Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Putin Problem

There have been times when Britain and Russia have been allied.

There have been other times when our countries have, sadly, been mortal enemies.

After decades of cold war, it appeared while Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were leading Russia that there was a genuine possibility that we could move from a relationship of hostility back to one of friendship.

But sadly while Vladimir Putin is leading Russia in the county's present direction that is impossible.

In a policy as foolish and far more ruthless as anything the West ever got wrong in Iraq, Putin has helped President Assad devastate Syria even further - not that Assad, DA'ESH and various other groups were not doing enough to wreck the place already - and helped flood Europe with refugees.

Putin's Russia has deliberately attempted to destabilise and take territory from Ukraine, a country which gave up nuclear weapons on the basis of promises from the USA, Russia and other powers including Britain to respect their territorial integrity. This was probably the worst single blow to any attempts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons since they were invented.

Putin has buzzed our territory with military jets, made cyber attacks on British companies, and spread disinformation hostile to our country.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but I find it very hard to believe that any intelligent, well-informed and open-minded person can seriously dispute anything I have written above.

Unfortunately some of the disinformation Russia is spreading is very clever in latching on to what people want to believe.

To the looney left, people like Jeremy Corbyn who hate the United States of America and NATO, Putin offers a tissue of sympathetic lies telling them what they want to hear about how the problems of Europe and the world are America's fault.

To the Eurosceptics who hates the European Union, Putin offers sympathetic lies telling them, too, what they want to hear, that the problems of Europe and the world are the EU's fault.

One of my biggest concerns about politicians from Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage to Jeremy Corbyn is that they seem to me to be dangerously naïve about Putin's Russia.

British politicians, journalists and voters alike need to apply a dose of healthy scepticism to everything that comes out of RT (formerly Russia Today) and all Putin's other propaganda outlets.

That does not mean assuming that what Russia says is never true: we do not want to be on bad terms with Russia for the sake of it, and we do have some common interests in defeating the likes of DA'ESH.

Indeed, one of my biggest concerns about Russian Imperialism in the Middle East is that they are repeating some of the same stupid mistakes we in the West made, and it will have the same result - driving people into the arms of the Jihadists.

Britain and the West need to stand up to Putin much more firmly. And any political candidate who cannot see the need for strong defences and a robust united approach between the Western powers is unsuitable for high office. That is perhaps the most important of the many reasons I would regard the election of Jeremy Corbyn as PM as a catastrophe for Britain.

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