25.11.2021 Author: Valery Kulikov

“Marlborough Has Left for the War,” or Would Britain Take Up Arms?


It is no secret that Britain, which has long lost its former imperial image and therefore its own political face, has found itself in the back of the European Union and settled for following instructions from across the ocean. The failed policies, first of all those of Theresa May and now Boris Johnson, have primarily contributed to this. It is not for nothing that the UK Conservative Party begins to look for a successor to Boris Johnson because his actions are dissatisfactory not only with the voters but also with the party members, believes the CBS News contributor Simon Bates. The latest UK poll shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party in trouble. When asked: “Conservatives these days give the impression of being very sleazy and disreputable?”, 60% of the public agreed.

In these circumstances, another British “Marlborough” forgetting the painful experience of the Duke of Marlborough, the culprit of British failures in the War of the Spanish Succession in 1709 turned in France into the folk song “Malbrook s’en va-t-en guerre” (“Marlborough Has Left for the War”), decided that only a war under his leadership will help him somehow correct his own image. And therefore, abandoning domestic affairs even more, Boris Johnson decided to call on the world to defend Ukraine against Russia with all the remaining British power, whatever that may be. Boris Johnson, puffing out his cheeks limped from failed policies, made an insane statement that European nations must choose between “mainlining” Russian gas and defending peace in Ukraine, The Telegraph reports. But such an ultimatum amused even British readers, and many openly criticized Johnson, noting that he had no right to “lecture other countries.”

Not fazed by this debacle, Johnson began, through the controlled British media, to advertise the readiness of the British special forces task force of 600 soldiers to “protect Ukraine,” as The Mirror wrote. According to the British authorities, this would be a “substantial assistance to Ukraine.” Perhaps, as substantial as London’s recent sale to Kyiv of six obsolete missile boats and two Sandown-type minesweepers, on account of the £1.25 billion (US$1.7 billion) loan to Ukraine? Although the profit of the British side from this “sale” became even greater since it saved a lot of money that would otherwise have to be spent on the disposal of its ship scrap metal. Anyway, what is there for Britain to sell? Ships that have been decommissioned and have already used up their resources several times? The British know how to count money: they find the right people in Ukraine interested in such deals and milking foreign loans, and sell them their scrap metal for British loans, ending up in profit, including propaganda gains.

As for London’s sending 600 special forces soldiers to Ukraine, this decision has been highly criticized even in Ukraine. As the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada member from the Servant of the People party faction, Maksym Buzhansky noted, not so long ago it would be hard to imagine anything less significant than London’s assistance to Poland in September 1939. “But Britain has achieved this feat by signaling its willingness to send 600 special forces to Ukraine if Russia threatens to invade. That’s just too much,” said MP Buzhansky ironically.

Moreover, while the US and British press are whipping up hysteria about Russia’s supposedly inevitable invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv is pretty skeptical about this prospect. In particular, even Ukraine’s newly elected Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said the other day that he does not believe in the possibility of a Russian military invasion.

Johnson’s rampant military plans and attacks on Russia in its alleged intention to attack Ukraine are dictated from Washington, whose policy on this matter and the alleged pulling of the Russian military to the border with Ukraine has been reported on by The Washington Post in detail the day before.

As one would expect, The Guardian has worked out the same line for Washington and Johnson, with angry spittle also trying to show “Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border” and claiming the presence of an alleged hundred thousand Russian troops there. However, the British publication (as well as the American media), in line with its usual Russophobic propaganda, deliberately hides the fact that the Russian military is located far from the Ukrainian border, on the Russian territory near the Russian town Yelnya of the Smolensk region, located close to the border with Belarus, approximately 250 km (!) from Ukraine. They are not going to attack anyone, and, being on Russian territory, they should not have to ask anyone’s permission for deployment, much less Britain’s.

Analysts differ on the likelihood of a war between London and Moscow, reports Al Jazeera. Some completely rule out such an outcome, despite what former British foreign intelligence officer Christopher Steele and Nick Carter, the Chief of the General Staff, have said about developments in Eastern Europe, supposedly pointing to the opposite. At the same time, the publication admits that London is leading the fight “against the Russian threat” and is trying to expand its influence based on the agreement with Washington, according to which the US deals with China and Britain opposes Russia’s influence.

At the same time, British media, in their assessment of a possible military conflict between NATO and Britain with Russia, admit that their chances of being a paper tiger in such a case are high.  And readers of The Times, in response to an interview that General Nick Carter, the Chief of the General Staff, gave to Times Radio about rising military tensions with Russia, were skeptical about that prospect. “We will run away at the first mention of war with Russia,” one of them expresses a common point of view. In response to the active US calls to prepare for a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine, readers of another British publication, The Telegraph, frankly admit that they do not want to defend and “save” Ukraine with their blood.

Against this background, it is worth noting the article published by the Express.co.uk comparing the military power of Moscow and London. The publication compared the number of military equipment and personnel of the armed forces based on the Global Firepower rating. It turned out that the Russian army was ahead on almost all points. This data was called shocking by the authors of the article. Online users, for their part, said in comments: “We are nothing compared to Russia, not worth thinking about any conflict. Far better working with powerful countries not against them. Build bridges not tear them down.”

So Marlborough-Johnson’s military efforts are unlikely to earn him any popularity points within the Kingdom. On the contrary, they will only reinforce his already growing rejection by Britons amid the social policy failures of the government he leads, the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and Britain’s current energy woes due to Johnson’s “stupid green hubris.” The Telegraph’s readers directly mock the current paranoia of the British authorities, where Francis P Rankin pretty much sums up the general attitude towards Johnson in his remark: “Are we even going to get anywhere with the descendant of the Turks, Johnson?”

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.