One of many many paradoxical outcomes of Brexit is the improved position that the UK can play within the present disaster between Russia and Ukraine. The UK has proven itself to be a powerful associate of Kyiv in offering defensive weapons and in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Previous to the second Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK’s dedication was initially a lot stronger than its companions on the continent at each the EU degree and amongst capitals from Berlin to Paris and Stockholm who’ve now made main overseas coverage reversals. In extricating itself from the EU, the UK is ready to view Ukraine solely by the prism of defence and safety on bilateral phrases, divorced from any grand ambitions of a continent-wide overseas and defence coverage married with financial integration. The UK’s pursuits are its personal, and it doesn’t danger falling sufferer to the elusive quest for a typical European voice that may usually stymie the EU’s potential to answer crises.
In distinction to Kyiv’s different European companions, London’s energy has by no means been due to or drawn from Europe, with European political or financial integration by no means a major purpose. Nonetheless, London has by no means did not combat for Europe and for the values of the transatlantic alliance, one thing the present authorities in Kyiv holds pricey and has dedicated itself to in its structure. Equally to Kyiv, the UK acts as a bridgehead or borderland to Europe, and it lengthy acted because the bridge to the USA throughout the EU, owing to its shared language and historical past. Likewise, Ukraine has lengthy acted as a bridge to Russia regardless of its management and residents confidently realizing what they don’t need to retain or undertake from their extra highly effective neighbour. Consequently, within the current disaster, each nations might now be inextricably linked to Europe’s core by advantage of their roles on its periphery.
Whereas London is not an engaged stakeholder to Europe’s future political growth, it’s a stakeholder and keen participant within the combat to help the ambitions and territorial integrity of sovereign states. The precise to self-determination, beforehand the loss of life knell of imperial powers, has develop into a precept championed by London because it seeks to grasp its post-Brexit position. What’s most important is that detrimental liberty was all the time the dominating drive which drove the UK’s relationship with the EU and the divisive, however profitable marketing campaign of the Brexiteers. For London to embrace the constructive liberty of Ukrainians, after its personal messy divorce from the EU, is an additional testomony to its longstanding establishments and traditions which can be capable of thrive and coexist unbiased of any relation to Europe.
Moreover, not like the EU, the UK is just not combating for energy or for its place on this planet as half of a bigger geopolitical and values-driven competitors with states like China. It’s content material with the facility that it has, and whereas it might be vulnerable to overextension or self-aggrandizement, it’s rooted on this planet because it exists and never as it may be. London is not going to acquire energy from this disaster, however it will possibly acquire the respect and admiration that comes with performing as a accountable actor with an ironclad dedication to Europe.
A lot nonetheless stays to be examined as to the feasibility of most of the UK’s ‘International Britain’ prognostications, particularly these outdoors of its fast neighbourhood similar to within the Indo-Pacific. The UK faces many challenges to its personal union, together with within the near-term with the Northern Eire Meeting elections in Could and a probable second Scottish independence referendum in 2023. Nonetheless, within the present disaster, London is punching at or above its weight and incomes the reward that was not anticipated of it because it sought to extricate itself from Europe and the EU’s perennial battles.
Few would have imagined firstly of 2022 that Britain, together with the EU, and US, would personally sanction Putin, take away key Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, prohibit Aeroflot from UK airspace, and decide to a transatlantic job drive to establish and seize the belongings of sanctioned Russian corporations and oligarchs. This may embrace the numerous oligarchs with property in London and Surrey, and Russian corporations traded on the London Inventory Alternate, together with VTB and Sberbank. From BP exiting from its stake in Rosneft to Roman Abramovich deciding to promote Chelsea FC, the UK’s lengthy and controversial relationship with Russia and the ill-gotten beneficial properties of its oligarchs is now starting to wither.
Because the UK takes these steps, the character of Putin has not modified, and his reign of terror is properly documented. Putin’s character was clear when former spy Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned in London in 2006, leaving a path of radioactive polonium throughout the town and on British Airways flights. His character was clear when Boris Nemtsov was murdered, Alexei Navalny was poisoned, and Yulia and Sergei Skripal have been poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, a chemical assault that would have killed a whole bunch of British residents. For ardent Russia watchers it was even clear earlier than Putin formally assumed energy and the condominium bombings killed 300 folks round Moscow in 1999, doubtless a false-flag assault perpetrated by the FSB however blamed on Chechen terrorists. Putin’s founding act to revive Russia’s place on this planet was a false-flag assault that killed a whole bunch of Russian residents all to assist elevate the facility of 1 man. In some ways, Putin’s entire tenure within the Kremlin has been a false-flag assault, guided by grievance and deception with a view to lure the West, significantly the UK, right into a place of supplication.
In supporting Ukraine and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the UK can also be capable of rehabilitate its personal picture as a nation that cares extra about anti-corruption and the rule of legislation quite than welcoming doubtful Russian cash and asking few questions as to the place it got here from. Within the course of, each Ukraine and the UK can acquire tremendously from each other. The stakes are extremely excessive for Ukraine because it faces indiscriminate shelling of main cities, a big refugee disaster, and financial dismemberment that may require heavy Western help with a view to proceed down the trail of EU accession. Nonetheless, with fewer oligarch-owned properties in London and belongings linked to Russian state-owned, sanctioned corporations, the UK would possibly lastly be capable of help a nation on the different finish of Europe in its bid to imagine its rightful place within the frequent European residence.
Disclaimer: I’m writing in my private capability and never by any skilled affiliation.
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