India have won their first two games with big margins, swamped Uzbekistan 16-0 in their opener then defeated Singapore 16-1.
In terms of hypocrisy that borders on meaningless waffle, the injunction accompanying the latest supply of arms by America to Ukraine must take the cake. Washington is sending $300 million worth of air defense systems and ammunition to Kyiv but has said these must not be used to carry out attacks within Russia, but only to defend Ukraine. The latest consignment takes the value of American arms shipments to $37.6 billion, a sum nearly equal to the annual defense budgets of Japan or Italy. With breathtaking logic, the Americans argue that they do not support attacks inside Russia, because they do not want situations that “suck in the West and Nato and the United States” and in order to “avoid World War III”, but concede in the same breath that “ultimately, President Zelenskky and his military commanders (will) decide what they’re going to do.” Should the Ukrainians accept the American injunction, as the latter believe they will, they will in effect be fighting with their hands tied behind their backs.
But events in the past few days make it clear they are doing no such thing, having been accused repeatedly, and credibly, of taking the battle to Moscow. The military hardware supplied by Washington includes 155 and 105 mm howitzers, which can reach targets between 18 and 25 km away; high-speed anti-radiation missiles; tanks and tactical vehicles; thousands of grenade launchers, laser-guided rocket systems and millions of rounds of ammunition. To believe that none of this will be used for attacks inside Russia is naïve in the extreme, nearly as naïve as a statement of the US Defense Department that Ukraine will keep to its promise of not using US-built F-16 jet fighters against targets beyond Ukrainian borders. Surely, even the Americans possess enough sense to realise that every attack on Russia ~ regardless of the source of the hardware or the location of the battleground ~ carries with it the risk of sucking the West and Nato into the war. Sun Tzu would turn in his grave at being confronted with Washington’s precept for warfare.
It is unfortunate that no serious efforts have been made by any leader in the West to address the causes of the war that Russia launched last year, nor have any meaningful peace initiatives been taken up. Certainly, and as has been said in these columns, Moscow’s concerns about Nato’s borders reaching its doorstep ought to have been addressed appropriately. Now, and as long as the powerful armaments industry is able to keep its order book full, the West seems content to give Ukraine and its president all the weapons they need, with no thought being spared for the human misery the war has caused. While Russia cannot be excused for having fired the first salvo, the West is as much to blame for allowing this situation to be reached.