Richard Drax MP writes: World peace under threat

Dorset Echo: - -

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.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:33am Fri 7 Mar 14

ronfogg says...

The logic of this argument eludes me.

So "we need both resolute diplomacy and the military capability to back it up" but "Of course, we’d never act alone", however "no one is promoting war between the West and Russia" and "the West is weak diplomatically"

Actually the logic of Drax's argument is that the situation in the Ukraine is completely unaffected by the current UK military strength. Doubling the UK army/navy etc would have made absolutely no difference to the Kremlin's actions. I'm sure Putin would be quaking in his (ex KGB) boots if we had a few more ships.
The logic of this argument eludes me. So "we need both resolute diplomacy and the military capability to back it up" but "Of course, we’d never act alone", however "no one is promoting war between the West and Russia" and "the West is weak diplomatically" Actually the logic of Drax's argument is that the situation in the Ukraine is completely unaffected by the current UK military strength. Doubling the UK army/navy etc would have made absolutely no difference to the Kremlin's actions. I'm sure Putin would be quaking in his (ex KGB) boots if we had a few more ships. ronfogg
  • Score: 1

4:19pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Genghis says...

I agree with ronfogg, in that whether our armed forces were any larger or not, it would make absolutely no difference to the situation in Ukraine. What the Ukrainian predicament does show though, is that we need a credible defence force, something which this, and previous governments, have gone out of their way to cut and cut again.
I agree with ronfogg, in that whether our armed forces were any larger or not, it would make absolutely no difference to the situation in Ukraine. What the Ukrainian predicament does show though, is that we need a credible defence force, something which this, and previous governments, have gone out of their way to cut and cut again. Genghis
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Sat 8 Mar 14

ronfogg says...

What is most important is that we know clearly what out defence forces are for and what they are not for. Defending Crimea from the Russian forces is clearly in the "not for " category.

Clearly "a credible defence " depends on the situation. Credible to dissuade the Russians in Crimea is rather different to credible in dissuading Somalian pirates.
What is most important is that we know clearly what out defence forces are for and what they are not for. Defending Crimea from the Russian forces is clearly in the "not for " category. Clearly "a credible defence " depends on the situation. Credible to dissuade the Russians in Crimea is rather different to credible in dissuading Somalian pirates. ronfogg
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Genghis says...

A credible defence as in defending our own country. We can no longer afford to be the world's police force.
A credible defence as in defending our own country. We can no longer afford to be the world's police force. Genghis
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree