Friday, February 20, 2015

Are we in the prelude to a global war?

In his recently published book, Bill Browder gives estimates of how much Vladimir Putin has stolen from his Russian fellow countrymen. The number he gives is a truly staggering $200 billion. If this is even remotely true, it makes Putin one of the greatest thieves in human history. 

We already know that Putin is presiding over a propaganda machine that rivals and even exceeds the worst that Josef Goebbels presided over. The use of propaganda is sophisticated and relativistic- Peter Pomerantsev in his book "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible" outlines just how pervasive and evil the Putinist lie machine has become.

In the UK, the inquiry into the circumstances of the poisoning of Aleksander Litvinenko has revealed that the British government has clear and direct evidence that Russian government agents acting under the orders of "the highest authority" carried out the murder of Litvinenko, even though he was a British citizen, and the murder was carried out in the heart of the British capital. An act of murder that was intended to be an act of intimidation and revenge.

That Vladimir Putin is a warmonger is pretty much self evident. At his order, Russia has conducted open military operations against Moldova, Chechnya, Georgia and now, of course, Ukraine. Russian forces have been implicated in other conflicts- including in Armenia, Tajikistan, Kygyzstan Iraq and elsewhere.

A thief, a liar, a murderer, a warmonger. It is already an infamous record.

Yet worse seems certain to come.

Famously Vladimir Putin was assessed by his KGB handlers as having a reduced sense of danger. This sense of recklessness is allied to a ruthless perception of his own interests. He has not hesitated to use murder to achieve his goals. 

The agreement that Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel thought they had negotiated in Minsk has clearly failed. Far from halting the fighting, the Russian army has expanded its rearmament in Ukraine and forced the Ukrainian army to withdraw further, not just from Debaltseve, but now from Mariupol. Putin has continued to act in bad faith, even to the leaders of the peacemaking process.


There is now a consistent pattern of aggression and hostility from the Putinist regime. A pattern of bad faith and dishonour. There can be no doubt about what we are facing, and also little doubt that Russia, hostile and heavily rearmed, with troops practicing conventional and nuclear attacks against NATO is now a threat to democracy and freedom around the world. 

I believe the evidence is now quite clear that Putin intends to expand his war against the West and its values. He will not back down, and he will not stop, unless he is stopped. 

The failure, indeed the humiliation, of President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel in the face of the hostile intent of the Russian tyrant indicates that Russia no longer cares about what Europe thinks. The implication is that Putin is now prepared to launch open attacks directly against the West and particularly NATO.

The crisis is about to head into a far more dangerous direction. In fact, unless we arm Ukraine sufficiently to tie down Russian forces we could be facing a direct attack within weeks which will lead to a European or even a global conflict.

Vladimir Putin is already one of the greatest mafia dons- a proven liar, a proven thief on an historic scale, the author of state-sponsored murder. Some might say that his crimes- even his wars- are still on a small scale, yet in an afternoon a Putin ordered nuclear attack would make him the greatest murderer in human history too.

No comments: