Yesterday President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the combined houses of Parliament before meeting King Charles and visiting Ukrainian tank crews training in Dorset. Last night he met Macron in France and today is in Brussels. This whistle-stop tour is all about securing tanks and planes to repeal the Russian invasion of his country. We, along with partners, should supply him with all the weapons he needs. It is vital that Ukraine defeats Russia, and that Putin and all his key supporters face trial for war crimes in The Hague, or death.
Many on the far left, and the far right, in UK, USA and Europe oppose this. They tend to see NATO expansion as a cause of war. They are utterly wrong. Most of the countries of Eastern Europe wanted a peaceful life: they never invaded their bigger neighbours, but have been repeatedly invaded by them. Finland and Sweden have spent decades trying to be neutral, but now Russian aggression has forced them to apply to join NATO.
Many countries, once they joined the European Union thought that they did not need large armies. Poland is a case in point. Russian media is full of talk of the next stage of the war being fought in Poland. They talk of it as a non-country, just as Stalin and Hitler did, suitable for annexation. Understandably, Poland is now purchasing huge quantities of weapons.
My book ‘System Change Now!’ was finished in April 2022, a couple of months after Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. The book envisaged a more peaceful, ecologically sustainable, and socially just world with thousands of co-operating tiny democratic communities networked together. It envisaged much less military spending. That world is only possible once aggressive colonial empires such as Russia are no longer a threat.
I have become very interested in the many countries that have been invaded by the Russian Tsars, Bolsheviks, Stalin and Putin, and many also by Hitler’s Germany. They are showing great solidarity with Ukraine. In October I posted a blog about how Finland and Estonia have become two of the best governed countries, and Sanna Marin and Kaja Kallas two of the best leaders. Ukraine has made remarkable progress since the Euromaidan protests of November 2013, and Zelensky has emerged as a tremendous leader. Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Romania and Moldova are all emerging as key supporters of Ukraine. Many of the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia, which have long been under Russian domination, are expressing greater independence. The Kazakhs erecting ‘yurts of invincibility’ in Ukrainian cities offering tea, warmth and hospitality is an expression of support for Ukraine that has enraged the Kremlin.
In December I posted a blog, Understanding Ukraine, and saying how useful I found Timothy Snyder’s Yale lecture series. He also writes a blog which includes many excellent articles, including ‘Why the world needs Ukrainian victory’. Another academic I find helpful is Janne M Korhonen, from Aalto University in Finland. Here’s a long Twitter thread of his on democracy, war and peace and why small democracies need to stick together and oppose aggression. We in UK, USA and Western Europe have a duty to stick together with these relatively small independent democratic countries: our futures are deeply intertwined.