Putin is making the West's Cold Warriors look like fools

For all the anti-Russian rhetoric, we've been exposed as posturing, weak and divided

22 March 2014

William Hague was on rather shaky ground when he argued this week that Moscow has chosen ‘the route to isolation’ by recognising Crimea’s referendum. On the contrary, it is the European Union and the United States who look as if they have seriously overplayed their respective hands in Ukraine. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, the cry of ‘western hypocrisy’ has been heard much louder than complaints about Vladimir Putin.

Even in the UK, mainstream opinion is steadily becoming more critical of western interventionism and our ‘New Cold War’ posturing, despite some pretty one-sided media coverage and much establishment tut-tutting. Independent thought is still viewed with suspicion, and even disgust, by some — and I should know, having consistently argued that we should negotiate with Moscow, not threaten tough sanctions which we’ll never impose.

But such queasiness about being labelled ‘pro-Russia’ has lately been eclipsed by a growing sense among British voters and commentators — increasingly articulated — that the West has gone way beyond its jurisdiction in Ukraine and made a bad situation far worse.

The ‘Crimea crisis’ is the most serious East-West standoff since the USSR collapsed. Even if the worst is now over, this skirmish has changed diplomacy in ways that go beyond the sovereignty of a sun-kissed Black Sea peninsula not much bigger than Wales.

For one thing, the gaping rift between the EU and America stands exposed. The Washington hawks gained almost no traction in western Europe, where there was little appetite for conflict. Even if Russia didn’t supply a third of Europe’s oil and gas, other commercial ties still bind. EU trade with Russia was £280 billion in 2012. America’s total was a twelfth of that, little of it in hydrocarbons. No wonder the hawks have been frustrated that the EU won’t do more.

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Upheaval in Ukraine has also seen Germany emerge as a major international player. Berlin, its diplomacy so often hobbled by residual 20th-century guilt, has moved decisively to protect its interests. The Russo-German axis, we realise, is strong and getting stronger. With great determination, many German firms have built lucrative Russian trading links over the last two decades. Along with the likes of VW and Siemens, thousands of ‘Mittelstand’ — small and medium-sized — outfits now operate in Russia’s far-flung regions, making everything from machine tools to plasterboard. Russia has become Germany’s biggest single-country trading partner — a relationship that has much further to run.

Such commercial links put the idea of a united western world baring its teeth at Moscow firmly in the last century. Berlin has staunchly resisted meaningful sanctions, ensuring the EU follows suit. The Russian-speaking Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has indulged in some face-saving anti-Putin rhetoric. But she has also skilfully positioned Berlin as a credible arbiter, respected on both sides, between Moscow and the West. This is a major diplomatic development.

Something has happened in the States, too. Yes, President Obama’s opponents keep bashing his 2009 attempts to ‘reset’ relations with Moscow. Certain TV news networks will continue to describe ‘Soviet Russia’ as a ‘rogue state’ — despite Moscow’s logistical and intelligence assistance in the ‘war on terror’. Yet even the White House has come under domestic pressure to go easy on sanctions. US thoroughbreds, including Ford, GM, Boeing, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and John Deere have between them sunk tens of billions of dollars into Russia-based production facilities, as have several US oil majors.

Defence industry lobbyists will forever play up the ‘Russia threat’ but any US president now has a growing corporate lobby in the other ear, stressing the ‘Russia opportunity’. Recent events have highlighted this, providing a partial future counterweight to the ubiquitous Capitol Hill interventionists.

John Kerry, in his role as Obama’s sabre-rattler-in-chief, has looked tired and irrelevant. ‘You can’t invade another country on a completely trumped-up pretext,’ the US Secretary of State told the world via Twitter. It was a message that, far from galvanising support against Russia’s actions, attracted widespread derision. For all their use of social media, the West’s Cold Warriors have lately come across as analogue politicians in a digital age.

