Article by Andrew Allison - Chief Executive
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now into its eleventh day and the war is getting more dangerous and bloody. The reckless actions of Russian forces who shelled a nuclear power station have rightly been condemned across the world. I have a feeling that the aim was just to prevent the power station from operating (it is the largest nuclear power station in Europe and generates around 20 per cent of the electricity used in Ukraine), but the horror of Chernobyl can't have been forgotten in the minds of those who approved this attack. It was utterly reckless.
Then we have Putin, currently residing in the land of the deranged, trying to convince the world that Ukrainians and Russians are "one people" and that the Ukrainians are "threatened and brainwashed". No, Vladolf, those who believe your lies are brainwashed. The Ukrainian people are indeed being threatened, but not by their own Government. They are being threatened by you as Commander-in-Chief of Russian military forces.
Putin is also threatening the UK. Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, has warned Putin that he would be seriously mistaken if he “underestimated” Britain’s resolve to face down his aggression.
It is hard to think of any good coming out of this appalling situation, however, Germany finally realising that it needs to up its game, and other NATO forces committing to dramatically increase defence spending is certainly welcome.
One of our Ten Principles of a Free Society' is strong national defences. We have played our part by spending the NATO minimum on defence, but even that is much lower than it should be. Spain spends a miserly 1.02 per cent of GDP on defence - roughly half of the NATO minimum. Is it time to expel Spain the organisation? Would it set an example to others? It strikes me that Spain wants all the benefits from NATO membership without paying for it. But Spain is not alone in not pulling its weight.
Out of 30 NATO countries only the UK, USA, France, Poland, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia meet their commitments. Many of those countries are not wealthy, but are directly threatened by Putin's Russia, so it is understandable why defence and NATO membership is important to them.
In his column for the next edition of The Free Nation, Tony Brown, a Cambridge history graduate, has written the following:
"I believe that Putin genuinely believes that Ukraine is not a proper state, that the territory is really Russian (and always has been) and that it needs and requires 'de-Nazifying'!
"Manifestly this is arrant nonsense. "Ukraine is a properly constituted sovereign state under international law without any caveats. Russia itself accepted this when it guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed on the 5th December 1994. In return Ukraine voluntarily gave up the nuclear arsenal left on its soil from the USSR. How Ukrainians must now regret their naivete!"
Those who say that nuclear missiles are not a deterrent are wrong. If Ukraine had still been a nuclear power, Putin would not be attacking the country now. It's all well and good for those in the West who advocate buffer zones: they don't have to live next to a hostile neighbour.
For this situation to be resolved, Putin must be removed. I am really not bothered if he is removed dead or alive, but go he must. He is the biggest threat to peace and security in the world at the moment, as his incoherent ramblings prove every day. His successor will have to accept that the price Russia has to pay for being accepted back into the civilised world is a stronger NATO which will not tolerate such naked aggression again.
The Freedom Association · 83 Victoria St, London SW1H 0HW, United Kingdom
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