PETER HITCHENS: If we really cared for Ukraine, we’d find a lasting peace – and not prolong this war
Is Ukraine stuck? Wars can be very unpredictable – especially in the first weeks – but there are many signs that Ukraine has run into political and military trouble.
It is not that the armed forces are likely to be defeated or that the Russians are about to invade Kiev. Far from it. They are also in trouble.
It is that the large-scale reconquest of the land lost to Russia in 2022 looks less and less likely as the days grow shorter. Those heavily invested in a summer offensive against Russia have so far been disappointed. So what?
The US is still (sensibly) opposed to involving itself directly in the war, so what will break the impasse? Should this continue to fill cemeteries and cause serious economic damage to Ukraine and Europe? With what purpose?
I’m not a military expert. I haven’t fired a good gun in forty years and when I did, I wasn’t much of a hit. (On quiet evenings in Parliament I would sometimes spend late shifts using the shooting range which, as far as I know, is still somewhere beneath the House of Lords.)
Wars can be very unpredictable – especially in the early weeks – but there are many signs that Ukraine (one of its soldiers pictured above) has found itself in political and military trouble.
But I can sniff the wind as well as anyone, and when the mighty American magazine Foreign Affairs publishes a major article entitled Will the West Leave Ukraine? (to which I think the answer is ‘very possible’) I think something is going on.
I have never been able to understand Britain’s interest in prolonging a costly and risky war in south-eastern Europe between two corrupt and poorly governed parts of the old Soviet empire. Many American Republicans, and not just the awful Trump, also question its sense.
Then there are recent reports of increasing friction between Ukraine and the Polish government. I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before, given the relatively recent (80 years ago) violent history between the two neighboring peoples, in an area where events from 500 years ago can still cause bitter enmity.
And there is the current scandal of alleged corruption at Ukrainian military recruitment offices. This is not a shock to anyone, as you can barely breathe in Ukraine without encountering corruption. But the point is that it suggests that people are paying in fairly large numbers to avoid fights.
At the same time, many military-age men, who are currently prohibited by law from leaving Ukraine, are caught trying to cross the border into Romania. Which suggests that quite a few people are getting through, and that this is a major difficulty for a country that has suffered terrible military losses.
Honestly, if this war hadn’t been so widely portrayed in crude storybook terms as a super simple battle between total good and total evil, which it isn’t, we might have reached this stage sooner. But better late than never.
If our concern is truly for the people of Ukraine, then we would be far better off promoting a lasting peace than fueling and paying for the prolongation of a war in which real Ukrainians are dying and suffering, with little to show for it. get back.
Red and Green fanatic Sir Keir Starmer was photographed last week (alongside Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper) at an airport near The Hague, where they visited Europol police station so he could make a very strange speech.
Others may be concerned about Sir Keir’s speech or strange attire. But I am fascinated by why the Big Green European flew to the Dutch city when he claims to be so enthusiastic about reducing emissions.
Red and Green fanatic Sir Keir Starmer was photographed last week (alongside Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper) at an airport near The Hague, where they visited Europol police headquarters so he could make a very strange speech
I love The Hague, its beautiful art gallery, its efficient trams and its pleasant sandy beaches, and I could have told him that it is very easy to reach by train. The Eurostar from London rushes straight to nearby Rotterdam.
From there, clean electric trains run to The Hague itself every few minutes, while the city’s airport is 24 kilometers away. The station is located in the middle of the city. And Europol is 20 minutes from the station with tram line 17.
Sometimes I wonder if these Green fanatics really mean what they say.
Sins that the BBC will never have to deal with
What is the BBC doing making a drama about Ireland’s biggest scandal, the terrible Magdalene Laundries, in which unwed mothers were imprisoned and exploited, and worse, by the Catholic Church?
If I were Irish, I’d wonder if Britain itself didn’t have such scandals to watch. An Irish reviewer of The Woman In The Wall, Ed Power of the Irish Times, said (accurately) that the series was a ‘baroque and hysterically exaggerated attempt to confront evil’.
But it’s not just that the drama is deeply weird, full of pointless swearing and smoking, and virtually impossible to follow.
Indeed, it is deeply hypocritical to use such means to dwell on past scandals that have long since come to light and to make ourselves look good.
I would like to see a drama about the current mass slaughter of abortion and child neglect due to mass divorce, which has instead been created by our liberated culture.
An Irish reviewer of The Woman In The Wall, Ed Power of the Irish Times, said (accurately) that the series was a ‘baroque and hysterically exaggerated attempt to confront depravity’ (photo: Ruth Wilson in The Woman In The Wall)
The misery in Libya is indeed terrible. But so did the crazy and destructive war unleashed against that country by David Cameron in 2011, who had no idea what he was doing.
He deserves to be despised for his folly as much as Blair’s essence deserves to be despised for his equally disastrous intervention in Iraq.
Overthrowing tyrants may be good box office, but if you replace them with anarchy you’ve made people’s lives much, much worse.
Apart from all the other bad results they have caused, these two fools have helped spark the colossal movement of peoples towards Europe, which will change the history of our continent, and not necessarily for the better.
50 years later… but some things don’t change
Last week marked 50 years since I first started doodling for a living.
In September 1973 I covered my first golden wedding, took my first shorthand lessons with the demanding Mrs Whittaker, wrote up the results of my first flower show and reported on my first trial at the Magistrates’ Court, all under the strict eye of more experienced people. persons, because I was a real indentured servant.
It was the same country, yet very different, the people more individual and varied, the smells stronger (apart from that of marijuana, which was still pretty much illegal), and the pubs closed most of the time.
There were tons of manual jobs. The police were visible, apolitical and anti-crime.
My newspaper was produced by a magical Victorian process of molten metal and great thundering rotary presses in a cavern below the newsroom, which we all went to watch, when it wasn’t busy, when they started running for the first edition every afternoon.
Meanwhile, inflation was at 9 percent and Americans were engaged in violent coups to overthrow governments they didn’t like, which seems familiar.
And dining cars were open on Sundays on regular express trains. What seems like a dream.