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Nigel Farage’s Ukraine comments aren’t ‘disgraceful’

Nigel Farage speaks to Nick Robinson on Friday night. Credit: Getty

June 23, 2024 - 8:00am

Ever since Nigel Farage announced that he would stand for election as leader of Reform UK, the political class has been looking for an opportunity to thwart him. Those on the liberal-Left deplore his views on immigration and still hold a grudge over Brexit. Meanwhile, those on the Tory Right desperately need to stop voters defecting to his party.

On Friday night, they finally got their opportunity: when asked about Ukraine by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, Farage claimed that “we provoked this war.” The denunciations came thick and fast. Farage is a “Putin apologist” and “fanboy” who promotes “Kremlin talking points”. According to Home Secretary James Cleverly, he “excuses Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine”. For Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, his comments were “disgraceful”.

But all this phoney outrage and McCarthyite name-calling is completely unwarranted. Far from being some extreme view that no reasonable person could possibly hold, Farage’s position is entirely mainstream within the scholarly debate.

It’s worth noting that he was actually quite careful with his language. “Of course it’s [Putin’s] fault,” Farage stated. “He’s used what we’ve done as an excuse.” How is this excusing the war? If Person A mildly insults Person B, and then Person B kills him, it is not excusing Person B’s behaviour to say the reason he killed Person A is that the latter insulted him. Farage was offering an explanation for the war, not a justification.

What’s more, the explanation he offered is one favoured by many respected scholars and diplomats. According to Professor John Mearsheimer, “The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis which began in February 2014.” Likewise, Professor Stephen Walt has argued that “Putin is not solely responsible for the ongoing crisis over Ukraine, and moral outrage over his actions or character is not a strategy.”

Professor Joshua Shifrinson is another scholar who believes that Western policy played a key role in Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Back in 2016, he wrote a prize-winning article based on detailed archival research, which showed that “the United States repeatedly offered the Soviet Union informal assurances against Nato’s future expansion into Eastern Europe.” More recently, he has claimed that “Nato enlargement is essential to understanding how we’ve ended up in this mess.”

US diplomat Jack Matlock Jr concurs. After serving as ambassador to the Soviet Union under Ronald Reagan, he testified in Congress against Nato expansion in 1997. “It may well go down in history as the most profound strategic blunder made since the end of the Cold War,” Matlock said at the time. He then reiterated these sentiments in an article published just days before Russia’s invasion.

Numerous other scholars and diplomats have expressed similar views. This doesn’t mean Farage is necessarily right. After all, there are many well-informed people who take the opposite view. The point is that his position is reasonable and intellectually defensible. It does not make him a “Putin apologist”.

If Farage’s critics want to dissuade voters from casting their ballots for Reform, they ought to focus on matters of substance. Their fulminations over his latest comments only reinforce the impression of a condescending political class that brokers no dissent.


Noah Carl is an independent researcher and writer.

NoahCarl90

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UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Having watched Adam Curtis’ excellent Traumazone series I think the West/USA really messed up Russia in the 1990s with the conviction that a free market economy could magically appear there if they sent a few economic advisors in. It was a disaster, and set the stage for Putin.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What should they have done? Russia was a large nation in which most people had little experience with capitalism, beyond the black market. As things turned out, a very small group of Russians got an extremely good idea of how capitalism works, and are now extremely rich.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

In a nation with no experience of capitalism whatsoever that had just seen its political system collapse, we insisted on an unprecedented (before or since) free market shock therapy that was explicitly intended to raze the whole of the old economy to the ground. Contrast this with how we managed the failure of the German state after the second world war, or how we managed East Germany, Czechoslovakia, etc. by managed transition, grants, soft loans, and subsidies. Our motives were quite clear: we wanted Russia to implode, ideally fragment into more manageable states, to forever remove Russia as a potential geopolitical competitor. The West had won and history was over was the hubristic fever that infected Washington DC.

It didn’t need to be like this. Russia was craving Western investment and Western political association, particularly European integration. Russia was a blank canvas, its existing leadership deposed, and no established power brokers. Indeed, it was this vacuum that gave rise to Putin and the oligarchs. The oligarchs only rose to power because they offered to fund Yeltsin’s government after the West only agreed to extend loans if Yeltsin ended the already meagre welfare system keeping millions of Russians from starving.

The Russia we face today is as much the product of our post-communism failures as Nazi Germany was a product of our failures post world war one.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

No one in the west was formally in charge of Russia. We had no official role inside the Russian polity.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No not formally…but at the time had huge influence..used badly…

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Delusional nonsense, based on not understanding Russian history.
Russia never belonged to the West and never will.
Russians have mentality of serfes, they always had.
They guy above you treats you like slave and the guy above him does the same.
Bringing examples of countries with completely different history and culture shows how naive you are.
The only thing Russia understands is force.
Regan showed us the way how to deal with Russia.
Unfortunately useless, woke Western leaders forgotten that lesson.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I occasionally wonder what Reagan would do were he in the White House now.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Well, we wanted the Soviet Union to implode, which it did (there are former Soviet states in NATO and the EU). I’m not sure we ever thought Russia itself would implode (nice idea though it sounds).

