The land that fought the sea and won. This is how the Netherlands is described in the video that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense posted on Twitter today.
Is the Netherlands really so important to Ukraine that we deserve a thank you video? “Yes”, says Frederik Mertens of The Hague Center for Strategic Studies to Editie NL. “The Netherlands has a pioneering role in Europe. The Netherlands has influence on the rest of Europe and we do our best relative to the supply of weapons. Of course we cannot compete with Germany or the United States, but we are an important player.”
According to Mertens, this is also because we are a stable country. “We are a rich country and we have a prime minister who has been there for a long time. In addition, we also have weapon systems that many other countries do not have, for example the Patriot system.” According to him, we also have a history with Ukraine because of the MH17 disaster. “Many Dutch people think it is logical that we help Ukraine and also see the benefits for the Netherlands.”
But behind the thank you video is also a diplomatic question. Because in the response on Twitter, Ukraine tells us that they would also appreciate it if we gave F16s.
Keep to class
According to Niels van Willigen, associate professor of international relations at Leiden University, this message really fits in with the campaign to keep the Netherlands and other arms suppliers on their toes. “Ukraine also knows that the support of the Dutch people is important for arms deliveries. That is why they use this public diplomacy.”
By emphasizing the characteristics of our country, a broad audience is addressed. “Not just tulips and cheese, but also our export products.” Or in this case our dikes. “Everyone likes to receive compliments and these kinds of videos also give you an idea of what you’re doing it for.”
A strategy that the Netherlands itself regularly uses. “When we put ourselves forward as a candidate for the temporary security council of the United Nations, there was also campaigning and we also handed out windmills.”
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