The view from inside the head of Vladimir Putin

Putin mirrorYou run an authoritarian regime in a vast country beset with economic problems, corruption, and ethnically-based insurgencies.

The nation on your doorstep – which formerly used to be an integral part of the multinational state ran from your capital for 70 years – has been intriguing with your long-term opponents in the international arena. Former client states and allies are now under the umbrella of their transnational military alliance and supra-national political project. There is ample evidence they were materially supporting opposition social movements in said neighbouring state. Continue reading

Today’s Budget and the crisis in Ukraine

ukrainian energy crisisThis year’s Budget takes place at a time of high international tension. The issue of energy security has once again shot to the top of the political agenda. The crisis in Ukraine demonstrates once again the extent to which Britain is exposed to political and economic risks beyond our control.

The fact is Britain’s dependency on external sources of energy means that we are dangerously exposed to this crisis – at a time when North Sea Oil and Gas production has fallen by over 20% since the Coalition government took office. Continue reading

Western hypocrisy towards Putin is breathtaking

Putin and Ukraine & Russian flagsThunderous Western denunciations of Putin’s actions over Ukraine ring hollow in the light of a decade of utterly unprovoked aggression against Iraq, let alone other bloody interventions in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan (repeated lethal drone strikes killing far more innocent civilians than Taliban), and Afghanistan (13 years of war), none of which was authorised by the UN.   The hypocrisy of railing against Putin for an ‘incredible act of aggression’, which has killed nobody, is truly breathtaking when the invasion of Iraq alone led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.   |But there’s more to this crisis than blatant double standards.

Ever since the Berlin wall came down in 1989, the US has treated Russia, not as a new partner in the club of nations committed (however falteringly) to democracy, but as the loser in the Cold War to be humiliated and marginalised at every opportunity. Continue reading

It’s no time to take heed of the tin-pot generals

generalIn Parliament this week, there were a number of tin-pot generals using the opportunity of the Ukrainian crisis to insist that Britain should rapidly and exponentially increase military expenditure.

But as with all international crises, it’s important to recognise the history lurking behind the drama.

Ukraine’s national borders have ebbed and flowed with the tides of history, from being the original heartland of Russian civilisation, expanding under Moscow’s rule during the tsarist era and becoming part of the Soviet Union after 1917. Continue reading

The tip-toe invasion of the Ukraine

Putin as devilRussia’s recent actions are an example of self-harm no different from a young woman who scratches her own flesh till it bleeds, for no better excuse than it makes her feel good. This from a young person with a difficult background, who has great opportunities before her, if she chose to take that route, but her anger is greater than her rational, and her need for pain, greater than her need fit in with the mainstream.

Like the idea loved by cartoonists, a devil and an angel sit on each shoulder of this woman, and whisper conflicting advice. If Barack Obama were the cartoonist, then he would draw Medvedev as the angel and Putin as the devil. Continue reading