The columnist Simon Heffer writing in today’s Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2586634/SIMON-HEFFER-Thank-Mr-Putin-proving-EU-pointless.html) opines that the EU is “as useful as a chocolate teapot.” Of course it is!
A collection of 28 pluralist multi-party democracies (and notwithstanding some substantial shortcomings of some of the members, that is what they are) has had, has and will always have a fundamental weakness: the inability to take very strong action. This is because getting agreement from such a mixture of states is well nigh impossible. The point is seems that Simon Heffer is trying to make amongst the hyperbole in his article is that Mr Putin knows that. What Simon Heffer appears less willing to state is that Mrs Merkel knows that too. He goes onto state that Germany’s attitude is craven.
What Simon Heffer of course realises, although he does not see fit to inform his readers, is that there is much more to this international spat than meets the eye. What Simon Heffer fails to inform his readers is that the Ukraine as presently constituted is a state with deep rooted historical divisions of language and religion. Broadly speaking, the population in the west look towards Europe and here there is genuine public enthusiasm for membership of the EU. In the east however the population tend to speak Russian and look towards Moscow. They do not want to be part of the EU. These people fear (correctly) that the EU is effectively a German led vehicle and the one people these Russians do not want to be subject to are the Germans. It is entirely possible that Mr Putin has as his aim a re-unification of the Russian speaking populations of the former USSR. This means parts of the Ukraine. It does not mean parts of the Baltic states. Mr Putin is a realist and a pragmatist and is certainly no Hitler. He knows precisely how far he can push this.
Well Simon Heffer may speak of Germany being craven. We would disagree. We would suggest there is a very rough parallel between the situation in 2014 and the situation in 1939 when Hitler and Stalin decided to divide up Poland between them.
This strategy however is not without risks for Mr Putin. Whilst Mr Putin’s actions have been applauded in Russia itself, they carry their own consequences. The Russian economy is primarily that of a primary producer. Russia has enormous gas, oil and mineral reserves in Siberia. The problem Mr Putin faces is that his actions in Ukraine have reminded the EU’s politicians (including the UK’s) just how vulnerable they are dependent as they are on gas and oil from Mr Putin’s Russia. Were it not for the vast reserves of shale gas lying under the EU’s members Mr Putin would be in a very strong position for he would well and truly possess “the whip hand.” He does – to an extent – but Mr Putin knows that the only thing stopping the EU’s politicians from exploiting their shale reserves as the USA has done is “the Greens.”
Here Germany has a problem for the Greens are very strong there. In Poland and the UK the position is different.
Now let us look to the position being pursued by Messrs. Cameron and Hague. These two charlatans are huffing and puffing and making angry noises at Mr Putin. However, whereas Mr Putin can be said to be the successor to Tsar Nicholas II (as head of state and head of government) Cameron and Hague can not be said to be successors to Asquith and Grey. For a start, these two traitors are members of an unlawful conspiracy whereby the Queen’s government as effectively been handed over to a foreign power! Then of course is the UK’s reduced status in the world. The Reader can be absolutely certain that Mr Putin is completely unconcerned about this huffing and puffing.
The reason of course for the huffing and puffing of these two Tories is of course their desperate wish to be able to give the green light for fracking in the UK! They need a political reason to rebuff the protests. They kow that the British people are pragmatic. Rather than be held to ransom by Mr Putin, most of them will accept fracking should be allowed to go ahead. And that is something Mr Putin really is concerned about!
The real problem and challenge will be for the unfortunate Mr Miliband. If he opposes fracking he has got to come up with a viable alternative. Therefore expect to see the Russians giving even more money to certain groups.