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The West’s Ukraine Policy is Furrowing British Brows

by Peter Jenkins

British people who take an interest in what is happening abroad are perplexed and worried by the recent turn of events in Ukraine. They have difficulty understanding why the US and EU have been showing so little sensitivity to Russia’s vital security interests in the Ukraine; and they are not convinced that adequate thought has been given to identifying where the West’s true interests lie.

Russia has good reason to care about the strategic alignment of its neighbour to the South. As a former British ambassador to NATO reminded an audience recently, Ukraine is to Russia a bit what Ireland is, or was, to Britain.

Western politicians talk as though Russia’s attachment to the “sphere of influence” concept is reprehensible. Yet the US has long seen Latin America as a US sphere of influence and has not hesitated to act to keep unwelcome intruders out. How many of those who have condemned the sending of Russian troops to the Crimea as unlawful, and a threat to peace, remember the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, which amused neither Grenada’s head of state, Her Majesty the Queen, nor her Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher? And that’s only one example of US unlawful acts in the Latin American sphere.

Similarly, for centuries British leaders not only regarded the island to the West as a potential back-door into Britain that must not be allowed to come under hostile influence, let alone occupation; they also held to the principle that the Channel ports opposite Britain must be kept out of the hands of potentially hostile powers.

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