Thursday 6 March 2014

UK and Ukraine

I know little of the history, sociology or ethnic make up of Ukraine and have never claimed much expertise in forging policy.  My reactions are therefore very general and commonplace.

I think it's a bit rich President Obama  pontificating  about Russia invading somebody else's sovereign territory, and a bit pointless William Hague  pontificating about anything at all.  I note that the ousted Ukrainian president was democratically elected and that the West is less enthusiastic about the sovereign choice of the people when it produces  a Yanukovych, or Hamas in Palestine and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

From the following,  which  appeared on Facebook by someone who is, I believe, a Ukrainian,.I gather some of the protesters have more in common with the Nazis than with John Stuart Mill.

Kit Mlynar-Sax
Kit Mlynar-Sax shared a link: "Ukraine and the "Politics of...": """Let’s see if I got this right: Right-wing nationalist mobs overthrow an elected president in Ukraine after seizing government offices at gunpoint. Other nationalists (different nationality) seize Crimean government offices at gunpoint. The US press tells us the Ukrainian fascists in Kiev are Good Guys and the Russian fascists in Crimea are Bad Guys. I hope I’ve got this right, because I don’t want to accidentally support the wrong fascists." Greg Palast 

(Don't bother with the links: they haven't transferred.)

I would make just two serious and, I believe, informed points.

  • Democracy involves far more than elections, particularity if they're carried out using the simplistic "first past the post" system.   Other vital ingredients are the rule of law, respect for and protection of minorities, a free and balanced press and an impartial judiciary. 

  • Should we want it, Britain has influence on international affairs only through the international organisations of which we are a member: principally the European Union, the United Nations, Council of Europe, NATO and the Commonwealth. Ukip and others who would like Britain to abandon some or all of these and go it alone should realise that the spoutings of a British foreign secretary outside these organisations would have much less impact than his reasoned contributions to the debates within them.

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