Is Ukraine stuck? Wars can be very unpredictable, especially in the early weeks, but there are many signs that Ukraine is in political and military trouble.
It is not that his forces are likely to be defeated or that the Russians are about to invade Kiev. Far from it. They are also in chaos.
It’s because the large-scale recapture of the land lost to Russia in 2022 looks increasingly unlikely as the days grow shorter. Anyone who invested heavily in a summer offensive against Russia has so far been disappointed. And then what?
The US is (wisely) still strongly opposed to direct involvement in the war. So what can end the stalemate? Must this just continue, filling cemeteries and causing serious economic damage to Ukraine and Europe? With what aim?
I am not a military expert. I haven’t fired a real gun in about 40 years and wasn’t particularly good at shooting back then. (Sometimes, on quiet nights in Parliament, I’ve spent the late shift using the shooting range, which, as far as I know, is still somewhere beneath the House of Lords.)
Wars can be very unpredictable – especially in the first few weeks – but there are many signs that Ukraine (one of its soldiers pictured above) is in political and military trouble
But I can smell the wind as well as anyone, and when the powerful US magazine Foreign Affairs publishes a major article entitled “Will the West abandon Ukraine?” (The answer, in my opinion, is “quite possible”). I think something is going on.
I could never understand Britain’s interest in maintaining a costly and risky war in southeastern Europe between two corrupt and poorly governed parts of the old Soviet empire. Many US Republicans, not just the horrible Trump, also have doubts about its usefulness.
There are also current reports of growing tensions between Ukraine and the Polish government. I’m surprised that this has never happened before, considering that violent clashes between the two neighboring peoples occurred relatively recently (80 years ago), in an area where the events of 500 years ago occurred could still cause bitter hostilities for years to come.
And there is the current scandal surrounding alleged corruption in Ukrainian military recruiting offices. This is not a shock to anyone as one can hardly breathe in Ukraine without encountering corruption. But the point is that it suggests that a fairly large number of people are paying to avoid fights.
At the same time, many military-age men, currently barred by law from leaving Ukraine, are being caught trying to cross the Romanian border. This suggests that some are managing to get through and that this represents a major difficulty for a country that has suffered terrible military losses.
Honestly, if this war hadn’t been so widely portrayed in crude picture-book terms as a super-simple battle between total good and total evil, which it isn’t, we might have reached this stage sooner. But better late than never.
If we truly care about the people of Ukraine, we would be much better off promoting a lasting peace than fomenting and paying to prolong a war in which real Ukrainians die and suffer and didn’t get much for it.
Red-green fanatic Sir Keir Starmer was photographed last week (alongside Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper) at an airport near The Hague, where they visited Europol police headquarters so he could make a very strange speech.
Others may be worried about the speech or Sir Keir’s strange clothing. But I’m intrigued to learn why the big green European flew to the Dutch city despite claiming he’s so keen on reducing emissions.
Red-green fanatic Sir Keir Starmer was photographed last week (alongside Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper) at an airport near The Hague, where they visited Europol police headquarters so he could make a very strange speech
I like The Hague, its excellent art gallery, its efficient trams and its beautiful sandy beaches, and I could have told him that it is very easy to reach by train. The Eurostar rushes from London directly to nearby Rotterdam.
From there, clean electric trains run every few minutes to The Hague itself, while the city’s airport is 15 miles away. The train station is in the middle of the city. And Europol is 20 minutes from the station by tram line 17.
I sometimes wonder if these green zealots really mean what they say.
Sins the BBC will never deal with
What is the BBC doing making a drama about Ireland’s biggest scandal, the horrific Magdalene Laundries, where unwed mothers are imprisoned and exploited and worse by the Catholic Church?
If I were Irish, I would wonder whether Britain itself would have to investigate such scandals. An Irish reviewer of The Woman In The Wall, Ed Power of the Irish Times, said (accurately) that the series was a “baroque and hysterically over-the-top attempt to confront wickedness”.
But it’s not just that the drama is deeply strange, full of pointless swearing and smoking, and virtually impossible to follow.
It is deeply hypocritical to use such resources to dwell on past scandals that were exposed long ago and make us look good.
I would like to see a drama about today’s mass slaughter of abortions and child neglect as a result of the mass divorces that our liberated culture has created instead.
An Irish reviewer of The Woman In The Wall, Ed Power of The Irish Times, said (accurately) that the series was a “baroque and hysterically over-the-top attempt to confront wickedness” (pictured: Ruth Wilson in “The Woman In The Wall”).
The misery in Libya is indeed terrible. But so is the crazy and destructive war that David Cameron launched against this country in 2011, who had no idea what he was doing.
He deserves to be despised for his folly, just as the Blair creature should be despised for his similarly disastrous intervention in Iraq.
Overthrowing tyrants may be a good box office hit, but replacing them with anarchy has made people’s lives far worse.
Aside from all the other bad results they have brought about, these two fools helped launch the colossal migration to Europe that will change the history of our continent, and not necessarily for the better.
50 years later… but some things don’t change
Last week marked 50 years since I started doodling for a living.
In September 1973 I announced my first golden wedding anniversary, began my first shorthand course with the demanding Mrs. Whittaker, wrote up the results of my first flower show and reported on my first district court trial – all under the strict eyes of more experienced people, for I was a real apprentice.
It was the same country but completely different, the people more individual and diverse, the smells stronger (apart from marijuana, which was still pretty illegal) and the pubs were closed most of the time.
There were tons of craft activities. The police were visible, apolitical and anti-crime.
My newspaper was made by a magical Victorian process of molten metal and big thundering rotary presses in a cave beneath the newsroom where we all looked into when we weren’t busy when they started publishing the first edition every lunchtime.
Inflation was now at 9 percent and Americans were overthrowing governments they didn’t like in violent coups, which sounds familiar.
And in ordinary express trains, dining cars were open on Sundays. What seems like a dream.