Great Britain and messing with Russia

Been playing a little catch up and saw Boris Johnson’s comment in parliament encouraging UK Citizens to march and protest outside the Russian Embassy in London regarding the current situation in Syria and just thought to myself, here we go again.

I won’t pretend to understand all the complexities of foreign relations, and pretty much all of ours have been a disaster for the whole history of the United Kingdom, but are we starting to have to consider looking into the abyss.

Reading the article in the Sunday Herald yesterday, Russia v The West, it does appear that both sides are playing very dangerous games in the Syrian conflict. RAF pilots are now flying with air to air missiles, Russia is planning on sailing it’s biggest Aircraft Carrier and support vessels through the English Channel, and like when Russia parked an Aircraft Carrier off the coast of Scotland, we have little or no navy to keep an eye on things or respond.

admiral-kuznetsov-1024x768 v gloriana

Admiral Kutznetsov v British Royal Navy

There is no doubt that the world has to do something about Syria, that might and is now looking increasingly likely, involve more military action against both Syrian forces and heaven help us Russian Forces. UK and USA foreign policy has been a disaster. People like Boris Johnson sabre rattling is not going to make this situation any better. The Russian economy, like our own, is pretty much in the toilet. Throw in the EU and USA economies and we pretty much have the perfect storm that we cannot afford economically or in the loss to human life.

Many people, stupid people, believe that war is good for the economy and given that ours is pretty much in the toilet do you trust the Tories to do the right thing, I certainly don’t. As Economist Dean Baker notes:

It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.

I don’t know who to believe on the ins and outs of what is being reported because we know we can’t trust the media, and certainly cannot trust the Tories, but it’s not looking good. As Assad threatens to clean out Aleppo, standing by and watching is not going to be option, however the Conservatives and Labour have shown in the past they like a good war, is that what is coming? Can we afford another major conflict?

People need to take a step back and talk, all sides need to get a grip, the children of Aleppo certainly deserve better. I do know one thing though, in my opinion messing with Russia is something that we cannot afford to do. That doesn’t mean we don’t defend ourselves, that doesn’t mean we sit back and allow Russia or anyone else to do pretty much what they like in the world, but it does mean we have to be careful about what we say and what we do.

The UK cannot afford any war let alone a conflict with Russia, this is the time when the EU and the UN have to be allowed to take the lead in this horrible conflict. Britain will make this situation worse if our recent history is anything to go by, who will stand with the UK if it balls the whole thing up, the USA, NATO! Can we trust them to support us if we make an even bigger mistake because of idiots like Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party. Ruth Davidson sitting on a tank won’t scare Putin, it might keep Willie Rennie and the yoons happy, but it won’t stop us stepping off into the abyss if we are not careful.

344223-scottish-conservatives-leader-ruth-davidson-on-a-tank-close-ge15-uploaded-april-29-2015-quality-news

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17 comments

    • grumpyscottishman

      Alan

      Good point, I was actually thinking that the Falklands War saved Thatcher and she was stupid enough to fight it and lucky enough to win it against the odds and everyone being against, including America. But Russia is not Argentina and Putin might just be mad enough to give it a go given the problems Russia is having, esp with the Oil Price and refusal of Opec to raise the prices and slow production. Scary times.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

      • Alan

        The Falklands War is still a solid example. Even better in some ways. Thatcher wasn’t the one looking for a short victorious war; the Argentinian military junta was. And there was no longer a military junta two years after that war.

        • grumpyscottishman

          Alan

          I think Thatcher got lucky to be honest, the whole thing was sad, and the loss of life appalling as every war is. I think we are entering didgy ground again with the on-going issues with Russia.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

    • grumpyscottishman

      Helena

      I think this government are stupid enough to do something, and no doubt America would join in but what would China do. I think we really are in scary times right now, as bad as the Cold War ever was.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  1. Gary F

    Sadly it does appear that the western military-industrial complex wishes to push the Russians as the global bogeyman again. God you would think a US election was occurring and the neo-con candidate was struggling!!

    The current situation in Syria is massively complicated. Where would you start trying to sort out what has and is going wrong across there.

    It is useful not to buy into the wholesale regime ‘bad’ rebels ‘good’ reporting of this conflict. The Assad regime is not trying to clean out Aleppo. The vast majority of the civilian population is currently under regime control and comes under attack from the rebels. Within Eastern Aleppo the regime along with the Russian’s are fighting the rebels who align themselves with the same groups that were responsible for 9/11, 7/7 and the Madrid bombings. We went to war in Afghanistan to rid that country of these people but now we see fit to finance and arm them in Syria – you couldn’t make this fucking shit up!! Civilians are caught up in this and it is terrible but lets get some balanced reporting in here.