Another striking diplomatic development, also likely to endure, is that China has moved closer to Russia. ‘We don’t see any point in sanctions,’ says Beijing’s ambassador to Germany. ‘It’s time for western powers to abandon their Cold War thinking,’ adds China’s Xinhua state news agency. Enemies for much of the Cold War, Russia and China are forging deep commercial ties, their annual bilateral trade up sevenfold in the last ten years, to almost £60 billion. The stronger the Russia-China axis, the more power flows to the East — and our efforts in Ukraine have united Moscow and Beijing against us.

The question remains: why did the West back a group of rock-throwing thugs as they forcefully ousted a Ukrainian president who, while no angel, had been legitimately elected until 2015? Why did we scrap a deal, signed by three EU foreign ministers, to form a ‘government of national unity’? Why is the current Kiev government ‘legitimate’ when its creation was opaque and transgressed Ukraine’s constitution?

International law says ‘territorial integrity’ must be preserved and Crimea shouldn’t join Russia without Kiev’s say-so. But the UN Charter also enshrines a right to ‘self-determination’ — a right which Crimeans, for all the finger-pointing about a rigged ballot, have expressed in no uncertain terms.

This Crimea crisis has changed a lot. America and the EU are split, Germany is a new diplomatic powerhouse and Sino-Russian relations are closer, too. Above all, the West’s influence has diminished — by our bull-headed determination to support the upending of Ukrainian democracy and by threatening ‘consequences’ we could never impose, while reinterpreting international laws we ourselves routinely ignore. We stand demeaned and weakened, with far less ability to influence events in the future.

Liam Halligan writes the Sunday Telegraph’s ‘Economic Agenda’ column.

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Show comments
  • Peter Stroud

    A far more balanced article than that penned by Alex Massie. Well said, Liam Halligan.

  • D Whiggery

    Note to Alex Massie:


    Although I would take issue this line:

    “For all the anti-Russian rhetoric, we’ve been exposed as posturing, weak and divided”

    We’ve not been exposed as anything, as we have had nothing to do with it. Rather it is our political leaders who have been exposed as posturing, weak and divided and the reason for that is that they are disconnected from the source of their credibility and power……………..i.e. us. If they could just realize that over the last 15 years they’ve gone way to far and now find themselves out on a limb with no back up in terms of public opinion we might start to get somewhere.

    Whatever your opinions on Russian ‘democracy’ Putin evidently has the Russian people behind him on this issue.

    If Western politicians have been happy to undermine their democracies to achieve other objectives they can hardly cry foul when Putin abuses democracy to achieve his objectives.

    It’s time for our politicians to stick their heads in, remember who they’re representing and put our democratic house back in order and they could do it within a week if they had the moral courage to do so.

    • mikewaller

      Cobblers! The whole thing as an almost straight re-run of Hitler taking back the Sudetenland in 1938, the inactivity over which commentators of left and right have taught us to despise. Now we have had our own “Munich” and have revealed the same chicken-like behaviour. Trying to dress it up as some failure in Western democracy is the kind of stunt Weggie-Benn would have tried to pull.

      BTW, if you want to get some understanding of the true nature of the Stalinist Russia of which Putin so regrets the passing, catch Martin Sixsmith’s wonderful “The Wild East” which is currently being re-broadcast on Radio 4 between 1:45 and 2:00p.m. Today’s episode gives a powerful insight to why ethnic Ukrainian’s are so strongly opposed to any form of re-integration with Russia.

      • allymax bruce

        What? You mean fool ourselves to tune-in to more BBC Zionist EU Cold War rhetoric?
        NO chance; you have no credibility.

        • mikewaller

          The words “sack”, “poor” and “sad” immediately floated into my mind on reading your nonsense.

          • allymax bruce

            Your mind is calibrated to think those things; because that’s all you Zionists have planned for us Europeans. Facts don’t lie; who is at the root of all evil today?
            And, it’s not the US.

          • https://belasariust.wordpress.com/ solly gratia

            Steps back and reaches for tin foil hat…

          • allymax bruce

            solly, they are trained trolls; they utilise ‘circular arguments’ that go nowhere, and always lead back to their Imposition argument. In other words, they manipulate the honesty of debating to never allow the true argument/debate to proceed, develop, and come to a reasoned conclusion. Like I say, they are trained at it; hence, their minds are calibrated to think that way. Besides, if the Zionists get their way, then all Europeans won’t need ‘tin foil hats’; it’ll be our last prayers.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Za Jews cause all the trouble in the za world.
            And I say this with all due respect.

