Europe is on the eve of war.
Since Vladimir Putin came to power Russia has fallen sixty one places in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. It is currently 127 on the list, more corrupt than Gabon, Pakistan or Mali. The contempt for the rule of law extends across all aspects of Russian society. Property is routinely stolen, human rights are routinely abused.
Russia is the most unequal society in the world and there is no justice in one of the least free countries on the planet.
This lamentable record has been accompanied by the rise of one of the most outrageous propaganda machines ever seen in world history. Even the Soviet Union at its worst did not resort to outright lies. Now, Russia expects to be believed, even when all evidence proves that its leaders are speaking the direct opposite of the truth. Those journalists inside Russia who have had the courage to speak the truth have been silenced, often by murder.
Russia has for some time sponsored murder as an instrument of state policy outside its borders, as well as inside.
In short the Putin regime is a criminal state: it is thieving, brutal and murderous.
In international affairs bloodcurdling threats have been followed up by action. Russia has launched Illegal military incursions into Moldova, Georgia and now Ukraine.
In the past three months Russia has made military incursions across NATO airspace and seaspace, and now look set to put pressure even on Australia.
Direct threats have been made to the very existence of NATO states. Repeated Russian exercises have included the use of battlefield and even strategic nuclear weapons. In such drills, Russia has practiced the destruction of Stockholm, Warsaw and several other European capitals.
In short the Russian military is already on a war footing.
The contempt for any kind of justice has been seen in every aspect of the conduct of the Putin government: The rape of Ukraine, the crushing of all freedom inside Russia, the thuggish threats to world peace.
It is time to accept that Russia is and intends to be a hostile power and to seek the downfall of the democratic world by all means necessary. In cyberspace, the war is already raging- it is Russia that is attacking the global financial system.
The West must understand that Putin is not a man we can do business with- he is a threat that must be answered with determination, and by military means if necessary. We should be giving hard military assistance to Ukraine now and reinforcing NATO borders in the expectation of a Russian military assault, by unconventional or indeed conventional means if necessary.
Western leaders keep saying that they do not wish to fight a second cold war. Unfortunately that is not their choice.
The fact is that unless we seal our perimeter and defend ourselves aggressively now, we could be looking not at a Second Cold War, but a Third World War.
Criminals control the Kremlin. The West is already under attack. If we too are not to be subverted by the evil in Moscow we must be clear eyed, realistic and determined.
This conflict is not our choice nor, despite Russian propaganda, is the West responsible for the moral disaster of Putinism.
Open War is upon us. We must not appease the criminal thugs already feasting on the dead of Ukraine. We must fight them and we must defeat them -by all means necessary.