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Mikhail Gorbachev went to the United Nations (the constructed,bought and paid for by the USA UN) and asked for several million pounds in order to put in place the necessary “infrastructure” to help the old Soviet Union become a new style country,with infrastructure like we used to have. They said No.
It was a modest sum in world terms. They have sent gazillions more than that to that thief Zelensky and to the used car salesman. The Yids who run American corporate business and dictate White House policy has EVERY INTENTION of destabilizing Russia and if Putin hadn’t come forward,the man for the hour, the.Stars & Stripes would have moved in years ago. They are just pissed because Putin isn’t a walkover.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

“The Yids who run American corporate business and dictate White House policy.”
It’s rather difficult to take anything you say seriously when you drop in that little nugget.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Great post.
Downvotes are by Russian stooges or people without any knowledge of Russia.
It was always like this in Russia.
Whether Tsarism, Communism or Putinism.
Small cleaque of gangsters, however named, running the country.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The objective was never to help Russia or to turn Russia into a strong liberal-democratic free-market economy. The objective was to plunder Russia, who had after all lost the Cold War. Gangsters like Bill Browder made their pile in the carpet-bagging frenzy.
Enterprising Russian gangsters too got into the game, stole Russian state assets, and converted them to their own. They then took their money to London and other money-laundering havens to hide them from the Russian state.
Putin came to power and put an end to the looting. The US will never forgive him for this. The US had won the Cold War, Russia had lost, Russia’s riches were rightfully America’s for the picking. Putin had no business depriving the US of that bonanza.
Putin also reined in the oligarchs, to the extent he could – the oligarchs were extremely powerful. Some arranged themselves with the new government in Russia, others stayed away. Some who tried to be too cute ended up in jail. Gang warfare meant that quite a few ended up dead.
Ironically, the West’s Russia derangement, arbitrarily sanctioning Russian individuals and stealing their assets, means that even those who had no intention of dealing with Putin were forced back to Russia. If they want to stay in business, they have no choice but to invest in Russia. The West did for Putin what he could not do himself: Break the power of the oligarchs.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago

Utter nonsense.
The only people who wanted to plunder Russia were Germans.
In ww2.
After your great alliance broke up.
What happened after collapse of Communism was down to Russians.
How come countries of former Soviet Block or China managed transition to post Communist society and economy?
Because they did not have Russian culture based in slave mentality since Mongol times.
All the pathetic excuses as to why Russia is gangster state are the same excuses left in the West make for Africa and Muslim countries.
They are shit countries because of culture (and low IQ, which is not Russia case).

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

The problem with your (frankly) racist approach to all these questions is that all it leads to is more pointless death and destruction. Nothing is actually achieved cf: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc etcetera. Diplomacy should be about avoiding war, not punishing people for their failure to be American.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

All true.
But so what?
Russia always blame West for their misery.
Reality is that other countries, including China and EasternEurope, managed to extricate themselves from moronic Communists system.
The reason Russia couldn’t is down to their history.
Starting with the Mongols.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

Classic case of lazy/biased media chopping up quotes and taking them out of context.
And perhaps this is exactly why modern interviewers constantly interrupt at least once a minute. Watch old political shows and interviews from the 1970s on YouTube and you’ll immediately see the difference – the politicians are allowed to speak at length and explain what they actually think. And the audience are treated as intelligent enough to be able to listen and analyse for themselves without the “help” of crack “analysts” like Peston, Kuensberg and co (whose track record on predictions over the past decade is far worse than the average man in the street’s).
Nigel Farage is being attacked here precisely because he takes the quite unacceptable position of putting the interests of Britain’s citizens first. That is the only common link with Putin.
And that is precisely why this sort of obvious nonsense will backfire. Again. You cannot credibly attack someone as being somehow “anti-British interests” if your own actions are so slavishly anti-British – and indeed are the principle reason why Reform exists at all.
The media remind me of the quote about the Bourbons: “they have learnt nothing and they have forgotten nothing”. They just pursue their private vendettas, dressed up as national policy.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

It’s ironic that the ‘Talking Pints’ interviews which Farage does on his GB News programme are one of the few examples remaining of the long-form interview. He does tend to interrupt more than he should.
If most politicians nowadays talk in soundbites that’s because interviews are short and interruptions are frequent. The soundbite is all you have left.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

I know what you mean, but choosing Talking Pints as an example of Farage “interrupting” is mistaken. The concept behind the programme is more akin to a conversation in a pub – hence the title. The flow is therefore in both directions, not just interviewer/interviewee.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

Tucker Carlson does interviews that frequently last more than two hours. You can’t consider yourself informed if you don’t watch him on X.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Watch Freddie Sayers if you want to see an interviewer who rarely interrupt his interviewees!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

He’s one of the best in the business.

Harry Phillips
Harry Phillips
29 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

And a shout out for Florence Reed too.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

“And the audience are treated as intelligent enough to be able to listen and analyse for themselves”.
Spot on but it seems deeper. If you listen to some of the pop music hits of the 60s and 70s, these are often very complex and demanding for the listener. Likewise in television and film and other aspects of pop culture. Ordinary people were not continually talked down to.
Of course, there was plenty of tat and, of course, there are modern artists producing wonderful work but I think the expectations have shifted.
Nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the public is a very sad truism, am I just being nostalgic when I think that those who made our entertainment thought a little better of us in the olden days?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

GB News does a better job than most of allowing time for all viewpoints when discussing a topic. Rees-Mogg and Farage are the best at this.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

I am generally kindly disposed towards Farage, but he has done himself no favours with these comments. He would have been better leaving the topic alone, as all he has managed to do is make himself look extremist.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

make himself look extremist.

The wider public will certainly think so. The right wing not so much, as this is one of their peculiar narratives.
I believe the NATO question was in response to comments he made some years ago, so there was no avoiding it. Either way he has ruptured votes.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

At least half the British population DO think Putin was manipulated and engineered into his move on Crimea and then the Donbass. So that means half the population are disgraceful and disgusting and probably sub-human too. So where is OUR REPRESENTATION.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

That wasn’t Farage’s point, was it ? Farage was commenting on the plausibility of Putin’s case for war to the Russian people. I don’t think he said anything on what Western people do or don’t think about it. As I understood it, his charge was that the West had been careless in allowing Putin to be able to develop a plausible, but false narrative for war.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

I think you are well represented by a drool cup.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

Don’t you know…”deplorables” don’t deserve anything other than insults?

The Blessed Hillary told everyone so…lost an election…and blamed who else…the Russians…lol

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s also the preferred narrative on the real (as opposed to faux) left, along with ‘our friends in Hamas’ etc etc

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

That sounds like my family and neighbours. Don’t worry about it love,it’s nothing to do with us. Just get on with your own life. So if someone somewhere does lob a nuke,it won’t affect me in any way as long as I don’t think about it.
Comforting to know.

Boiled Frog
Boiled Frog
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

I am generally very well disposed toward Farage, but did groan when I heard this story.
I don’t think it was an elephant trap that he fell into, but questions on his previous statements on “poking the bear”.
As ever, he chooses his words very carefully, and is very well informed.
The whole establishment had a conniption when he first mentioned immigration. It used to be a taboo subject. Now it is right up there in terms of everyone’s priorities.
I think we should be allowed to comment on how the establishment is slowly walking us toward conflict with Russia.
Two final things; how would we feel, if Scotland had voted for independence, and was suddenly being armed and trained by Russia?
Secondly, if The Donald is to become the 47th POTUS, then this view is going to become mainstream pretty soon.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

The first casualty of war is truth. It was foolish of Farage only because of poor optics.
The reality is that anyone learned on this subject will know that Farage’s comments are self-evident. Of course expansionism of NATO and the desire to integrate Ukraine within the western sphere most notably the ‘Maiden Revolution’ encouraged by both the USA and EU in removing a corrupt but democratically-elected pro-Russian president before the end of his term was the direct ‘motive’ in compelling Russia to abandon political pressure for military conquest/destabilisation. Its game theory. Russia’s strategy is ‘rational’ based on their foreign policy directives according to a framework basically that of the ‘realist’ school of international relations.
They viewed Ukraine’s changing orbit + increasing Western economic integration of Ukraine (viewed as within their sphere) as a coup by the West. They’d rather have a hobbled and wrecked Ukraine than a strong one, if said Ukraine is hostile politically. If China was to ‘peel’ off say Mexico politically and the USA was to wage a brutal war to maintain its hegemony, the USA would be responsible for its brutality but China would obviously be seen by historians as incentivising such a war. Pragmatic historians 100 years from now will analyse the Ukrainian War with various factors. Of course our interventionism and political expansionism is one such factor.
Why people can’t see this is beyond me.
I just assume they’re largely well-meaning if ignorant, with western political elites having their own agendas (some ideological, some economic). Boris Johnson for one has made an absolute fool of himself over this issue alone.

Kevin Godwin
Kevin Godwin
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Excellent comment.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Problem with your theory is that Russia has nothing to offer to the world apart from carbohydrates and violence.
No idea if you read Russian but Putin pronouncements were quite clear.
He does not recognise Ukraine independence.
Your claim about “expansionism of NATO” is nonsense.
It was desire of former Soviet Block countries to join NATO.
Based on historical experience of genocidal Russian imperialism.
How do you explain Sweden and Finland joining NATO?
Obviously your approach is usual one for appeasers.
It did not work out after Munich, did it.
But it will work now.
I can not be bother to check old comments but most pro Russians on here and elsewhere claimed that Putin possible invasion of Ukraine was just invention of the West.
But you still peddle Russian talking points few years later.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

How is Russia having nothing to offer but ‘carbohydrates and violence’ (firstly lol, I think you mean hydrocarbons rather than their various breads) relevant to the Ukraine War? Irrelevant.
It doesn’t matter if Putin is averse to recognising Ukrainian independence, the point that you seem to struggle in understanding is he had no reason to invade when Ukraine was effectively part of the Russian sphere, before the USA and EU decided to begin integrating Ukraine within the western political sphere. Is it just coincidence then that immediately after the Maiden Revolution Mr Putin in your spoon-fed worldview suddenly felt the need for lebensraum? One does not have be ‘pro Russian’ to understand that conflicts over hegemony drive wars.
I assume you also probably think Mr Containment George F Kennan would also be if he was alive today an ‘appeaser’. Maybe Kissinger is anti-western interest too? Precisely this ignorance and bellicose disdain for Russia unfounded in any attempts to understand them that has needlessly resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands and a hostile Russia now nailed down and marching in lock-step with China.

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

What quite specifically do you find fault with in what he actually said ?
I’m talking about what he actually said here. Not how what he said was filtered and manipulated. Or what you might think he said.
As I understand it, he simply observed that some Western actions had made it easier for Putin to sell a case for intervening in Ukraine to the Russian public. And that he also disagreed with and opposed Putin’s invasion. Nothing in that is any attempt to justify Putin’s invasion or to state that Putin’s case has any validity. Merely that it made it easier to present such a case to a rather gullible [they’ve lived through over 100 years of repeated brainwashing) Russian public. I don’t see anything controversial at all in this.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

Russians were always brainwashed.
Not just last 100 years.
Let’s start with Mongols.
Or even earlier with Eastern Christianity.
Quite different from the West, where Pope was independent or sometimes dominant to the Emparor (Cannossa?).

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Most British people, and voters, care little about the Ukraine/Russia mess and most certainly don’t want to have a war with Russia, which would damage the UK immensely, even if it did not go nuclear.

So far, Starmer, the next PM, has just followed the Western line…but he wants to be PM for two terms so he will concentrate on domestic growth not foreign policy. I also doubt he will be as “tax happy” as the Tory press say…anyway the phrase “look who’s talking” springs to mind, which is why he will win.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 month ago

If you were being really hardcore you could include Saint Obama’s appeasement of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. But that would never do.
I guess the Establishment don’t respond well to any criticism.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Wasn’t it odd when after “the first black man to win the US Presidency”,took office,he announced his vice-president was going to be an old,rich,white guy who already didn’t seem all there. One Joe Biden. They didn’t seem to be friends or even colleagues. They seemed to have nothing in common and no social links. I thought it was odd way back then. It makes you wonder who was then really The President and who the front man.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes, that was disgraceful. Bush should have invited the Georgians to ask him to bomb that tunnel as assistance in their defeating an insurgency, and then done so. Putin should been never have been allowed to start.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago

According to the Unherd article earlier in the week NATO is crumbling, and that is apparently after the current expansion and revitalisation in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Those who believe NATO expansion is ‘principally’ responsible for Putin’s actions are incredibly naive about Russian behaviour and cultural attitudes and have completely swallowed the Kremlin playbook that creates the West as the eternal threat.
Putin’s narrative to the Russian people is entirely based on this and presents him as the man of power who will save them and deliver them to glory.
Farage and others have swallowed the delusion hook, line and sinker.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Why does everything have to be binary? Why can’t it be Putin bad, but west has misplayed its response to bad man?

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It can. And that in fact was what Farage said in this recent interview. He may have said different things in the past, but this time it amounts to exactly what you say.
It’s really very strange how the deplorables are able to cope with these nuances. And yet the sophisticated media types can only count in binary.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter B

It didn’t help that Farage also said he respected Putin. One could say the same thing about Hitler’s leadership qualities. He may well be correct, yet it’s entirely misplaced and inappropriate.
Imagine the scenario in which Farage is PM – where does this lead to bulding an international allied solution, other than appeasement? Perhaps he would be shouting at the NATO committee like he did in Brussels.

Andrew R
Andrew R
1 month ago

Putin: “Make your countries militarily weaker and we won’t invade you”.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

But build numerous bio-labs and surrogacy clinics right up tight on our borders and we will.
Cos no one wants a deadly virus factory or a whores hostel next door.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

In 1994 Ukraine gave up the nuclear weapons  it had inherited from the USSR in exchange for assurances from Russia, the United States and United Kingdom to respect the Ukrainian independence and sovereignty in the existing borders.
That went well.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

And the West then overthrew a duly elected President via a CIA coup…that’s how independent Ukraine became…

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

Great post.
In view of doubts about NATO expressed by most likely future USA president, the only way countries like Poland, Finland and Sweden have to defend against Russia is going nuclear.
All the appeasers and pro Russian clowns on here and elsewhere who believe that they will be safer because
“why should we care about people we know little about, Neville Chamberlain”
would find out soon that why they might not be interested in war, war and Putin, is very much interested in them.
Enjoy your peace like uk did in 1938 after Munich.
Just try to read about summer 1940.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Farage: “Sounds good to me!”

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
1 month ago

I think the reaction to this from ‘the sensible adults’ shows just how desperate centre parties have become as the ground shifts under their feet.

They have learnt nothing at all and are trying the same smear tactics that have already failed against AfD and RN but what else have they got to offer?

Obviously nothing at all.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Sir kier stammer? What has he actually done?

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Just because I agree with Farage on immigration, doesn’t mean I need to agree with him on Russia.
No different from my views on covid.
I agree with some, very few left, friends on covid but disagree on Russia and so called right in the West.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago

I feel SO personally offended because I not only THINK I fully BELIEVE what Nigel said. So that means I am DISGRACEFUL. My long standing MP is Labour. This MP has a strong power base,a base founded on years of hard work and support for the community. It’s almost a certainty that this MP will get the seat back again. This constituency is so red there is almost no point in voting otherwise. Now I don’t want to vote AT ALL. Why should I vote for a party that has labelled ME disgraceful. I know they meant Nigel but surely that includes everyone else who says that too.
So as ALL the factions are pro-war,like it’s 1914 who can I vote for
One last thing,as Colombo used to say – I’ve seen flyers up around here saying that our MP,as was,is a Friend of Israel. That strong support voter base is heavily Muslim. Will this affect the outcome. See,this is what happens when you try to make it part of your public persona that you love and respect Islam but you are not anti-Semitic. It’s like saying I’m 100% in favour or banning cruelty to animals but I respect Islam and defend Muslim rights to their own practices. And Halal meat tastes the same. Oops,did I just accidentally reveal I’m not so vegan as I claim.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

“So that means I am DISGRACEFUL” <– You are. You just said you think Russia has a right to steal, rape, and murder — and reacquire its former slave nations as slaves.

That is what this is about.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Great post.
I am disgusted with these people with English names (assuming they are not Russian stooges) who forget that they only exist because of help USA gave them in two world wars.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago

Farage is correct. After the fall of the USSR, the Russians were assured there would be no eastward expansion of the EU and NATO. Instead, the opposite has happened. This while the EU mandarins have increasingly turned against the Enlightenment values that made the West better than Communism or theocracy or monarchism. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was and is brutal and wrong. But he’s not the only one with a mania for relentless expansionism. The pro-war partisans bravely posting the Ukranian flag on their Facebook page would do well to learn some actual history. Try starting with the year 1917.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

There was no formal agreement, and as Sam Goldwyn famously said, “A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
It’s difficult enough to live up to the promises we’ve signed. How — and why — should we live up to ideas floated and rejected, stray thoughts and proposals to which we’ve said, “That might be a good idea” and dropped.

El Uro
El Uro
1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

To blame West for what somebody somewhere said something to Russians is named an independent critical thinking now 🙂

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

“After the fall of the USSR, the Russians were assured there would be no eastward expansion of the EU and NATO.” <– No, that never happened.

“But he’s not the only one with a mania for relentless expansionism.” <— NATO takes no territory. All membership is voluntary. I know history, and I know you should look actual history and your dictionary.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

This is a lie.
There was no agreement an NATO expansion whatsoever.
Former Soviet Block countries wanted to join NATO for obvious reasons.
Why did Finland and Sweden join NATO?
Because Russia is a friendly neighbour?

George Locke
George Locke
1 month ago

If Person A mildly insults Person B, and then Person B kills him, it is not excusing Person B’s behaviour to say the reason he killed Person A is that the latter insulted him.

I agree. But the quotes given by the scholars aren’t doing that:

“The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis which began in February 2014.”

“Putin is not solely responsible for the ongoing crisis over Ukraine.”

If Person A was to mildly insult Person B, and then Person B kills him, we would not say that Person A is ‘principally responsible’ for his own death, or that Person B is ‘not solely responsible’. That seems absurd – regardless of whether or not they were insulted, Person B alone decided to commit the murder.
This isn’t necessarily to say that Farage and these scholars are wrong, just that this is a terrible analogy for the point being made.

El Uro
El Uro
1 month ago
Reply to  George Locke

The discussion here is hardly a discussion, but rather a test of emotional idiocy, which, alas, many here have failed. The shame is that those who failed the test use the same “logic” as the ultra-left progressives.
My comment is not about Farage, it’s about locals

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 month ago
Reply to  El Uro

You have probably won the “communications idiocy” prize with that comment.

El Uro
El Uro
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Poor Ian, if you are sure that the United States and NATO forced Russia to start a war with Ukraine, nothing will help you

Chipoko
Chipoko
1 month ago

Nigel Farage was absolutely right to point out that EU and NATO expansion over the past two-and-a-half decades increasingly encroached on Russia’s traditional spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. I believe that successive USA presidents from Clinton to Obama assured Russia that NATO would not expand its boundaries consistent with the expansion of the EU in the early 20000s. Moreover, approaches by Russia to join NATO were rejected without consideration by our western leaders, who were concerned about Russia’s record on LGBTQ++ issues. The final straw for Russia was the opening of formal discussions between NATO and Ukraine as the first step towards Ukraine membership of the Alliance. That would place NATO along a huge length of Russia’s southern border in addition to the earlier expansion of NATO onto Russia’s eastern border after the Admission of the Eastern Europe states into the EU. If that is not provocation, then what is? I’ve been voicing concerns about this scenario since the mid-2000s. The truly devastating thing is that we have far more in common with Russia (culture, religion, science, technology, education, medicine, etc.) than not, especially a common foe in the form of Islamic fundamentalist terror.
Nobody of any reasonable outlook could possibly do anything other than unequivocally to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to abhor its campaign of unrestrained violence there, and its accession of the Crimea in 2014. But to castigate the likes of Farage for pointing out the folly of successive leaders of our western ‘democracies’ in taking such provocative actions is a travesty of the truth, and a conspiracy not to allow themselves to be held accountable for how the current situation came about over several decades. The likes of Clinton, Blair, Obama, Cameron, etc. have served us all very badly and their blindness and prejudice created the circumstances that ultimately provided Putin with a casus belli. Had Russia been formally part of some overall alliance associated with NATO this would never have happened. And the fight against Islamic terrorism would have been a very different affair.

Farage is the only western politician who has had the courage and political integrity to expose the issue to public debate.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

The whole point of the near universal condemnation of FarageÂŽs remarks is that none of the mainstream parties offers any alternative. As another contributor has pointed out, there is no-one different to vote for. Further, if you wanted to show disapproval of UK support for Israel in Gaza, for whom would you vote? The whole of our political establishment (apart from Farage with his pint) is singing from the same hymnsheet. A hymnsheet written and reproduced by the neocon establishment in Washington.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I agree, even as a supporter of Israel, the opposition should have a voice in parliament.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 month ago

Why should both sides of opinion relating to a war between two foreign powers be guaranteed a voice in the UK’s parliament? If people wish to vote on this basis, whatever party George Galloway is leading should offer them that option.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 month ago

Fair enough. Certainly no mandatory representation. I was opposing denying their voice.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago

Yes exactly! The UK has no involvement in the Middle East and it is not a matter for the UK Parliament.

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1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JS-3QssVPeg Doesn’t get better than this

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

All of Russia’s “final straws” are where Russia has no rightful say. Their war claiming the contrary is a crime of war. It is highly unlikely Putin will ever be in the dock, but he should be hung for it. No opportunity to do so should be missed.
Russia has no legitimate cassus belli.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

So many upvotes by morons to your Russia talking points?
1) There was never any agreement about NATO not expanding anywhere. If so provide evidence.
2) Former Soviet Block countries had clear desire to join NATO based on centuries of genocidal Russian imperialism.
3) The only agreement which was signed by Russia was Budapest Memorandum which guaranteed territorial integrity of Ukraine.
4) Which Russia broke.
5) care to explain why Sweden and Finland joined NATO?
6) I find it disgusting that so called British people (no idea if you are one) complain about helping Ukraine, when you only survived both world wars because of USA help.
Let’s hope you won’t be begging for USA help again any time soon.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

1) Various US officials have acknowledged that assurances were given to the Russian side, though no formal treaty was drawn up. To quibble on this point is to miss the point altogether.
2) This is only partially true. Def. true of Poland, but 40% of Latvia’s population is Russian-speaking and remained deeply suspicious of EU and NATO membership. I was in rural Bulgaria in 2011 and chatted with locals about why they had left up so many Soviet monuments. They kind of shrugged and said, “Brussels, Moscow, what’s the difference?” That about sums it up for most of the former bloc countries.
3) The Minsk Agreements were also signed by Russia, which UA breached in all kinds of ways. Notably Point 3 of the September 2014 Protocol.
4) See (3) above.
5) No. It’s moot to this discussion. See Red Herring entry in Wikipedia for more details.
6) I find your tone disgusting and arrogant (assuming you are one of the Americans whose help you threatening to withdraw). Did you land in Normandy? No, so stop clinging to your flag, boy. It’s also silly, because the UK is part of NATO and therefore covered by the mutual defense obligations of the Treaty; whereas Ukraine is not.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Let’s face it: for the past 60 years ‘USA help’ hasn’t exactly been beneficial for anyone, has it?

John Riordan
John Riordan
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Another person who can’t separate the arguments about whether support for Ukraine is justified, from the arguments about whether the West is partly culpable for the war. Farage supports Ukraine and opposes Russia, all he’s saying is that the West’s own strategic myopia is a contributing factor to the eventual commencement of military conflict.

In this, he is joined by a long list of commentators over the past few years, including George Kennan who predicted over 25 years ago how Russia would react to NATO expansion. He, too, was not actually taking Russia’s side in this, merely using his expert knowledge of Russian strategic interestst to predict – quite accurately – how Russia would percieve such actions on the part of the EU and NATO. He was right, and those in the US and EU establishments who refused to take his advice, were wrong.

Once again, this isn’t to take Russia’s side here: the NATO expansion was not in fact a military threat to Russia, so the invasion was never based on a genuine casus belli. The point is that we ought to have known that the Kremlin could use NATO expansion as a sufficient pretext to justify military action to the Russian people, that is what actually happened, and we – the West that is – were warned by our own side that this was likely.

Chipoko
Chipoko
28 days ago
Reply to  Andrew F

By resorting to gutter language (‘moron’) in your first sentence the rest of your laboured response is instantly rendered irrelevant. If you want your points to be taken seriously be moderate.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Chipoko

What’s this “traditional spheres of influence” nonsense? You could equally argue that Britain’s “traditional sphere of influence” includes half of Africa, and all of India.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  Martin M

Monroe Doctrine?

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 month ago

Every founder member of NATO has a myth of having thought of it, and they would all laugh at each others’ if they knew about them. NATO has never been purely defensive; it was founded six years before the Warsaw Pact, for example, and if it ever was an academically serious contention that the Soviet Union had had either the means or the will to invade Western Europe, then it has not been so this century.

Britain keeps troops in the Baltic states as a tripwire, because only if our own personnel had already been killed would we consider going to war for those places. We still might not do it, though. Nor has NATO ever been about freedom ‘n’ democracy; at least one of its founder members would have failed that test spectacularly, while very recent senior Nazi officers were prominent in it from the start. And of course NATO’s expansion, along with that of the closely related EU, gave Vladimir Putin all the excuse that he needed to invade Ukraine, itself replete with the heirs of Adolf Heusinger and indeed effectively run by a sort of Schnez-Truppe. War is very good for the business of major donors to politicians, and if this had been an unprovoked attack, then there would be no felt need to keep describing it as such.

Ukraine would certainly never now be admitted to NATO, and the rump state that it will very soon be would be lucky to be let into the EU. Yet having already secured the backing of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the centrist caricature that is Mark Rutte will now become Secretary General of NATO because that is the will of Viktor OrbĂĄn. Centrism and right-wing populism are con tricks to sell exactly the same economic and foreign policies to different audiences by pretending to wage a culture war. In Britain, centrists and right-wing populists alike have hitherto supported NATO, which subjects British military personnel to officers who were themselves subject to OrbĂĄn and to Erdoğan, or indeed to the likes of Rutte or of whoever was really deciding anything while Joe Biden was nominally the President of the United States. Such figures’ say in those matters ought to be unacceptable to those who had hitherto accrued to Boris Johnson or to Nigel Farage.

Having turned 60 on Wednesday, Johnson was yesterday sulking in the Daily Mail that even Keir Starmer now said that Jeremy Corbyn would have been a better Prime Minister than Johnson was, and that no one apart from Johnson found that remotely remarkable. Based on his remarks about Ukraine, even Farage would have to give that answer if the question were ever put to him. But when would Farage be interviewed again? He has probably burned his bridges with the BBC by being right about Ukraine, and thus at least implicitly about NATO, although being so will do him no end of good among the voters at whom he is aiming. Some people are paid an absolute fortune to talk about politics when they know nothing at all about it.

Yet Farage is still wrong about Gaza among much else, and the Leader of the Opposition in 2029, or for many practical purposes from next month, should not be anyone who had ever been Auntie’s favourite uncle. Farage may very well win Clacton, but the re-election of George Galloway at Rochdale is a racing certainty. Short Money is ÂŁ19,401.20 for every seat won at the most recent General Election, plus ÂŁ38.75 for every 200 votes gained, with a further ÂŁ213,132.53 in travel expenses divided among the Opposition parties on the same basis. It would not be your possibly ropey local candidate who decided what to do with that money. It would be the Leader. Wherever you can, including here at North Durham, vote for the Workers Party of Britain.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

“NATO has never been purely defensive; it was founded six years before the Warsaw Pact” <– Which has no bearing on the fact it was purely defensive. The Russians were where they were, making the threats they were. The defense was RE that.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 month ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

What threats were they making? If the Soviet Union had been willing and able to take Western Europe, then the Red Army would just have kept marching in the summer of 1945. The USSR was either a ramshackle operation that was bound to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, or it was a fearsome threat. We all know which it turned out to have been.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

It was both. Obviously.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 month ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

It could not have been both. And we now know which it was.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

And many years ago Nye Bevan pointed out that the Soviet Union was not capable of taking Western Europe; it was bust, just like Western Europe.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

It was going to collapse in long term due to idioces of Communism.
But till at least late 70s it had serious military capability, including parity with USA in nuclear weapons (which it did not in Cuban crisis).
The only way West could stop Russian armoured invasion was through use of nukes.
It was not going to be pretty.
Just research Warsaw Pact battle plans.
Especially ones signed by general Jaruzelski.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

“What threats were they making?” <– Sponsoring pro-Communist insurgencies in France, Greece, et al.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

What prevented the Russians from marching all the way to Calais in 1945 was Hiroshima. Let’s try not too be too naive about this – there is no morality in global politics. On either side.

Jake Raven
Jake Raven
1 month ago

Farage’s enemies will use anything to try to bring him down. What they don’t get is that it makes him more popular, not less. The MSM and politicians never learn that this moral outrage is a turn off to most sensible people.
Ukraine is a problem Labour will find difficult to deal with. Does it keep funding them and offering support, and for how long? Is this ‘fully costed’ in their budgets?
The war will end one of two ways – either in compromise with Ukraine ceding land to Russia, or Ukraine’s defeat. Either way, all the money the West continues to spend is wasted. Russia was not defeated early on and will not be now, nor will Putin give up. The next government faces some hard choices when money here at home is tight.
Ukraine is also yesterday’s news, there are many wars being fought throughout the world without media attention, Ukraine is set to join that list.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake Raven

However it ends, the West must never again be foolish enough to trade with Russia.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 month ago

1.The only important rule in Europe is that frontiers not be changed by violence.
2.if Russia withdrew behind its 2014 boundaries, peace would break out tomorrow.
But then the only status for Ukraine in Europe is a neutrality status.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

Yeah, neutral the way Sweden is. Now is.

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1 month ago

If you keep on stirring the cat you will get a clawing. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JS-3QssVPeg

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 month ago

Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia in return for an assurance that its territorial integrity would be respected. Russia violated that pledge, full stop.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Yes, but like results of Ukrainian independence referendum 1991 with both Donbas and Luhansk voting over 83% to be part of Ukraine (and Crimea voting 54% for the same), pro Russian clowns on here and elsewhere don’t like facts.
They just like licking Putins stones.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Remind me who organised those Referendums? It was Vladimir “Champion of Democracy” Putin, right?

