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Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 months ago

“He wanted Ukrainians to identify with Moscow, he made them despise it. He wanted to put an end to Ukrainian national feeling, he galvanised it…”

He wanted a land bridge to the Crimea, he’s got one. Let’s not lose track of that (or the situation in the Donbas) amidst all this rhetoric about paper tigers and a nation born in fire. The lack of total victory is not the same as defeat.

zee upītis
zee upītis
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

It’s not like Putin simply got SOME of what he wanted. He also LOST and so far has been losing big.. Let’s not forget about Finland and Sweden joining NATO etc. If this was always just a cheap ‘n cynic land grab, then sure.. Oh wait, except not so cheap either. On the other hand, of course, he made others lose too, so it may still all play into his hands. Of course, it’s far from over.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 month ago
Reply to  zee upītis

But that’s exactly it – he’s got some of what he wanted. For any outcome short of the total destruction of the Russian state and him swinging from a lamppost, you can only talk about winning or losing relative to the next-best alternative; without the invasion he’d have got none of what he wanted. I’m sure the cost has been higher than they’d hoped, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still ‘worth it’ from the Russian point of view. It is indeed far from over.

Also didn’t Turkey outright veto Fin/Swe joining NATO because of their support for Kurdish groups that it considers terrorist? News has been pretty quiet on that front for a while, not sure if there’s been any movement since.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Land bridge to Crimea, Donbass, Odessa.
He got the first one, sounds like they are chewing up the best units of the Ukranian army en route to objective 2.

And yes, Ukraine do get to keep Kiev, keep those corrupt politicians and get to despise the evil Russians. Just like North Korea or Pakistan, it’s only reason for existing will be to hate their own brothers, while ending up as a puppet for foreign powers and a failed, basket case of a nation.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

He’s used up a huge percentage of his military forces to get what he’s got, so he’s lost big time against Europe/NATO; he’s undermined his allegiance with China, so lost big time with the USA.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I don’t think you actually believe this absurd analysis, utterly contemptuous as it is of any notion of people deciding their own destiny. I think you might find just for starters that Russia is more corrupt than Ukraine, but unless you consider (I expect you do not) that the United States is entitled to overthrow governments based on some corruption index, it is utterly irrelevant anyway.

I’m not sure exactly what WOULD constitute ‘evil’ in your world, clearly not mounting a full scale invasion of a nation you signed a binding treaty with only 30 years ago, levelling entire cities, carrying out atrocities against civilians etc etc. This by the way started in 2001 and has been part of Putin’s playbook ever since.

The ‘Russians’ aren’t evil, and their history doesn’t bode well for the prospect of a government that spends a bit more time building its own economy, and not sacrificing it’s sons in endless wars of aggrandisement for its rulers’ vanity. Even by its standards, Putin’s awful (not to mention kleptocratic) and ever worsening government represents a tragic low point.

Peter ‘the Great’ by the way, gets quite a good press in the West but was one of the most bloody and ruthless tyrants of all time – tens off thousands of slaves dying to build his new capital, flaying his own son to death and much, much worse. If he is Putin’s hero, God help the Russians and their neighbours.

William Adams
William Adams
2 months ago

Such a pleasure to read David’s intelligent, incisive and very informative reporting. More, please.

John Hicks
John Hicks
2 months ago
Reply to  William Adams

Surprising that your pleasure in another thoughtful, people connected, article from this particularly courageous journalist is shared by so few other commentators. Once upon a time a War of Independence against a similarly oppressive foe, (also righteously confident of their own territorial ownership), resulted in the unqualified support of all Free People – together with a gift of “Liberty” by the French. Today the French President and German Chancellor visit Ukraine to request an end to the War! Quite what happened to the “Independence” bit? has been reduced to hushed tones along the corridors – no longer for polite conversation. Perhaps the author, Angelina and the people of Ukraine represent the end of Caucasian heroism exhibiting passions for Freedom that was once an ideal for and of life in the “West?”

