By Eric Margolis
July 07, 2021 "Information
Clearing House" - -
Time was when Britain’s
mighty fleets ruled a quarter of the earth’s
surface. I’ve been savoring the names of its
dreadnaughts and battle cruisers like George V,
Prince of Wales, Hood, Princess Royal, Iron Duke and
scores of other renowned warships.
Last week, the imperial
British lion made a last, feeble roar by sending one
of its new anti-aircraft destroyers, ‘Defender,’ to
annoy the Russians by patrolling off the
south-western coast of Crimea.
Russia and Ukraine both claim
Crimea, which had been Russian since 1783. After a
drunken dinner, the late Soviet leader, Nikita
Khrushchev, ‘gave’ the Crimean SSR to the Ukrainian
Russia reoccupied Crimea, one
of Russia’s most important naval bases, after a
US-led coup overthrew Ukraine’s pro-Russian
government in 2014. The UK, US and rest of NATO
insist Crimea belongs to Ukraine. Of course they do.
They engineered it.
HMS ‘Defender’s’ baiting the
Russian bear took place while NATO naval and air
forces were holding threatening war games over the
southern Black Sea to intimidate Russia and embolden
allies like Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, the three
weak sisters of Eastern Europe.
This tempest in a teapot
suddenly became a farce after a stack of soggy
secret British naval documents was found behind a
park bench in Kent. ‘Defender’s’ mission was
discussed in them, Russia’s possible response, and,
of all crazy things, potential new British
operations in Afghanistan. All to please Uncle Sam,
No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is
These embarrassing documents
caused an uproar in Britain, made the government
look like fools, and put the lie to Whitehall’s
claims that the naval operation was only an innocent
patrol. Britons are very intelligent people but tend
to be sloppy and poorly organized. Britain has been
a happy hunting ground for Soviet/Russian spies
since the war.
Small wonder the French call
Britain ‘perfide Albion.’ The Brits are masters at
intrigue, double-dealing and propaganda. British
propaganda drew the United States into two world
wars. In our era, Britain has assumed leadership of
western propaganda efforts against Russia and its
Most Russians, who tend to be
well-educated, are well aware of Great Britain’s
1853 invasion of Crimea, in league with France, the
Ottoman Empire, and the then kingdom of Sardinia.
The Crimean War was a bloody, three-year war
designed to wrest the strategic peninsula from
Tsarist control and thwart Russia’s expansion into
This nasty war saw the
British finally storm fortress Sevastopol and
temporarily reduce Russia’s influence in the Black
Sea and Balkans. For France, the war was a thrilling
return to military victories after the dark years of
the Napoleonic wars. For Britain, it was also a
triumph in spite of the disaster at Balaclava and
heavy casualties due to disease. But, in the end,
the war proved a stalemate: the foreign powers
withdrew from Crimea and left Russia to lick it
The next serious invasion
came from Germany and Romania in 1941, led by the
great German general, Erich von Manstein. The second
siege of Sevastopol lasted 250 days. I’ve walked
over many of the old Soviet forts that so long
resisted German attacks. Crimea was one of the
hardest fought campaigns of WWII. Sevastopol was
named one of the Soviet Union’s ‘hero cities’ for
its legendary resistance.
No one who knows history
should be surprised that western moves on Sevastopol
and Crimea produced such a strong Russian reaction.
Imagine how the US would react to a Russian naval
squadron staging war games in the Gulf of Mexico or
off New York City.
The point of the ‘Defender’
exercise was to humiliate Russia and show off its
weakness, all part of the longer-term
US/British/NATO strategy to splinter the remaining
Russian Federation in a similar manner that the old
Soviet Union was torn apart. That’s what the big
NATO Black Sea exercise is about. There will be many
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning,
internationally syndicated columnist. His articles
have appeared in the New York Times, the
International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times,
Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times,
Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times
Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
Registration is necessary to post comments.
We ask only that you do not use obscene or offensive
language. Please be respectful of others.