Friday, 22 November 2019

For "West" read "wet"

I am not as addicted to watching minute-by-minute coverage of US Congress proceedings as our media hierarchy appear to be. However, I happened to catch a familiar accent as I was channel-hopping yesterday, and was rewarded by the cogent evidence of ex-pat Dr Fiona Hill to the House of Representatives impeachment hearing. (Transcript of the whole fifth day is at

The immediate effect of her evidence was to suggest that President Trump put personal concerns about his election before the protection of Ukraine from Russia. However, what she said had wider implications, casting doubt on the resolve of successive presidents of the US to come to make good pledges of military support for her allies. (The cynic might add that their is little oil in Eastern Europe.)  Dr Hill said:

" we’ve had this experience before and I just want you to indulge me for a moment. In 2008, Russia also attacked the country of Georgia. I was the National Intelligence Officer at that particular juncture and we had warned, in multiple documents, to the highest levels of government that we believed that there was a real risk of a conflict between Georgia and Russia. And in fact, we also believed, at that point, that Russia might attack Ukraine. This was in 2008 when both Georgia and Ukraine sought a membership action plan in NATO, and Russia threatened them openly that if they proceeded with their requests for NATO membership, that there would be consequences.

"In the wake of the attack on Georgia, President Putin made it clear to the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, at the time, and this was related to me at the highest levels of the Georgian government that Putin had said directly to Saakashvili, 'Your Western allies, your Western partners, promised a great deal. They didn’t deliver. I threatened, I delivered.'

"We had made all kinds of promises to Georgia and Ukraine in that time-frame and we didn’t come through. So Putin is always looking out to see if there is any hint that we will not follow through on promises that we have made because he will always follow through on a threat. As indeed, he ultimately did. He threatened Ukraine in 2008, and it wasn’t until 2014, when Ukraine tried to conclude an association agreement with the European Union, that he struck, but he had been threatening this for the whole period since 2008."

I might add that overwhelming superiority in nuclear weapons did not enable the West to save the Donbas and Crimea, stop the shooting down of flight MH17 or prevent Georgia becoming a virtual client state of Russia.

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