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PETER HITCHENS: If we send our tanks to Ukraine, Europe could turn into one big radioactive graveyard

PETER HITCHENS: If we send our tanks to Ukraine, Europe could turn into one big radioactive graveyard

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This was the moment when we began the unstoppable descent into dire peril that so many of us will bitterly regret in the future.

I won’t waste time here asking who started the war in Ukraine, or even why. Most people don’t want to know and refuse to think about it or look up the facts. They slander and insult anyone who tries to tell them. So to hell with it. I’m tired of trying.

The government claims to be in favor of free debate in universities, so the whole stage army of ‘right-wing’ thinkers and scribbles is exulting in admiration that maybe we can now discuss the transgender issue. Well and good.

But the government and its tame thinkers are not in favor of free debate on crucial national policies, and neither is anyone else.

Germany has become one of Ukraine’s main arms suppliers in the 11 months since the Russian invasion. Debate among allies over the benefits of sending main battle tanks to Ukraine has turned the spotlight relentlessly on Germany, whose Leopard 2 tank is used by many other countries and has long been sought after by Kiev

So it is left to me to tell you that it is an act of great stupidity on the part of the West to supply Ukraine with modern tanks.  Unlike everyone in the media and politics, I am not a military expert.  But I know what tanks are for, and it's not defense

So it is left to me to tell you that it is an act of great stupidity on the part of the West to supply Ukraine with modern tanks.  Unlike everyone in the media and politics, I am not a military expert.  But I know what tanks are for, and it's not defense

So it is left to me to tell you that it is an act of great stupidity on the part of the West to supply Ukraine with modern tanks. Unlike everyone in the media and politics, I am not a military expert. But I know what tanks are for, and it’s not defense

When the defense minister announced that British tanks were going to Ukraine, not a single member of parliament expressed any doubt or opposed the move. Not one. Reading the report of the non-debate is like reading the proceedings of some communist mock parliament, limp and brain dead.

The country where political freedom was born has decided to no longer be free.

So it is left to me to tell you that it is an act of great stupidity on the part of the West to supply Ukraine with modern tanks. Unlike everyone in the media and politics, I am not a military expert. But I know what tanks are for, and it’s not defense.

What we have just decided is to prolong and deepen the war. Perhaps Ukraine’s new tanks will wipe everyone out. Maybe they’ll get stuck. Maybe they’re trying to take Crimea. Perhaps soon they will take part in a Victory Parade on Red Square. I do not know. But if they cross into what Russia considers its own territory, don’t be surprised by whatever happens.

See, Vladimir Putin is obviously a sinister tyrant and in my eyes went completely berserk during the Covid panic (look at those huge tables he’s sitting at). I think he is probably capable of authorizing the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield if cornered. But it could be worse. If he gets overthrown in a midnight putsch, he won’t be replaced by some jolly, liberal-minded dude. He is replaced by someone who might see it as a positive pleasure to press the red button.

So there is a real possibility that much of Europe will turn into a radioactive graveyard and that US conventional retaliation for this (which will be furious and powerful) will take us one step further into the world of horror, loss, flight, plague and poverty that always follows war. If this happens, more people may want to find out why it started. Maybe not. I will help, if requested.

But why is Britain in this case? I know that many voters in major states in America hate Russia because their ancestors came from countries that Moscow had oppressed. I know that some neo-conservative zealots in Washington have long longed to dismantle Russia and make sure it never becomes a major country again.

I even understand their points of view. But they are at least 3,000 miles away and will not be personally affected by their own policies. We, on the other hand, are not 3,000 miles away. And I have absolutely no idea how this strategy will make Britain safer, happier or more prosperous. Rather the opposite.

Two countries are engaged in a furious battle as their deep, hard and immutable interests collide.

The sensible and decent policy for any outside power is to help them reach a lasting compromise, as the world did with France and Germany after 1945. We send tanks instead. It’s like the fire department was firing.

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