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Will Ukrainians Protect the Scots?

Is it just me, or does the West's indignance about Putin invading the Crimea reek of hypocrisy in the light of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and countless other invasions and regime changes we've perpetrated during recent decades? And the people we've 'rescued' don't even speak our language, share our cultures or have the faintest idea who we are. And none of them are thanking us now.

The other side of the hypocrisy is exemplified by the Falkland Islands whose inhabitants voted to remain British - despite Argentina, not unreasonably from a purely geographic point of view, claiming territorial sovereignty. So it is OK for the UK to sail half way around the globe to maintain British dominion in far away places, but not OK for Russians to pop next door to protect Russians.

It would seem that at least 96% of Crimeans welcome Putin's invasion if you can trust their referendum... which the West are trying to call illegal. I don't recall being asked if I wanted us to invade Iraq. In fact I do recall 1 million people marching on the streets of London (the largest rally ever in this country) telling Blair not to do it! At least a democratically elected Russian government endorsed using troops to assist Russian speakers in Ukraine. Our own governments seem to be rather less democratic where war is concerned. Not that I'm suggesting Putin's cronies represent a fair society. But there are far worse regimes to worry about. And he does put on a very good Olympic games. But then so did Hitler...

We are about to hold a referendum in Scotland to ask if they want to remain part of the UK or not. It's expected that the majority will vote to stay in the United Kingdom. If this prediction holds true, then we can assume the majority of Scots didn't actually want a referendum at all. But apparently it is 'legal' for a minority of that chunk of land to demand one anyway. So what's wrong with the vast majority of the inhabitants of a chunk of land which happens to have been part of Russia until very recently anyway (arbitrarily given to Ukraine by Khrushchev) voting to welcome their protection? Why on Earth would they want to stay Ukrainian anyway? Russia is vastly wealthier than destitute Ukraine who is also trying to ban the speaking of Russian in order to enforce traditionally right-wing Cossack ways onto a people who have no closer cultural connection with the Ukraine than we do. Do we really want to go to war over this? And if we don't, why should we resist the Russians 'protecting' others who don't want to be ruled by Kiev especially if a bit of sabre-rattling prevents bloodshed.

I was also debating with myself whether to mention the record of Ukrainians in their glee at welcoming in German Nazis to help them clear their country of Jews (the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev was filled with around 30,000 Jews by Germans and willing Ukrainians). Throughout their history, massacring Jews and other minorities seemed a particularly popular pastime. Whilst children should never be held accountable for the crimes of their parents, there does seem to be a persistent theme in this part of the world for racist violence. And there seems to be plenty of evidence that Tatars, Cossacks and dozens of other local ethnic groups still hate the sight of each other. If that really is the sort of people we are being asked to defend, then not in my name please... Although it could also be argued that they're only ever going to change their attitudes if they are made to feel less defensive about their tribes by becoming amorphously European. But try telling that to the Greeks, and maybe the British... who will be holding a referendum about remaining part of Europe if the Conservatives remain in power (whereas, interestingly, the 'let-the-people-speak' socialist Labour party have ruled out a referendum if they get to power)...

...So here we go again. A chunk of land on the edge of an area called Europe is probably going to be 'legally', we're told, allowed to ask its population whether it wants to remain part of Europe. If we vote to exit Europe, will the Americans wade in to support the French and Germans to force us to remain European? Will we then hope that someone like Russia waves a flag to support our decision? What will the Ukrainian people decide to do to help those of us in the UK who want to remain European? And will they help us protect those Scots who want to remain British? Would they give a damn? Of course not.

At the end of the day, it's all about economics and who has the best get-rich plan for the future. So whoever wins that game, let's hope the people they govern learn to better tolerate their neighbours, abandon petty tribal allegiances, consign meaningless rituals and customs to museums, and all work towards the same goal of making this planet a better long-term bet for our children - no matter what colour flag ends up flying over their heads.

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