The end of the war in Ukraine is necessary to prevent European populist parties from taking the reins of power
THE war in Ukraine could end sooner than you think.
The unity of much of the West in supporting Kyiv’s fight against the Russian invasion is not as firm as it used to be.
Four months of barbarism have not only sown devastation in Ukraine, but have also dragged the global economy into the jaws of a deep recession that no one, least of all politicians, can afford to let fester and fester. develop.
Endless war is the greatest danger to Western democracy.
Soaring inflation and still crippling energy prices have gone so deep, in such a short time, that world leaders are increasingly worried about the cost of allowing the conflict in Ukraine to rage endlessly.
Revolutions happen when people can no longer afford to feed themselves.
This is why the words “negotiation” and “diplomacy” have been increasingly touted in recent weeks in European diplomatic circles.
In particular by the French President, Emmanuel Macron.
His country knows more than anyone about the revolution, of course.
Bread price hikes, among other things, have brought down the strongest regimes at least four times in France’s bloody history.
Macron does not want to be the Louis XVI of modern times – and to avoid being similarly overthrown he must, like all Western leaders, mitigate the creeping populism that is growing on the back of a “cost crisis”. of life” worse by the war in Ukraine.
The French are reluctant.
The hard left and the hard right are circling like vultures (they won more than 45% of the vote in the first round of the recent legislative elections).
The stable liberal French Republic that has survived without major revolt since 1968 is in danger.
Populism is not just a French phenomenon.
We have our own version in Ireland, Sinn Fein, which successfully feeds on the fears of those struggling to make ends meet.
One in three people in Ireland now live in fuel poverty and it is no coincidence that Sinn Fein enjoys 33% support.
In Italy, the far-right Fratelli d’Italia, which garnered just 4.8% of the national vote in 2018, now leads the polls with 22.2% – a stunning rise.
If the war continues, the ranks of the malcontents will swell.
The more Putin foments endless chaos in Ukraine, the more likely Europe’s populist parties are to take the reins of power.”
The more Putin foments endless chaos in Ukraine, the more likely Europe’s populist parties are to take the reins of power.
So you can understand the urgency now taking hold in capitals across Europe. Macron has been the most vocal this week.
On Wednesday, he warned: “At some point, when we have done our best to help Ukraine resist, when, as I wish, they have won and the shooting has stopped, we will have to negotiate.
“The President of Ukraine and his leaders will have to negotiate with Russia, and we Europeans will be around this table, providing security guarantees.”
German and Italian leaders, although less publicly vocal than Macron, agree with him that peace talks should take place as soon as possible.
This is the private message they brought to Zelenskyy yesterday during a whirlwind visit to Kyiv.
With the situation on the ground in Ukraine becoming clearer, negotiations may not be too far off.
Russia is devoting all its energies to taking control of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
Many analysts predict that Putin could declare mission accomplished if the Donbass falls. It could happen in a few days.
The last remaining battle for full control of the region’s two provinces, Luhansk and Donetsk, is currently being played out in hand-to-hand combat on the ruined streets of Sieverodonetsk.
The Russians control more than 90% of the strategically important city – and if they take it completely, the Donbass will be theirs.
They outgun the Ukrainians ten to one.
And the West has been slow to bridge this gap by supplying the heavy weapons Ukraine needs. The fear of prolonging the war is at the origin of this decision.
According to Ukrainian estimates, Putin lost up to 40,000 soldiers in this war.
Even conservative estimates from UK and US analysts put the number at between 15,000 and 20,000.
If Putin continues the fight after the fall of Donbass, he still risks a lot of deaths, and for what?
The initial strategy of taking over Ukraine in a Blitzkrieg failed. To try to do it again would be madness.
And Putin, crazier than a box of frogs, knows it.
Control of Donbass is the limit of Russian ambition.
The end of the war is therefore probably near. It will not be the magic bullet to end the cost of living crisis.
But it will go a long way to easing the enormous economic pressures felt by all and putting populist genius back in the bottle.
The age of unreal real estate
It would cost me at least €1,800 a month to rent a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Dublin – if I could find one, of course.
The huge sum just for a place to call home comes before you shell out for electric and gas bills, wifi, trash cans and associated service charges.
Then you have to eat, travel and dress.
You need a small fortune just to call Ireland your home.
There is a shocking shortage of rental accommodation, not just in the capital, but across the country.
So much so that President Michael D. Higgins lamented housing as the greatest political failure of our time.
And he’s right.
When we opened our economy to EU migration in 2004, the government failed to understand the strains such a move would have on national infrastructure, both public and private.
Since the early 2000s, we have made a miserable catch-up because every administration has failed to build enough houses and apartments, failed to invest in adequate public transport, failed to spend a lot on our health and education services and failed to see the bigger picture.
Ireland is booming. We are the third most competitive economy in Europe – the third most peaceful place to live on the planet.
But none of that means anything if there aren’t enough houses for the people who call that place home.
There is a two bedroom apartment for rent in Rennes France for €450 per month. I might just fuck off.
AFTER a lifetime of drinking Guinness – the greatest of drinks – I can’t drink one anymore.
I found out I’m gluten and wheat intolerant during the week, and since Black Stuff is literally loaded with bad stuff, it’s now banned.
I took the news as if there had been a death in the family. My future is to drink cider, wine or brandy.
Either that or trying in vain to find a gluten-free beer worthy of touching my lips.
In time, I will get used to the new diet.
But right now all I can think is that life without Guinness is life without meaning. Amen.
Confidence in one’s own word
LIZ Truss took to social media this week for her mangled pronunciation of the word Taoiseach.
Tea Sock didn’t, but I’m sure Michael Martin had a good laugh when he heard Liz’s attempt to appear on Sky’s Sophie Ridge show.
Oh, but it wasn’t that bad.
The NI Protocol was agreed between the EU and the UK government to protect the Good Friday Agreement and secure peace on the island of Ireland.
The tearing of protocol by Liz and Westminster this week is an affront to international law.
The majority of Northern Irish people voted to stay in the EU. A clear majority also supports the Protocol.
Indeed, he ensured the prosperity of business north of the border.
Politics meddles again with the good life of citizens,
Put a tea sock in it, Liz.
AS England, right, suffered their worst home defeat in 94 years,
Ireland continued to flourish on the international football scene.
New stars are born, allowed to thrive under manager Stephen Kenny.
Michael Obafemi, Chiedozie Ogbene, Caoimhin Kelleher, Jason Knight and Jayson Molumby are just a few.
It’s a joy to finally see an Irish team playing football – the long ball, kick and hope tactics of the past consigned to the trash.
The most promising is Burnley’s Nathan Collins (destined for a big summer move, no doubt).
He scored a marauding goal against Ukraine on Tuesday night which recalled Franz Beckenbauer. Collins commanded the back three effortlessly.
He’s got so much talent he could play anywhere in the park. He is the new Kaiser of Ireland.
Images of this flight to Rwanda
Reveling in the misery of others is life’s lowest pleasure, but a meme poking fun at the England football team after their 4-0 home thrashing by Hungary on Tuesday night has me reveling aloud.
The British, in their wisdom, developed a policy to send potential asylum seekers to Rwanda.
European judges ruled against the decision this week, upending the UK government’s plans.
A clever individual thought of reproducing a photo of the England team on a plane with the witty one-line caption: ‘Live photos from that flight to Rwanda’.
Harsh, but really sums it all up.