Beyond the media manipulation, what Ukraine materially received from visiting western European leaders last week was one (1) battery of French self-propelled howitzers - and some pretty words.
By way of comparison, Ukraine has previously been clear that it requires 1000 guns - or some 330 batteries - and has thus far been pledged around 150. France, which in fairness has previously provided one battery, is estimated to currently have 77 howitzer-type weapons, and is upgrading to around 100 by 2024. Australia, basically tiny and 10000 kilometres away, has donated six guns.
Indeed, the lack of real support for Ukraine - underscored by the Hollywood-like choreography of the visit of elected officials of Germany, Italy, France and Romania to Kyiv - shows how technocracy enables terrorism by Putin's Russia.
Technocratic governments, which Europe has long prided itself on, emphasise evidence, pragmatism and rigorous process over ideology, idealism or vision. As a result, policy frameworks and political statements - like the overdue support of Ukraine's EU candidacy - count more for European technocrats than providing life-saving heavy weapons.
There is nothing wrong with technocracy per se; it's about more merit in decision-making. The problem is when technocratic aspects leave no space for other considerations like experience, historical understanding, beliefs, commitment to the preservation of human life, and even emotion. It's like when the tools become more important than what they're meant to be building.
Indeed, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine shows how technocracy struggles to both recognise a massive threat to Europe itself and to make a simple choice between good and evil.
This is because of European technocracy's characteristics:
Predominant narratives are rarely questioned. Western European experts, after decades of conditioning, continue to fall for the myth of Russian might. Ironically, this is despite all the hard evidence of Russian failure now before them.
These constraints classically combined last week with the western Europeans being basically incapable or unwilling to do anything more than adopt the minimum common denominator - support for EU candidacy - for Ukraine. A cynical view is that the western Europeans are actually waiting for Ukraine to fall, so as to never have to actually decide on the candidacy.
It was interesting to note that the Ukrainians had to formally present their visitors with the sanctions package proposal developed by the Yermak-McFaul group at Stanford University, including further energy bans. This was a less-than-subtle reminder that Europe's response to date - as significant as the Europeans may think it is - is not proportionate to the tasks of defending Ukraine, winning the war, and establishing a truly safer and more prosperous global order.
As Serhiy Zhadan, Ukraine's poet laureate, pointed out (with a littérateur's sense of justice), in three months of invasion, Ukraine has acquired more weaponry from Moscow than it has from Rome, Paris and Bonn. In those three months, it is believed Germany has paid Russia some $12 billion due to record-high energy supply - with energy revenue accounting for 66 per cent of Russia's budget.
Another writer, Michael Hnatyshyn, commented to me about President Zelenskyy that it's not every week you meet with those funding the genocide of your people, and are then expected to thank them for their rhetorical flourishes.
So as Russia's war on Ukrainians further shifts to one of psychological terror and "ethnic cleansing by artillery", it is clear that Ukraine cannot and should not count on real support from western Europe's political elites, even as Europe's citizenry seems to take the opposite view. This is not a revelation - and undoubtedly not a surprise to Zelenskyy, his team and his military commanders - but a useful confirmation of the status quo.
They can now further build their plans to fight the war, with their genuine allies outside western Europe. While the logistical challenges are formidable, Ukrainian plans and execution have been successful to date, such as victories at Kyiv and Kharkiv. Its just plain dumb to rule out the probability that they will continue to be so.
Along the way, whether it's standing in a military T-shirt amongst his besuited western European visitors, or whether in his unique style of communication and administration, Zelenskyy may well be building an inclusive, values-based and agile form of government that is in direct contrast to both technocracy and autocracy.
The emergence of such a new form of government - or rather the reinforcement of democracy - may well be another of Ukraine's future victories and examples to the complacent and privileged political elites of western Europe.
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