I really cannot get my head around the war in Ukraine and the western world’s reaction to it. Let’s face it, Russia, responding to years of deliberate humiliation, taunting and provocation, finally goes mad and invades a sovereign country. The mighty West hits back by – throwing them out of the Eurovision Song Contest.
That really is a bitter blow to Vlad the Bad I am sure but is it surprising? I don’t think so.
Over the past thirty years, Britain and America have steadily lost their diplomatic power to influence while at the same time shrivelled their armed might to a frightening degree.
And why the sudden turn around of attitudes to Ukraine? A few days before the Russian invasion – which caught me by surprise too – began there was a piece in a British newspaper describing Ukraine as a country where ‘oligarchs run media empires, with politicians and officials on the payroll.
The piece went on
‘The judicial system is a festering mess where arrests, prosecutions and verdicts are used as score-settlers between political and commercial rivals.
Senior positions are bought and sold. Healthcare and education are plagued by kickbacks. The security service, the SBU, is infested with intrigue and sleaze – and penetrated by Russian agents of influence.’
The current mass media and political outrage against civilian casualties would surely be more convincing if the same politicians and reporters had bleated as loudly about the hundreds of civilian casualties, many of them inflicted by Ukrainian armed forces, in and near the breakaway regions in the country’s East.
A 2020 report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said that between January 2017 and September 2020, there were 946 civilian casualties, of which 161 were fatalities. Among the casualties were 100 children (73 boys and 27 girls).
And the same political and media establishment had no compunction about supporting the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999 (with major civilian casualties); the crazy invasion of Iraq in 2003; and the almost forgotten NATO bombing of Libya, also with its toll of children killed in supposed ‘surgical strikes.’
Yes, Putin is a nutcase and needs to be stopped but western leaders seem incapable of making solid decisions. Sanctions won’t work and I speak from experience. Britain and the United Nations imposed punitive sanctions against little, land-locked Rhodesia and it merely did our businesses good because we had to make things ourselves – and we did.
Besides, China is the real threat, and that is a regime which makes Putin look like a nice guy. Yet we stay on friendly terms with the Chinese. When their despots come to London, they not only dine at Buckingham Palace, but the ineffectual and in this case, cowardly British police crush peaceful demonstrations of protest for fear that our tyrannical guests are offended.
We continue to pretend Taiwan is not independent. We shun the Dalai Lama for the sake of trade with China. Is it precisely because we are so feeble in this struggle that we pretend to toughness in the supposed Cold War with Russia? I am all too afraid that it is.
But here we are again in a moralising frenzy. The BBC, which insisted on strict neutrality between Britain and Argentina in its coverage of the Falklands War flings itself into an ignorant and one-sided coverage of the Ukraine crisis. That idiot Clive Myrie who is presenting the evening news from a city he weirdly calls ‘Kyeeeev’, insists that Ukraine is a ‘European democracy.’ What planet does the man live on I wonder?
Meanwhile the Ginger Biscuit and his ambitious, actress wife have graciously let it be known from the luxury of their Californian mansion that they ‘stand with the people of Ukraine.’ Vlad the Bad must be shivering in his boots although I’m surprised that this weird pair have not instructed lawyers. That seems to be their first port of call these days.
And to make the situation even more farcical, as the Russians advance inexorably on Kiev, the British security services are concentrating on political correctness gone mad. Britain’s spies are being urged to consider their white privilege and declare their pronouns as Europe descends into war. This comes from a leaked report on ‘improving diversity’ in the security services, written by Sir Stephen Lovegrove, the UK’s national security adviser. It also advises against using gendered terms like ‘manpower’ and even words like ‘strong’ and ‘grip’, which can ‘reinforce dominant cultural patterns.’ And there you have it: as Putin plays the strongman, our security bosses are saying ze and zir and advising against inappropriate usage of upsetting words like ‘strength.’
Britain is no longer the powerhouse it imagines it is I am afraid. Not only do we find ourselves in a much weaker position politically, socially and economically; we are also psychologically and I fear, morally less equipped to rise to the challenge.
Is it really any wonder Vlad the Bad thinks he can do whatever he wants? He looks at the West – not just the UK, but America too – and sees democracy weakened by weak leadership and trivial rivalries. I am sure he scoffs at western obsession with human rights, self-flagellation over climate change and the endless march of the woke brigade.
He saw what happened in Afghanistan and witnessed the transformation and not for the better of once great institutions – from the BBC to the Armed Forces. There is a weakness running through Britain that cannot be denied.
Here we are arguing about unisex toilets while teenage conscripts are dying for the sake of an old man’s ego. Yes, the man is mad but he is no fool. He has chosen his moment well. While we’ve been fighting a pointless culture war, he’s been preparing for the real thing. And now we must all dance to his tune.
For the Russians only respect strength and have contempt for those who seek to appease them. Vlad the Bad is a typical example of the Russian stereotype. If western powers are to convince him that they mean business, they need to get their acts together and get serious for a change.
Bunter Johnson and Sleepy Joe Biden are talking big but how can Putin and his generals take the west seriously if despite the somewhat feeble sanctions that have been imposed already, London is still awash with hot Russian money?
On a different tack, Hemingway’s wonderful novel, The Old Man and The Sea has always been one of my favourite stories and is a permanent fixture on my bookshelves. It is a story of one man’s struggle against the elements and is often viewed as a metaphor for life itself, but the book is the latest victim of modern wokery. Students in the Highlands and Islands University are being warned that it ‘contains graphic fishing scenes.’ Believe it or not, this particular university is in an area renowned for its fishing industry.
Is it any wonder that Vlad the Bad has no hesitation about throwing his weight around?