          • allymax bruce

            Hi Jack; it’s not the Jews, it’s the Zionists. Zionists are only a small proportion of Israel, but do all the shouting. The Peoples of Israel are great people; and there’s many religions too, but they’re not causing any problems. It’s the Zionists which make it look like they represent all peoples in Israel, which isn’t true.

          • JohnnnyRebel

            I used to think like you, that the majority of Israeli Jews were good people and did not support land stealing, murder, terrorism, and apartheid against the Palestinian Arab population. Then, I read multiple polls. More than half of the Israeli people who participated in these polls said they supported the inequality of basic human rights and that
            the Palestinians deserves less….less access to drinking water, less access to good education for their children, less pay for equal work, less freedom to travel and worship in their churches……..less of everything. So, apparently it is NOT just the Zionists who are a corrupted and supremacist” tribe of racists living in Israel. It is the Jewish people of Israel themselves.

            At one time in history, I do believe that there were a few good Jews in Israel. But now, by 2014, most all of the “good Jews” have emigrated from Israel because they were outraged by the killing for land, drug dealing, gun running, white slavery trafficking, HIV outbreaks, and racist “Jim Crow” laws that are enforced throughout Israel, to keep the indigenous population oppressed and “homeless.”

          • JohnnnyRebel

            I used to think like you, that only the Zionists were the “bad guys.” I used to believe that a large portion of Israeli Jews were good people and did not support land stealing, murder, terrorism, and apartheid against the Palestinian Arab population (including Christians).
            Then, I read multiple polls and I was shocked!!! More than half of the Israeli people who participated in these polls said they supported the inequality of basic human rights and that the Palestinians deserve less……..less access to drinking water, less access to good education for their children, less pay for equal work, less freedom to travel and worship in their churches……..less of everything. Additionally, these same Non-Zionist Jews who were polled, stated that the Jews should continue building Jewish settlements on stolen West Bank land. So, apparently it is NOT just the Zionists who are a corrupted and supremacist” tribe of racists living in Israel. It is the also the non-Zionist Jewish people of Israel themselves.

            At one time in history, I do believe that there were a few good Non-Zionist Jews living in Israel. But now, by 2014, most all of the “good Jews” have emigrated from Israel because they were outraged and disguisted by the killing for land, drug dealing, gun running, white slavery trafficking, HIV outbreaks, and racist “Jim Crow” laws that are enforced throughout Israel, to keep the indigenous population oppressed and “homeless.”

          • mikewaller

            If you took the trouble to read what I had to say last week about the reason Israel has such serious PR problems in Europe you would be better able to identify the orifice whence cometh you observations.

          • saffrin

            The words ‘brainwashed idiot’ entered my mind when I read your post.
            BBC indeed.

      • https://belasariust.wordpress.com/ solly gratia

        Oh well, that settles it, Martin Sixsmith on the BBC. An end to all controversy. there is no way this is an ‘almost straight re-run’ of Hitler. Why is it all the uninformed can only bring up Hitler, perhaps WW1. Go read Peter Hitchens.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          You mean Chris` dumber younger brother?

        • Peggy Williamson

          Pardon my question, Hitler got his start and his paid peoples followed. A pay check makes all the difference when following who is right? As an uninformed, but avid student, please continue the education. I shall read Peter Hitchens, as that name sounds as if he might be related to Christopher who did the major EXPOSE on Mother Teresa’s funders. Final question, Was Mother Teresa altruistic or not?

      • james smith

        You stupid brainwashed fool.

        • mikewaller

          Please, please spare me your Jesuitical brilliance.

      • Tasma Terron

        What an idiot.

        • mikewaller


      • rtj1211

        Err…excuse me. The Ukrainian Govt was overthrown by EU/US-funded folks who promptly closed down all Russian-spekaing media and said that Russian was no longer an official language. How is that not deeply threatening to the Russian-speaking people of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine? Yanukovych was overthrown because he refused to sign the EU trade treaty which was deeply disadvantageous to his country.

