More than two months after Russia destroyed the post-Cold War order by invading and annexing Crimea, European Union heavyweights France, Germany and even Great Britain continue to dither in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
Their weakness has shown that business lobbies in the three nations are willing to turn a blind eye to Moscow’s war crimes as long as their companies are making money. Now we understand better why two world wars started in Europe and the dangers of appeasement.
The EU still hasn’t grasped the reality that Russia is not a partner but rather a great threat to world peace, with the Kremlin richly deserving isolation and the harshest economic sanctions for its assault on Ukraine. This means the West should punish Russia’s energy, finance, military and hi-tech sectors – all of which the three nations play key parts in feeding.
What else besides greed and denial of reality would explain France’s willingness to arm Russia, as it is poised to do in October when it is scheduled to deliver the first of two modern Mistral warships to the Kremlin? The $1.6 billion contract, shockingly, was entered into two years after Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia. The attack ships are capable of menacing all of Russia’s threatened neighbors.
France’s argument for going through with the deal boils down to two unjustifiable points: We need the money and nobody else is sacrificing. French leaders are right about the lack of sacrifice, but that does not excuse their cowardly actions.
Germany is playing a dangerous game of self-delusion by thinking that it somehow stands between the West and East. Some of the German news media have latched on to the Kremlin propaganda that Ukraine is part of a new U.S.-Russia showdown and that Ukraine is now run by “fascists.” The recent “peace” mission of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who represents the loathsome Russophile wing once led by the morally bankrupt Putin shill Gerhard Schroeder, underscores Germany’s lack of leadership. If any people should know what it’s like to live under the jackboot of fascist, mentally unstable dictators, it’s Germany.
Great Britain, meanwhile, talks a tough game, but continues to protect London’s status as money launderer for Putin’s kleptocracy.
These three powers could cripple Russia’s energy and finance sectors, as well as hurt its military sector. France is correct in saying that U.S. President Barack Obama’s weak response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people encouraged Putin. But it is, again, no excuse for France’s dangerous military sales.
The United States and the EU are focused on walking in lockstep to the detriment of making forward progress. The West should prove the Kremlin wrong by staying united yet showing a willingness to sacrifice collectively and act quickly to secure world peace and Ukraine’s future.