One of many many paradoxical outcomes of Brexit is the improved function that the UK can play within the present disaster between Russia and Ukraine. The UK has proven itself to be a robust companion of Kyiv in offering defensive weapons and in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Previous to the second Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK’s dedication was initially a lot stronger than its companions on the continent at each the EU stage and amongst capitals from Berlin to Paris and Stockholm who’ve now made main international coverage reversals. In extricating itself from the EU, the UK is ready to view Ukraine solely by way of the prism of defence and safety on bilateral phrases, divorced from any grand ambitions of a continent-wide international and defence coverage married with financial integration. The UK’s pursuits are its personal, and it doesn’t danger falling sufferer to the elusive quest for a typical European voice that may typically stymie the EU’s skill to answer crises.
In distinction to Kyiv’s different European companions, London’s power has by no means been due to or drawn from Europe, with European political or financial integration by no means a main aim. Nonetheless, London has by no means did not battle for Europe and for the values of the transatlantic alliance, one thing the present authorities in Kyiv holds pricey and has dedicated itself to in its structure. Equally to Kyiv, the UK acts as a bridgehead or borderland to Europe, and it lengthy acted because the bridge to the US throughout the EU, owing to its shared language and historical past. Likewise, Ukraine has lengthy acted as a bridge to Russia regardless of its management and residents confidently figuring out what they don’t wish to retain or undertake from their extra highly effective neighbour. Consequently, within the current disaster, each nations might now be inextricably linked to Europe’s core by advantage of their roles on its periphery.
Whereas London is now not an engaged stakeholder to Europe’s future political improvement, it’s a stakeholder and prepared participant within the battle to assist the ambitions and territorial integrity of sovereign states. The proper to self-determination, beforehand the demise knell of imperial powers, has turn out to be a precept championed by London because it seeks to grasp its post-Brexit function. What’s most important is that unfavourable liberty was at all times the dominating pressure which drove the UK’s relationship with the EU and the divisive, however profitable marketing campaign of the Brexiteers. For London to embrace the constructive liberty of Ukrainians, after its personal messy divorce from the EU, is an additional testomony to its longstanding establishments and traditions which can be capable of thrive and coexist unbiased of any relation to Europe.
Moreover, in contrast to the EU, the UK is just not combating for energy or for its place on this planet as half of a bigger geopolitical and values-driven competitors with states like China. It’s content material with the facility that it has, and whereas it could be susceptible to overextension or self-aggrandizement, it’s rooted on this planet because it exists and never as it may be. London is not going to acquire energy from this disaster, however it might probably acquire the respect and admiration that comes with performing as a accountable actor with an ironclad dedication to Europe.
A lot nonetheless stays to be examined as to the feasibility of most of the UK’s ‘World Britain’ prognostications, particularly these exterior of its fast neighbourhood reminiscent of within the Indo-Pacific. The UK faces many challenges to its personal union, together with within the near-term with the Northern Eire Meeting elections in Could and a possible second Scottish independence referendum in 2023. Nonetheless, within the present disaster, London is punching at or above its weight and incomes the reward that was not anticipated of it because it sought to extricate itself from Europe and the EU’s perennial battles.
Few would have imagined at first of 2022 that Britain, together with the EU, and US, would personally sanction Putin, take away key Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, prohibit Aeroflot from UK airspace, and decide to a transatlantic process pressure to establish and seize the property of sanctioned Russian corporations and oligarchs. This can embody the various oligarchs with property in London and Surrey, and Russian corporations traded on the London Inventory Trade, together with VTB and Sberbank. From BP exiting from its stake in Rosneft to Roman Abramovich deciding to promote Chelsea FC, the UK’s lengthy and controversial relationship with Russia and the ill-gotten positive factors of its oligarchs is now starting to wither.
Because the UK takes these steps, the character of Putin has not modified, and his reign of terror is nicely documented. Putin’s character was clear when former spy Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned in London in 2006, leaving a path of radioactive polonium throughout the town and on British Airways flights. His character was clear when Boris Nemtsov was murdered, Alexei Navalny was poisoned, and Yulia and Sergei Skripal have been poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, a chemical assault that would have killed a whole lot of British residents. For ardent Russia watchers it was even clear earlier than Putin formally assumed energy and the condo bombings killed 300 individuals round Moscow in 1999, probably a false-flag assault perpetrated by the FSB however blamed on Chechen terrorists. Putin’s founding act to revive Russia’s place on this planet was a false-flag assault that killed a whole lot of Russian residents all to assist increase the facility of 1 man. In some ways, Putin’s complete tenure within the Kremlin has been a false-flag assault, guided by grievance and deception in an effort to lure the West, significantly the UK, right into a place of supplication.
In supporting Ukraine and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the UK can also be capable of rehabilitate its personal picture as a nation that cares extra about anti-corruption and the rule of legislation reasonably than welcoming doubtful Russian cash and asking few questions as to the place it got here from. Within the course of, each Ukraine and the UK can acquire tremendously from each other. The stakes are extremely excessive for Ukraine because it faces indiscriminate shelling of main cities, a big refugee disaster, and financial dismemberment that may require heavy Western help in an effort to proceed down the trail of EU accession. Nonetheless, with fewer oligarch-owned properties in London and property linked to Russian state-owned, sanctioned corporations, the UK may lastly have the ability to help a nation on the different finish of Europe in its bid to imagine its rightful place within the frequent European house.
Disclaimer: I’m writing in my private capability and never by way of any skilled affiliation.