    So why does the UK media not promote the same kind of uproar when Palestinian civilians are killed in huge numbers when Israel fights Hamas. Why not the outcry against the House of Saud when civilian atrocities by the bucket load happen in Yemen as they fight against the Houthi insurgency/Yemen Civil War. How many civilians were killed by UK/US strikes in Iraq as we targeted insurgents in civilian areas?? Seems to be rank hypocrisy at work here!!

    The simple fact of the matter is that at some point a political settlement needs to be put in place in Syria and this will require the involvement of the Assad regime. The Russians know this and accept that longer term Assad will need to vacate power. As in Iraq, the existential threat of Wahibbism (imported from our great friends and human rights promoters Saudi Arabia) needs to be rooted out and this can only be done militarily by the Syrian regime with help from external partners.

    I disagree strongly with you that the Russian economy is going down the toilet. Yes, Russia has a hard time economically since the international sanctions (after Ukraine/Crimea) stopped the ability of Russian companies to refinance their debt utilising the Western capital markets and the price crash in commodities. However, the Russian central bank has been using it’s foreign currency reserves to retire this debt and it has also been aggressively buying gold. In my humble opinion, the reason that we are seeing the level of hostility towards Russia is that US knows fine well that Russia wants to introduce the rouble as a ‘local’ reserve currency used in trade deals with it’s local partners. This would reduce the need for Russia and others to recognise the US dollar as a reserve currency. Russia currently has a national debt running at about 18% of GDP and runs a multi billion dollar trade surplus (much healthier than the UK situation).

    Keep in mind that the BRICS countries will be able to veto decisions made by the IMF from 2017 onwards ending the exclusive control of the US.

    In my opinion Syria is a convenient excuse for the hardline rhetoric on Russia.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Gary

      Thank you for such a detailed and knowlegable answer, you are certainly more on the ball than myself. I have not had the chance to really get the history behind it all and just going on gut instinct in many ways and my feelings on what has gone on in the past. From what I can gather Russia, mainly from sites like Repubic and independent media, appear to be on a war footing. They have been moving forces and weapons towards the Polish border, enough that Poland is now raising this as a concern and putting their own forces on alert. I believe NATO forces in Germany are also getting more active and the German Government now starting to deport people very quickly while also upping their own miltary readiness. I appreciate this has all happened before but it is scary. Buying gold is something that countries have done in the past when war is on the horizon as many believe it does not depreciate as much, you might be able to advise me more on that one.

      Syria is a mess and I don’ t really believe anything I read or hear about it. Assad has to go as the fighting won’t stop until he does. I don’t really understand the tribal factions to be honest and don’t get it at all and no doubt Western Foreign Policy just makes it all worse. I just don’t trust the Tories at all and America appear to be always spoiling for a fight. Gary, this one feels different somehow, I’m not sure why it does, maybe just my gut but it feels different. Pravda reported in July that Russia was on a war footing, the buying of gold by Russia and China is being seen by some that both are building up their defences in preparation for a big economic shock, a major conflict would certainly bring that and with lower debt and higher reserves both countries would be in a stronger position to withstand further shocks. I’m no expert though but it just all doesn’t feel right.

      Thanks for commenting and adding to my understanding.

      Bruce

      • Gary F

        Bruce

        Geopolitics fascinates me as does macroeconomics. So complicated and nuanced but reported within the media like an ‘idiots guide’. Of course Russia is war ready it always has been. Considering that the US/NATO pretty much militarily surrounds it means it would be daft not to be from a national security standpoint. The whole movement of missiles and troops around the EU-Russia border is pretty much tit-for-tat muscle flexing but I don’t believe that Putin or the Russian people want to start a hot war with the West. To be brutally blunt I’m not so convinced that this is the case from the other perspective.

        Like it or not, Russia does have the right to protect it’s national interests abroad. As previously stated it is rank hypocrisy by the West to criticise Russia doing effectively the same as what we do because it doesn’t meet our or Americas foreign policy objectives.

