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Richard Drax MP writes: World peace under threat
11:00am Friday 7th March 2014 in News
A statement by the Foreign Secretary on Ukraine this week gave me another opportunity in the chamber to urge the government to reverse the defence cuts.
The situation in the Crimea is another example of how serious threats to world peace can flare up unexpectedly.
And while no one is promoting war between the West and Russia, the world does look to the UK to stand up for democracy and freedom.
To do so, we need both resolute diplomacy and the military capability to back it up.
Of course, we’d never act alone, but our armed forces, especially the Royal Navy, are a shadow of their former selves and, in the event of a major escalation, we’d be found wanting.
Putting military intervention aside, the West is weak diplomatically.
The EU is unable to finance Ukraine’s vast needs; France is reluctant to risk new military contracts with Russia; Germany relies for a fifth of its oil and gas on Gazprom; and the booming City of London is fuelled by Russian investment, which a recent leaked document makes clear is our government’s priority.
That leaves the USA to outbid Russia on financial aid to Kiev, while growling about sanctions and sovereignty.
Add some historical context and you really do have a dog’s breakfast.
Ukraine, which once held the third largest stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons on earth, gave them up in return for guaranteed sovereignty from Russia under the Budapest Memo in 1994.
That looks hollow now, with Russia using the overthrow of a puppet president, calls for closer links to the EU, alleged threats to its citizens and concerns over the security of the port of Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea fleet, as an excuse to breach the agreement.
The world holds its breath, and hopes.
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