Under cover of darkness the Russian Federation has invaded Ukraine. Airstrikes as far west as Lviv have culled the Ukrainian Air Force, and Russian propaganda outlets suggest Russia has overrun the borders and is en route to Kiev. As with anything in war, every claim should be scrutinised and taken with a pinch of salt.
It is unfortunate that the conflict has come to this, and we can only pray for the souls of the Ukrainians and Russians who will pay for it, but Russia’s invasion has made one thing clear: the West will no longer shape global security.
For far too long the liberal West was enabled in its escapades by a patient China and a hobbled Russia. NATO’s interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan destroyed the very fabric of the argument they now employ: the inviolability of national borders.
Now that Russia has re-emerged and is willing to use its vast military potential, the West is dumbfounded. A central tenet of Western philosophy, that economic prosperity and individual consumption alone determines the course of history, has been turned on its head. Russia has eschewed the material for the immaterial, it has accepted sanctions from the West in return for the hard security guarantee that having soldiers in Kiev provides.
Russia’s thrust towards Kiev implies to this author that they are intent not merely on toppling the regime, but in imposing a long-term proxy through occupation.
The effect on Europe from Putin’s action will be enormous: economic disruption, energy shortages or massive hikes in gas prices, the flooding of millions more migrants into Western Europe, and a war zone that is likely to be active for decades to come.
Indeed the Irish State has already begun to pivot to undermining its traditional policy of neutrality thanks to the oxymoronic statements and actions by Simon Coveney: “Ireland is a neutral country, we’re militarily non aligned, but we are certainly not neutral on an issue like this, when there is blatant aggression happening on the continent of Europe.”
This is exactly not what neutrality means. When Ireland was on the UN Security Council in 1982 it responded to the Falklands War by taking a neutral position —by taking one side or the other in a conflict, regardless of casus belli in use, then we are no longer.
Events will move quickly now, quicker than anyone of us are likely ready for.