Aftermath of overnight shelling in Kiev | SERGEY DOLZHENKO

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Two different countries and situations but similar outcomes. The people of Afghanistan were promised protection and democracy but they were left to their fate at the hands of the Taliban. The people of Ukraine were promised support and protection but they have been left to their fate at the hands of the Russians.

The kind and reassuring words of the Western powers are starting to sound rather hollow and it reminds me of that infamous quote “no-one is coming to get us,” uttered many years ago as Saigon fell at the end of the Vietnam war. You are on your own, the cavalry is not coming. In fact, president Joe Biden had said no troops for Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, knew that the US and its allies would not be putting boots on the ground so he struck when his military was ready.

The words of support from European capitals and Washington DC must sound very distant to the people of Ukraine as the Russians, with all their power, close in. The Ukrainian government has made it clear they expected more from the West. The people desperately waiting at Kabul airport said the same thing.

President Joe Biden has said that the US can no longer be the world’s policeman, that is evidently clear, these days the U.S. has become less that a world traffic warden. What could have been done...? I don’t really know but I have a rather old-fashioned sense of fair-play and still believe that a promise is a promise.