The real baddie lurking in the Black Sea
HERE come the wicked Russians again, making trouble in the Black Sea. Or are they? A quick look at a map will tell you Russia is entirely justified in caring a lot about what goes on in the Black Sea. In fact, the Black Sea is to Russia much as the Gulf of Mexico is to the USA, or the Irish Sea is to us. In fact, more so, since the Black Sea is a dead end, not a passage.
So how do you think we might react if the Irish government allowed Russia to build a spanking new naval base on Dublin Bay? And what do you think Donald Trump would do if Mexico allowed Moscow to build a naval HQ on its Gulf Coast? I think there would be trouble. Yet amid all the ‘Big Bad Russia, poor little Ukraine’ coverage of last week’s clashes at the Kerch Strait, did anyone so much as mention that the US Navy is now building an ultra-modern maritime operations centre at Ochakov, in Ukraine, close to Odessa on the Black Sea?
Since this crisis erupted in 2014, it has been about the West pushing into Russia’s comfort zone, and Russia pushing back. We were told in 2014 that the mob in the centre of Kiev were campaigning against corruption. Well, nearly five years since that mob violently overthrew a legitimate government, to the applause of ‘democrats’ everywhere, Ukraine is, if anything, more corrupt and less free than it was in 2014.
Poor Ukraine and its people are being used as a battering ram in a conflict from which they will get nothing. American and EU power is more and more strongly established there.
This is serious. Ukraine is a vital piece of real estate. President Carter’s brilliant strategic adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski explained it best in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard. He said: ‘Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an Eurasian empire.
‘However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.’
Don’t be fooled. It is us making this happen. The First World War was largely about Ukraine and so was the Second. The Third might be the same, if we let it happen. I think Britain should have no part in this foolish, greedy conflict.