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 months ago

If the author’s intention was to convey the passions and hatreds of the western Ukrainians then he succeeded. What he failed to convey was the hard fact that their polity is not very bright/intelligent.

The one defining reality in the world is that power prevails. If a country/region is less powerful and its polity is bright enough to realise that fact it is often amazing how much freedom the prevailing hegemon will allow. However, if a country mistimes it’s challenge to the local hegemon a heavy price will always be paid.

Talk about sovereignty, rights, morality is just so much waffle. POWER PREVAILS ALWAYS. The bright understand that brute fact and by accommodating themselves to that reality can often live in relative peace and prosperity.

By acting as a local proxy for another faraway hegemon – the mortal enemy of Russia – Ukraine will pay the full price for it’s pride and naivety.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

POWER isn’t exactly having a straightforward time PREVAILING in this instance though, is it? When the Ukrainians PREVAILED at Kyiv, where did the POWER lie? It’s almost as if POWER is determined by events as much as vice versa. Who had the POWER when Persia marched on Athens, when France cornered Henry V at Agincourt, when Suleyman the Magnificent besieged Güns? By your definition, we’re bound to say Athens, Henry and Nikola Jurišić. I very much doubt you’d have given those answers beforehand.

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I was thinking the same and recalling when China decided to “teach Vietnam a lesson” .. the Red Army, so powerful, didn’t come off too well. Also thinking of President Marcos (the first) – when the demonstrations against him started he had the power of the army on his side, but when a big demonstration was fronted by a line of nuns, and the army wouldn’t fire on them, it was game over – the power had shifted to the nuns.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago

Vietnam (and the US), Iraq, Afghanistan all fit the same pattern.
What might make the difference this time is the appetite or otherwise of Russia to wage total war

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

What utter nonense. Really.
Ukraine is defending itself from an unprovoked and unjustified invasion. As an independent country, it is entitled to choose its own friends and allies.
If “power prevails always” as other comments have said, how did America lose in Vietnam ? If it does, then Russia’s certainl;y going to get a kicking from the US … but your theory is clearly too simplistic.

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Blah, blah, blah. Waffle, waffle, waffle

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Branagan
Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

“What has for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but an inward music: the irresistible power of unarmed truth.” Boris Pasternak, Russian writer, Doctor Zhivago (1957)

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
2 months ago

David’s brilliant war reporting reminds me of Martha Gelhorn: terrific reporting, terrific writing.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 months ago

Why should such a corrupt country be fast tracked to join the EU ?

M. Gatt
M. Gatt
2 months ago

Ukraine. The poorest and most corrupt country in Europe that has the 2nd largest army. This country was built for one reason – war against America’s enemy Russia. This writer is such a deluded fool it is hard to grasp the depth of his blindness.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
2 months ago

This is yet another piece of laughable propaganda. But hey, Patrikarakos is after all winning the information war.

M. M.
M. M.
2 months ago

David Patrikarakos wrote, “It wasn’t much, but in a country legendary for its almost surreal levels of political corruption it was indicative of the new Ukraine that, though not yet born, many here were trying to midwife into existence.”

Most reports about Ukraine in the Western media omit mentioning the corruption and incompetence of the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians themselves omit mentioning that their corruption and incompetence resulted in Ukraine’s lacking the resources to build an adequate military force, thus leading to Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s begging for weapons from the West.

How horrible is the corruption and incompetence? The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of Ukraine in 2019 was actually less than the GDP per capita (at purchasing-power parity) in 1991. (See the reference.)

Ukraine is the Hispanic nation of Europe. Like the Hispanics (in Latin America), the Ukrainians refuse to admit responsibility for wrecking their own nation.

The current crisis in Ukraine is an opportunity for the German government to show leadership. Berlin should demand and obtain assurances (from Volodymyr Zelenskyy) that the Ukrainians will modernize their nation. IF Zelenskyy refuses to provide these assurances, then Berlin should cease providing military or economic assistance to Ukraine.

