THE BLOG

Ukraine Crisis: Is It Support for Self-determination or Self-interest That Shapes UK Policy?

07/03/2014 16:12 GMT | Updated 07/05/2014 10:59 BST

It is unfortunate for us all that William Hague is such a maladroit character, a modern day Lord Curzon. He shoots from the hip and never fails to turn a crisis into a drama.

His over-eagerness to 'talk big', to chastise the bad guys, and to side with the supposed good, led the government down a dark alleyway over Syria as support for rebels descended into appeasement and fused support for Al-Qaeda on the ground.

Now Billy Big Boots is at it again on Ukraine, warning Russia that it faced "significant diplomatic and economic costs" for its actions. "Be in no doubt, there will be consequences", he said before travelling the news studios declaring the situation "the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st Century"

Hague's tough-talking came before civil servants pointed out that sanctions would hurt the UK far more than they would Russia, and also threaten Britain's Arms sales! Britain has sold more than £86m of rifles, ammunition, drones and laser technology to Russia in the last 18 months alone. There are currently another 271 export arms licenses open to Russia, despite the crisis in Ukraine.

Yet Hague told the House of Commons last year that "the government will not issue licenses where we judge there is a clear risk the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression."

He also forgets that for any peaceful outcome in Ukraine is to be found that Vladimir Putin, the man whom he accused of declaring "baseless" concerns over ethnic Russians, will be central and play a critical part in any future peace plan.

Our EU neighbours are thankfully less aggressive in their approaches, but the habit of Hague to simply follow the United State's lead in encouraging the people of nation states to rise in revolution irrespective of their chances of success or the consequences for the wider civilian population has produced cyclical unrest, mayhem and murder on a tragic scale across Europe and the Middle East.

But do Western Governments really care about self-determination? Or are they simply being expansionist in a never ending quest to create more and more puppet regimes for the capitalist machine to exploit?

There are other valid reasons for us to be cautious of taking sides in Ukraine - mainly the unpalatable nature of the those leading the revolution.

We should worry that newly appointed secretary of the National Security and Defence Council is none other than Andriy Parubiy, founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians, which morphed into the far-right Svoboda party. His deputy, Dmytro Yarosh, is the leader of the Right Sector - a group of hardline nationalist street fighters, and far right gangs including Patriot of Ukraine and the paramilitaries of UNA-UNSO, whose members parade in balaclavas and uniforms bearing far-right insignia, including the wolfsangel.

Putin knows all too well the dangers of UNA-UNSO following their involvement in fighting against Russia in both Chechnya and Moldova.

Most worrying is though is that new Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych is also member of Svoboda which managed just 10% of the vote in the last Ukrainian election but now has seven government ministers in powerful and pivotal positions.

Svobada policies include plans to put a complete stop to immigration, ensure that only ethnic Ukrainians can be employed as civil servants, and ban the use of the Russian Language. Perhaps President Putin is right to secure the safety of ethnic Russians in Ukraine?

Hague's attempts to avert all eyes in Moscow's direction is unhelpful and the West is really stuck between a rock and a hard place over how or if it should intervene in Ukraine. The Crimean Parliament has called a referendum on reunification with Russia on March 16th and across Ukraine preparations are well underway for Presidential elections on the 25th May.

As a believer of self-determination I hope that both polls enable the silent majority in the Ukraine and Crimea to find their voice and contribute to the debate on Ukraine's future, it may not be possible for a majority to unite under a one nation banner, ethnic tensions may have been stretched too far, but the far right in Ukraine must not allowed to benefit electorally from their seizure of power on such a low national support base, and for everyone's sake lets hope that our European partners find a suitable muzzle for our hapless Foreign Secretary before his Lord Curzon impressions morph him into some form of modern day Alf Garnett albeit with a Yorkshire accent.

The real accent, and the energy of our leaders should be on finding a peaceful way forward through dialogue and consent, not by grandstanding and showboating to impress our so called friends across the Atlantic.