already precarious hold on civilised life.
I am utterly disgusted by western governments self-righteous hypocrisy; their treason against their own populations most basic interests; and their callous disregard for the already fragile conditions of Third World populations.