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MH 17 and Russia 2018

The shooting down of airliner MH17 over Ukrainian airspace was a tragedy – but more likely arising from the cock-up rather than the conspiracy wing of history. Surely no-one seriously thinks that the powers behind either side in the Ukraine fighting intended their minions to shoot down a passenger aircraft? It was clearly done by a trigger-happy clown not subject to much in the way of discipline or command and control as in a regular army. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens in civil conflicts.

The consensus that it was “Russian” rebels who did it is probably correct. That they ought not to have had the weapons to allow them to do it is also a given. But I suspect that Vladimir Putin is raging that it has put him – as the overwhelmingly likely ultimate source of the arms involved – in the wrong. One more reason for the US and EU to portray him as a villain and to increase sanctions.

Yet, unless it blows up into something bigger – in the hundredth anniversary year of the devastating fall-out of an assassination in the Balkans that prospect cannot be overlooked – in four year’s time will most people, apart from the families of the deceased for whom it will linger forever, remember it? Very few gave a toss about the contretemps Russia had had with Georgia in 2008 during the Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Yet we have our Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, calling for the World Cup due to be hosted by Russia in 2018 to be stripped from that country. I wish him luck with that. The site of World Cups is in the purview of FIFA and that organisation doesn’t take kindly to outside interference.

What makes his remarks even more counter-productive in terms of his stated objective is that Clegg has said that England might host the tournament instead. Anyone who had any knowledge of FIFA at all would know that is a non-starter.

Twonk.

Euro 2016 Draw

So Scotland gets Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar.

It could have been worse, I suppose. (Could it have been worse?)

We won’t finish ahead of Germany. I don’t think we’ve beaten them for over forty years.

Ireland, Poland and Georgia are all tricky. And Gibraltar? That’s the sort of international team we have struggled against in the not so recent past.

Still, Gordon Strachan has improved things. Look on the bright side.

Call Me Irresponsible

I noted it mentally at the time but let it pass. However, Call me Dave’€™s remarks last night brought it to mind again.

His posturing over Georgia would have gone beyond recklessness if it were to be repeated in office. [I have to say here that David Milliband was as bad back then. Don’€™t they have advisers who know about this stuff?]

But not only did Call me Dave get it wrong over Georgia and thereby possibly antagonise Russia, he now wants to target nuclear weapons on Iran and China. Note Nick Clegg’€™s startled reaction in the clip.

Iran!

Iran which does not have nuclear weapons (any more than Iraq had: anyone with knowledge of the Middle Eastern psyche knows what I’€™m talking about here) and which therefore our threatening them with amounts to bullying. And nobody likes a bully.

And China!

China: with whom we have no quarrel and which has more than enough capacity to make ours seem piddling and which, therefore, it makes no sense to threaten.

Quite apart from the fact that the UK most likely can not or will not use its nuclear weapons without prior US approval and we probably only have them because the French do too (as Yes, Minister put it once) what on Earth was he thinking? Or did he just let his mouth run away with him?

Either way such talk is dangerous and does not bode well for the country’€™s international relations under a Call me Dave premiership. For you can be sure the relevant authorities in Moscow, Tehran and Beijing (not to mention elsewhere) will have taken due note. Mehdi Hassan in the New Statesman makes much the same point.

So, Dave, I’€™m not going to call you Dave.

I’€™m going to call you irresponsible.

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