They’ve already gone too far

This is a succinct article by Professor Frank Furedi about the crisis in Ukraine.

He points to one of the most staggering aspects of all this. The sheer “geopolitical illiteracy” of the Western elites who plan these adventures.

Take Afghanistan. Did they really think you could have a Western style “parliamentary democracy” in Afghanistan? A country with its tribal heritage and traditions of warrior-ship and resistance to occupiers? Apparently so.

Did they really think that if they toppled the dictator (whom, as usual, they had previously done business with) Saddam Hussein the country would be unified in its sense of “liberation” and would embrace “freedom” and “democracy” and “prosperity”? Apparently so. (The warnings from British intelligence that a post-invasion Iraq would be more favourable to Al-Qaeda were of course ignored). In fact the country has descended into a sectarian and terroristic blood-bath.

Did they really think that bombing Muammar Gaddafi’s army (which the UK and EU  had previously supplied) would lead to peace and “democracy” in Libya? Check out the chaos now. Oil production down to a fraction of what is possible as various armed factions control the ports. Armed attacks on members of the government. The government in Tripoli only able to maintain some control by alliances with various militias.

All of these outcomes were predictable to anyone who is equipped with some historical, geographical and political sense and a will to use them.

And the same in Ukraine. The West backed a coup by one section of Ukrainian society. This strand of Ukrainian society may well have legitimate aspirations. But it is obviously not representative of the whole country. Indeed one of the first acts of the “new government” was to over-turn a law allowing Russian to be used as a language of official business. The West supported this particular section of Ukrainian society, sending senior figures to Maidan square to urge them on. They did this for the simple reason that they saw this as the way to capture the country for the EU and NATO. †That the Russian leaning population in the East is less than enthused is hardly surprising. That Russia is concerned a) about its compatriots, b) about the possibility of NATO bases on its southern flank and c) its Black Sea bases was entirely predictable. Now, when Russia re-acts the Western press and political rulers unite in creating a big lie about “Russian aggression” and “Russian invasions” and all the rest of it. Like Blair in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq Mr William Hague changes his story day by day. † â€

In Ukraine. Did they really not think this through? It seems quite possible that that is the explanation. Â But can they really not be thinking any of this through? They have whole departments of staff tasked to study foreign countries. However; government departments are staffed with people who live by pleasing people above them in the hierarchy. As a result people like Mr Cameron and Mr William Hague only read reports written by yes-men. Or they read the corporate press which is busy protecting its commercial interests and the interests of the corporate world to which it owes allegiance. Maybe they really believe their own lies in a kind of circular feedback loop type situation. In the end the Western corporate-government world is staffed at all levels by people who think that school taught them about reality. They believed it when the school-teacher told them we have “democracy” in the West. They didn’t question it. Â They are collectively estranged from reality.

The opportunism which seems to govern British foreign policy is perhaps a reflection of that fact that opportunism is the chief value of capitalism.

As far as Ukraine and Russia goes the tragedy is that whatever happens the West has already done serious harm to relations with Russia and thus (since they are a permanent member of the Security Council) to efforts towards a peaceful, lawful, international world order.


†Without a trace of embarrassment the EU is pressing ahead with plans to sign an association agreement with the “new government” in Ukraine before any elections have been held.

† † See Note 2


Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer