British troops out of Ukraine now
Yesterday, Britain deployed 35 military troops to train Ukrainian forces. This is the first military training mission undertaken by a Western country in Ukraine since the conflict broke out last year.
It is of note that both the EU and America have shown some sense when it comes to Ukraine. Obama has had the authorisation to deliver ‘non-lethal’ aid and training to Ukraine since last year. Much to the anger of a highly belligerent Congress, very little American aid or training has been delivered. This has been due to entirely rational fears of escalating the conflict.
Ignoring the recent House of Lords report on the situation in Ukraine, which suggested Britain take more of a diplomatic role, Cameron has chosen instead to make this utterly bizarre move. Militarily, the deployment makes no difference. Stung by the absence of a British role in the crisis so far, with the diplomatic initiative being led by Germany, Cameron has engaged in an ugly and poisonous bit of self-aggrandisement, the only result of which can be to inflame tensions within Ukraine further.
Since the Iraq War, it has often been argued that Britain has acted as America’s poodle, trotting after it and doing its bidding. Yet Cameron’s actions demonstrate that Britain often plays its own malign role in world politics. Russia is not a threat to Europe, and this is not the new Cold War. Yet our government is engaging in policies that will escalate tensions. British troops need to be taken out of Ukraine now.
Tara McCormack is a lecturer in international politics at the University of Leicester.
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