Bernard Guetta: Zelensky’s real harvest

2023-02-13 | Political initiatives, Geopolitical analysis

One would, of course, prefer that the tanks were already delivered and the jets on their way. Thus, Ukraine could win victories faster, forcing the Kremlin to negotiate its withdrawal, and fewer young lives, Russian and Ukrainian, would be taken every day. We, Europeans are too slow to respond to Volodymyr Zelensky’s pleas for help, but do we, the French, have that many reasons to be so self-flagellating?

The British Prime Minister seems to be promising fighter jets to the Ukrainian president and immediately we are making him a hero, next to whom we look like nothing but wimps looking for a second Munich. Volodymyr Zelensky leaves Paris without plenty of Rafales in his pockets and shame on Scholz and Macron who fear, as they are immediately accused, of incurring the wrath of Vladimir Putin. Joe Biden is preparing to go to Poland, the hub of arms deliveries to Ukraine, and this would be the proof, it is said, irrefutable, definitive, that neither Paris nor Berlin count any more in the eyes of the Americans, that the Poles will soon constitute the first army in Europe, far ahead of us, the French, and that they will thus shift the centre of gravity of the Union to the East.

Since the Ukrainian president’s London-Paris-Brussels trip, this has been the dominant refrain. We would be useless, dead, swept away by history, we keep hearing, but before proceeding to our collective burial, let us not forget that French arms are infinitely precious to Ukraine, that it was France that convinced the rest of the Union to grant it the status of candidate country, and let us review the facts.

The British Prime Minister had barely raised Ukraine’s hopes when Ben Wallace, its Defence Secretary, already tempered his words. Like France, the UK is not ruling anything out but nothing is decided and even less done. If France is a coward, it is not the only one and neither it nor Great Britain are in fact cowards, because the problem is not whether or not to defy Mr Putin.

Read the full publication.