Get info about another area in which Berlin can show leadership.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew M.
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

Zelinsky was voted in on a platform of modernising and removing corruption from Ukraine. His government was working on this until Putin’s invasion caused their attention to be focussed elsewhere.

Olga Timofeeva
Olga Timofeeva
2 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Zelensky is an actor full with his own success, unable to grasp reality

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

He was the creation/prodigy of an oligarch who used his wealth, influence and power to put him in office driven by concerns that his own corrupt business activities were under threat from the authorities.
Sound like text book corruption to me.

zee upītis
zee upītis
2 months ago

No, he absolutely wasn’t and if you were ever following the elections, knew how Zelenskyy himself built his film business, or Kolomoisky’s history of meddling with the politicians, you’d knew that. Then again, even if it was then there’s no oligarch that can control Zelenskyy now. BTW, Kolomoisky has been in hiding since the war started and have made no statements. You may also be surprised to learn that Ukraine has one of the lowest Gini coefficient in the world but then again if you compare e.g. Ukrainian and Russian lists of billionaires then it quickly becomes clear why is that — and which country’s citizens have been robbed more.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Roger that Judy…….still…..let’s fast track the Albanians…..that way their already rooted mafia in Europe could have a field day.
Cheap sentimentality has no place here.
I have no qualm admitting I do not like this Zelynski bloke. I do not easily cash in when he goes on insulting parliaments in countries that do their darn best to help him and at the same time see to it that Putin doesn’t turn the planet in a radio active ruin.
As far as I am concerned he can shove his membership application where the sun doesn’t shine.
Being at war with Russia is not enough. Why didn’t we take Tchechenia into Europe before they were levelled by Putin ?
Muslims ? also are the Turks Tony Blair wanted to see join.
Here is what the Austrian Kanzler has to say about this
Kanzler Karl Nehammer hingegen sagte WELT: „Was einen möglichen EU-Kandidatenstatus anbelangt, so möchte ich festhalten, dass es klare und etablierte Kriterien gibt, die ohne Wenn und Aber einzuhalten sind. Es darf keine Doppelstandards oder gar Beitrittswerber erster und zweiter Klasse geben.“

Last edited 1 month ago by Bruno Lucy
Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

He was told immediately by his real bosses that he’d end up hanging from a lamppost in Kiev if he didn’t do what he was told. That may still be his fate unless Britain can organise his rescue, since nobody else will try.

David Nebeský
David Nebeský
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

No German leadership in this case. please. Everybody knew that the only purpose of Nord Stream is harming Ukraine and Poland and enabling future Russian attack on Ukraine. And what Germans did? They even helped NSII. Germany not only refused to sell arms to Ukraine before the war, but blocked (and continue to block) the supply of originally German arms from third countries. Of the few 40-50 year old weapons Germany gave Ukraine after the invasion, most were unusable. Later it supplied absolutely nothing and lies about the alleged agreement of NATO countries not to supply tanks to Ukraine. Now they are promising 7 howitzers and, by the end of the year, 1 or 2 anti-aircraft complexes – weapons to defend one small district town. Germany has no moral right to demand anything from Ukraine. Ukraine would be much better off if Germany did not exist.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 months ago
Reply to  David Nebeský

Germany comes behind Poland and the UK in absolute terms of material support for Ukraine but ahead of Italy and France. Not great but not what you’d imagine from the headlines.

N T
N T
2 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

I’m still waiting for Germany to make any move that can be regarded as positive vis-a-vis NATO or this war.
Pledges and action are not the same, are they?

Tommy Abdy Collins
Tommy Abdy Collins
2 months ago

‘If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’.
However I am delighted to see that UnHerd has cancelled Arnaud Almaric, whose recent controversial remarks were well ‘beyond the pale’.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 months ago

Ray Bradbury’s got a nice little firefighter suit for you, Mr. Delighted Cancellation Guy.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 month ago

Arnaud Almaric was pompous and arrogant, however I am surprised he has been cancelled, what did he say?