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
1 month ago

The current Ukraine mess is glaring proof of one thing we know for certain. The West was wrong. We were wrong in our failure to create the conditions that would preclude an incursion of Ukraine. Was it indifference? ignorance? incompetence? Something else?
Slamming Farage for being wrong about what we did wrong seems like petty vindictive deflection for serious Western policy failures that created what Putin obviously considered to be an opportunity to do whatever it is he thought he wanted to do.
To rub the salt in, the West has doubled down on wrong. We would rather yell “Putin apologist” than ask why every expert prediction of the impending certain disaster of ‘Putin’s folly’ has been wrong. It’s reminiscent of Trump’s presidency. How many times did the experts gleefully report a perceived Orange Man Bad mistake as “This means the end for Donald”. Yeah right.
It’s getting to be like a trashy shopping advert: “But wait! There’s more!” “Buy 1 Failure and get a 2nd Failure Free!” The West hasn’t been able to protect commerce in the Red Sea either. An estimated two-thirds of shipping has been diverted.
But don’t worry Taiwan. We’ve got your back.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

If you mean we should have stationed troops along Ukraine’s Belorussian and Russian borders as part of a treaty guarantee Russia could not profit from the war crime of Russia in invading them, yes.

~Slamming Farage for being wrong about what we did wrong seems like~ a perfectly reasonable thing to towards criticizing Farage.

“We would rather yell “Putin apologist” than ask why every expert prediction of the impending certain disaster of ‘Putin’s folly’ has been wrong.” <– Disaster for whom? It is rather cheaply for us a disaster for Russia — an opportunity to make certain they know for 100 years they do not get a do-over for the Cold War. It is rather important to without our own combat personnel being involved, to make certain Ukraine drives Russia out of it itself. We have yet to fail at that.

Russia has yet to carry out it’s Kyiv victory parade, as that one leaked broadcast shows they intended by week three. . .

Were I in the command of such efforts, after Taiwan’s acquiescence and a prolonged as quiet as possible buildup and no statement about it, the headquarters of USPACOM would be announced to have been moved to Taipei — let China ponder that as they decay.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Reality is, that Taiwan either fights against China invasion or it will be destroyed either way.
There is no way USA would allow China to take over Taiwan technology intact.
Terrible for people of Taiwan.
Question is why stupid (traitors?) Western leaders allowed so much critical technology to be based there?

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Maybe they allowed it to be based there for the reason in your second sentence.

Richard Powell
Richard Powell
1 month ago

Noah Carl should stick to things he knows something about. Mearsheimer is no longer a “respected scholar”, if he ever was; he is a Putin-serving crank.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

Folks are forgetting Farage named Putin as the world leader he most admired after praising the Russian president’s handling of the crisis in Syria back in 2014.
He’s also got the argument completely upside down. Countries seek NATO membership because they are threatened by Russia. Putin has made it clear he sees Russia as having a right to an Empire and this to cover a number of adjacent younger States. Remember also he already had form with the false flag invasion of Georgia in 2008.
The fact some other apologists for Putin, who make careers out of being critical of the West, might share a similar view should not camouflage the repugnance of Farage’s words at a time when Ukraine is fighting for it’s life. He and his supporters can twist and turn, like this Author, to try and find an angle they can defend but this also showed a lack of judgment on Farage’s part if he did not mean quite what the headline inevitably would be. Think before you talk. He’s usually quite sly in how he disguises his racism. Here the concealment wasn’t up to his usual standards.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
29 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Yep, we’re GOOD, they’re BAD, eh? I wish life really was that simple.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 month ago

The notion that NATO expansion (and NATO trampling on Russian interests in the Balkans during the wars of the Yugoslav dissolution and continuing to treat post-Soviet Russia as definitionally an enemy even though they were not trying to spread Communism any more) contributed to Putin’s revanchism (and the rise of Putin, rather than a liberalizing leader) is perfectly defensible.
It is, however, as useful a guide to policy as observing correctly that the maltreatment of no-longer imperial Germany at Versailles contributed to German revanchism and the rise of Hitler would be if made just after the Fall of France.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  David Yetter

The reason the West treated post-Soviet Russia as an enemy is because it was an enemy, as current events show.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago

A very good article which flies in the face of what the Deep State/Blob want people to think. They are joined by the legacy press which faithfully does their bidding.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 month ago

Yes, so appesers of Russia are quoted here.
We could do the same with 1930s and Hitler.
How did it turn out then?
All this rubbish about “Expansion of NATO” as if it had nothing to do with Russian genocidal imperialism.
Of course countries occupied and subjugated by Russia for centuries saw NATO and EU membership as a insurance policy against Russian aggression.
Can you blame them?
Only if you are Russian stooge.
All pro Russian clowns on here and elsewhere need to explain why Sweden and Finland joined NATO now?

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Hear hear! Saved me a post along very similar lines!

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 month ago

Why is the photo of Nigel Farage that accompanies articles about him always so unflattering? I’m no particular fan, although his willingness to put unfashionable ideas out in the open is something to be welcomed, but the choice of photos for the poor bloke on Unherd is barely better treatment than he’d get in the Guardian.

Davy Humerme
Davy Humerme
29 days ago

Great piece Noah. One of the reasons I subscribe to Unherd. The references are helpful, if only our mainstream priesthood of journalists would read some of it! The fact that there is a uni party consensus on anything usually means it is not the interests of the people. Think mass immigration, lockdowns and the encroachment of the WHO, Woke waste, NHS worship and of course Brexit bashing. Farage is ideally placed to put the questions that need asking on all of these issues,

John Riordan
John Riordan
29 days ago

Excellent article. Farage’s position on this issue is entirely defensible and the smear campaign against him is typically unfair, though sadly predictable.