        Within Syria, Russia is protecting it’s national interest by ensuring the regime does not fall causing a power vacuum and a far worse situation than exists at the moment. It should also be noted that the Assad regime is the legitimate government within Syria and the Russian’s have been asked by the legitimate government to help restore control to the country. Frankly I find it laughable that Western powers should criticise what the Russians are doing considering there own roll call of shame – Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. The solution in Syria is not to perform yet another ill thought through regime change to be followed by yet another terrorist infected power vacuum failed state. The terrorist caliphate and other insurgent groups require to be removed from Syria and this can only be done by political settlement between the regime and moderate forces within Syria and then a purge of the insurgents. It may be unpalatable but Assad will require to stay short term and then move out the way when the landscape has settled.

        From a macroeconomic perspective, in my opinion the financial crisis started in 07/08 has never been resolved and all that happened was the can being kicked down the road a little. All the talk of growing advanced economies is a joke. All advanced economy GDP growth is effectively debt created hence the reason we continue to see increasing debt to GDP ratios across advanced economies. I await the next leg of the financial crisis as we move into the sovereign debt crisis, failure of major currencies and the release of effectively a one world currency through issuance of SDR’s. Russia hoarding more and more gold means it can utilise it’s own asset backed currency without being beholden to the IMF or the central bank created to control monetary policy. This is the main reason in my opinion all the anti-Russia rhetoric is on display to try and cause more headwinds for the Russian economy through new tougher sanctions.

        Anyway finished my rant because I could rattle on for ages.

        Gary

        • grumpyscottishman

          Gary

          Your knowledge is certainly very impressive, if you are not blogging you should be and I would definately be a daily reader.

          I can appreciate how threatened Russia must feel with NATO pretty much all around them but maybe I’m a scardie cat as it feels different, but I really really hope I’m wrong. I totally agree the financial crisis has never been sorted, it looks like the cracks have been covered up by basically printing money and using it to buy debt, that doesn’t make sense to me to be honest. Surely the Icelandic model was the way to go, protect the ordinary savers and let the market find it’s level, and jail the bankers but again just my ignorant opinion in many ways.

          I also agree that the hypocracy of the West is unreal, you are right on that one and this country is way up there in those stakes. It will be interesting to see how it all comes to pass but no doubt we won’t get the true facts or close to it from our media.

          Thanks for getting back to me.

          Bruce

          • Gary F

            Bruce

            Thanks for the compliments. Not a blogger!!

            I think you are correct to be scared with the current standoff between the West and Russia. Not because I believe Russia are particularly gunning for WW3 but because rhetoric and posturing can easily turn into military accidents and conflict.

            We are currently in the second day of a massive offensive to retake the city of Mosul in Iraq where 1 million civilians live under ISIL. This operation conducted by the forces of the legitimate government in Iraq with support from Western forces ‘invited’ by the legitimate government will result in massive civilian casualties as control is taken away from the insurgents and placed back under the Iraq regime. On many levels there is no major difference between this and what is happening in Eastern Aleppo right now as the Syrian regime fights against Al Nusra and others. I can guarantee you it will not be reported as such. In Iraq we will have righteous ‘collateral damage’ and in Syria we will have war crimes.

            Gary

            • Gary F

              Just reread that last comment. Comes across a bit off.

              I am aware that in all probability war crimes have been committed via the use of barrel bombs and double tap strikes. I cannot prove or disprove such claims.

              The point I was trying to make is that the physical makeup of the conflict is very similar i.e. government + outside help v terrorist insurgent group. Atrocities will happen in both cases, dodgy tactics and armaments will be used in both cases but it will be reported in our mainstream media completely differently.

              Gary

              • Anonymous

                Gary

                It’s all a bit nuts to me to be honest, people who were our enemies a year ago we now arm, ones we used to arm we now fight. None of it makes any sense at all to me, sadly atrocities will happen and the losers are the people who are trapped in these hell holes. I don’t even get what they are fighting for anymore, whatever happens in Syria the country is ruined and who is going to want to pay to re-build it, not the UK.

                Thanks for commenting.

                Bruce

  2. Brian

    If I was Russian, I’d be worried about US aggression, which has probably been at fault for most of the problems in the Middle East right now.

  3. lanark

    Russia peacefully gave up many former Soviet Republics when Communism fell and the West’s response? – Move the borders of NATO and the EU as close to Moscow as possible. Russia could have been an ally, particularly in combating Islamic terrorism. But everyone needs a bogey man and it can’t be China – who would make all our electronic goodies?

    And what would make us feel British and “all in the same boat” again? Why a jolly nice war of course!

    • Bruce Hosie

      Lanark

      Yeah starting to see that a bit clearer now and Brian s knowledge has made it even clearer. Not that I ever believe anything our media says just not up on international affairs at all really but I would not be messing with Russia I know that much.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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