Skip to main content

The Eagle and the Small Birds

As the Second World War drew to a close, the representatives of the big three Allied Powers, the UK, USA and USSR, met to discuss the form of world that they wished to see in the aftermath of the conflict. Churchill spoke: "The eagle should permit the small birds to sing and care not whereof they sing."

This vision of respect for small powers was quickly dismissed by Stalin, who intended nothing but a relationship based on force.

Putin has the same realpolitik view of the foreign relations of the Post Communist Russian Federation. He has bullied Georgia and Moldova, when they stand up to Russia- expelling Georgian nationals, and harassing those Russian citizens of Georgian heritage, in a racist display of xenophobia encouraged from the Kremlin. The violence in the North Caucasus has continued- with UN observers even being forced from neighbouring Ingushetia.

However, the latest display of threats against Estonia is a direct challenge to the West.

At the end of the day, although Prime Minister Ansip's government in Tallinn may be criticised for the clumsy handling of the removal of the Soviet War Memorial to the military cemetery, the fact is that Russia deliberately sent Nashi thugs to Tallinn to stir up violence. The Russian government, through dubious meetings between their diplomats and the ringleaders of the violence was clearly giving tacit support to criminal elements. At the same time, they encouraged violence against Estonian diplomats in Moscow, and the violent attacks upon the Estonian Embassy. Likewise, they sanctioned the cyber-attacks against Estonian websites.

These are the actions of a regime that does not care about the rights of a nation that suffered much under Soviet occupation. Estonia lost one third of its population and the despoliation of its economy at the hands of KGB thugs. Estonia has every right to move the controversial statue- but Putin, as the heir to Stalin in the Kremlin, still regards the destruction of the Soviet Prison of nations as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the twentieth century"- so while most of us regard the collapse of Soviet power as a liberation, in Vladimir Putin's world, it was a disaster.

The abject failure of the West, especially Germany, to condemn the increasingly authoritarian and brutal regime in Moscow is giving many Europeans nightmares. It was a German-Russian understanding in 1939 that undermined the security of Central European and prepared the way for the Second World War. The democratic, Federal Republic of Germany has a duty to speak out in defence of its European Union and NATO ally- the fact that they have not has already been noted in Moscow.

If the small birds are not given freedom to sing, then the democratic ideals of the West will be undermined. The brutal realpolitik of Russia is challenging the West- in Estonia, in Moldova and soon in Kosova, where Russia seems set to veto a comprehensive settlement that will allow independence. Estonia is a test case, and if the West fails, then the outlook for freedom across the world may start to look grim indeed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

KamiKwasi brings an end to the illusion of Tory economic competence

After a long time, Politics seems to be getting interesting again, so I thought it might be time to restart my blog. With regard to this weeks mini budget, as with all budgets, there are two aspects: the economic and the political. The economic rationale for this package is questionable at best. The problems of the UK economy are structural. Productivity and investment are weak, infrastructure is under-invested and decaying. Small businesses are going to the wall and despite entrepreneurship being relatively strong in Britain, self-employment is increasingly unattractive. Red tape since Brexit has led to a significant fall in exports and the damage has been disproportionately on small businesses. Literally none of these problems are being addressed by this package. Even if the package were to stimulate some kind of short term consumption-led growth boom, this is unlikely to be sustainable, not least because what is being added on the fiscal side will be need to be offset, to a great de