By David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain
Review by David T. Jones
In a concise speech on March 6th to the European Union (EU), British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed all of the pertinent realities regarding Ukraine. On a topic that has absorbed the efforts of hundreds of speakers to date and doubtless will be the subject of hundreds more, Cameron made cogent, albeit obvious points:
- Russia has violated Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity and “acted in fragrant breach of international law”;
- Consequently, we must find a way to defuse tensions, de-escalate, and stabilize the situation;
- Nevertheless, Russia’s illegal actions cannot go without response.
For its part, Cameron noted, the EU has suspended negotiations on more liberal visas for Russians, stopped work on a comprehensive EU-Russia agreement, and pulled out of preparations for the June G-8 Summit in Sochi.
Cameron was realistic about Ukraine—it faces “massive challenges.” While the EU is prepared to offer substantial assistance, the new Ukraine government must implement “far reaching” reforms to repair the economy and (emphasizing the obvious) tackle corruption. Moreover, the May election must be clearly “free and fair” for all Ukrainians.
For Cameron, Ukraine is the most severe crisis for Europe “this century.” His conclusion is that we must “stand up to aggression and uphold international law.” We know from history that “turning a blind eye… stores up far greater problems in the long run.”
This isn’t Churchillian prose, but it makes the point.