Posted on  UTC 2024-07-01 02:01

07.07.2024 – Ukraine: Nigel was right…

…ask the Germans.

A few days before the end of the recent UK general election campaign, Nigel Farage reflected openly on the subject of the war in the Ukraine. He condemned Putin's invasion, but also condemned the EU and the USA/Nato for provoking Putin and giving him an excuse for the invasion.

No other UK politician in the middle of an election would dare to say something so contrary to the current political orthodoxy. It earned him a predictable artillery barrage from the great and the good, but it kept him and his tiny party on the front pages for a few days. There is no evidence that his heresy cost him any votes, discounting those who were not going to vote for him anyway.

He was also bang on the money about the provocation of Russia by the EU. Don't forget that he was in the EU Parliament for 21 years (1999-2020) and saw directly what was happening there. Unlike the UK politicians and the opinion writers, he was a first-hand witness. His opinions have found corroboration from others who were paying attention at the time.

In 2015 the Duden Verlag, that repository of German authority, published a blockbuster, Meilensteine der deutschen Geschichte, 'Milestones of German History'. The writing of it put food on the table of nine renowned professors of history, half a dozen editors and sub-editors and uncounted other underlings. It is 512 pages long and weighs in at a wrist-wrecking 1.4 kg.

Meilensteine der deutschen Geschichte

The writers had started many, many pages before with Hermann (the German) whacking Varus (the Roman) in 9 AD, not in itself a triumph of civilisation over barbarism, and scribbled their tediously thorough way until they got to 2015, at which point they put down their pens.

I can't recommend the work – its magisterial generalisations suck the blood out of a subject that is intrinsically full of interest. The last pages are intended as a magisterial summary of where Germany is in 2015, and, once you have disentangled their magisterial prose, they support Nigel's view of the situation ante bellum exactly. If they had been able to foresee all that has happened in the Ukraine in the meantime, perhaps they might have been even more magisterially elliptic:

The EU, with Germany as its most populous and economically strong member, has become an international player wrestling for a position in global politics.

On the one hand the relations with China and Russia have become more important. In the growing struggle between Russian and Western political, military and economic interests in the territory of the Ukraine in 2014/2015, for example, German foreign policy, in close association with France and the EU, became a link between the former great powers and attempted to avoid a return to the creation of ideological camps that characterised the Cold War.

On the other hand, the EU also sees itself as being in a transatlantic community with shared values.

Die EU mit Deutschland als dessen bevölkerungsreichstes und wirtschaftsstärkstes Mitglied ist zu einem internationalen Player aufgestiegen, der um seine Positionierung in der Weltpolitik ringt. Einerseits sind die Verbindungen zu China und zu Russland wichtiger geworden. So bildete etwa in dem sich zuspitzenden Ringen zwischen russischen und westlichen Interessen um politisch-militärisch-wirtschaftliche Einflusssphären auf dem Staatsgebiet der Ukraine 2014/2015 die deutsche Außenpolitik, in enger Anbindung an Frankreich und die EU, das Bindeglied zwischen den vormaligen Großmächten und suchte eine Rückkehr zur Lagerbildung wie während des Kalten Krieges zu verhindern. Andererseits sieht man sich in einer transatlantischen »Wertegemeinschaft«.
Meilensteine der deutschen Geschichte, p 476-477, Duden 2015, ISBN 978-3-411-71016-4. Translation FoS.

A magisterial summary of their magisterial summary would be that the EU, the new world power on the block, was beginning to throw its weight around, starting on its doorstep, namely the Ukraine. The magisterial thoughts of these nine brainboxes in 2015, as the EU sleepwalked diplomatically into war, tell us all we need to know about the casus belli in the Ukraine. Which is essentially what Nigel said.

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