        Putin did not ‘walk into’ Crimea and I’d like you to provide the evidence that he intimidated the Crimeans into voting to rejoin Russia.

        Ukrainian democracy was broken by the overthrow of Yanukovych but the West and their front-men/women.

        Crimeans took a decision on the basis of that which the USA and the EU can’t stand.

        The question which isn’t being asked is whether the Crimean people are happy with the decision which they have taken and whether by doing so they threaten the rest of Ukraine.

        I would also like you to confirm that you approve of far-right nazis from Kiev going to Donetsk and threatening Russian-spekaing folks who spoke out against what was going on.

        Is that normal, acceptable in your world??


        • mikewaller

          I abhor any kind of violence other than in the prosecution of a just war or protecting citizens from criminal activity. With such a mindset, I believe that civilised countries should set an example by resolving conflicts by discussion and diplomacy, and most certainly not by massing tanks on the border of sovereign countries whose territorial integrity they have signed a treaty to respect. As for the West wanting desperately to incorporate the Ukraine within the EU, forget it. We already have serious indigestion in respect of other States which decades of malign Soviet rule have reduced to near economic basket-cases. The pressure to draw closer to the West came from Western Ukrainians who had had such appalling experiences at the hands of Stalin in particular (starvation to the point of genocide and a quite disproportionate share of the infamous terror) that they remain desperate to avoid a repeat.

          Nor are they alone in this. To we silly old British, Russians are no more that amusing people who speak like Meerkats; but to those who experienced being part of the Soviet Empire, they are the stuff of nightmares. Against this background, it is not surprising there were excesses when the highly corrupt Yanukovych proposed going back to the future. And yes, one can see that that turn of events would frighten ethnic Russians, not least because they would think it might be pay back time. However what decent folks around the world hoped for was the big powers getting together and sorting it out like adults. Sadly, Putin’s Russia never fails to disappoint.

          • Vladimir Sergienko

            Mike, your rendition of russo-ukrainian relations betrays you as an utter layman in this matter. The format deprives me of a chance to lecture you on the matter. Just one small detail. Back in 1961 as a kid, a son of a Soviet officer, stationed in remote West-Ukrainian villages, I was shown numerous mass graves of Poles murdered by local Ukrainian nationalists. Heard numerous stories from local peasants about irrational atrocities committed against jewish and polish population during WWII. Luckily there were no Russians there at that time! And, Mike, equating Russians to Stalinism is a criminal concept! And please stop threatening us with a “pay-day”. As you have already seen its counterproductive with my people.

          • mikewaller

            You really worry me about the Russo-Soviet formed mind. I did not threaten you with a “pay-day”. I was simply making a point sympathetic to Russians living in the Ukraine by saying that they may well have been fearful of Ukrainians thinking it pay-back time for years of Soviet oppression and cruelty. Nor was I saying that all Ukrainians are, or were, heavenly angels. Stalinist Russia must forever carry the shame of, for example,mass starvation, the terror and Katyn wood as we must for our part in the slave trade and other barbarities to native peoples, the Germans for the Nazis etc etc. So I take it as read that Ukrainians will also have their own dark secrets . However, stupid and naive as it may be, some of us hope for a better world in which rather than the principle “might is always right” we would settle international disputes by diplomacy and negation. That is why your Mr Putin is such a crashing disappointment to us. His sad predilection for posing as Russia’ answer to Rambo has always seemed to us rather distasteful. Now we learn that that is what he seems to think he is. It does not bode well for the future.

            One final point: given the kind of regime the Soviet Union had, what would you tell the son of a Soviet officer? Certainly nothing that reflected badly on those whom his father served. Native peoples often told British colonial administrators that they considered the British “firm but fair”. Do you think that was what they actually thought?

          • Vladimir Sergienko

            Russo-Soviet mind? As a layman you have failed to notice that my last name was Ukrainian! What about a Ukrainian-Soviet mind then? Do you know that the line between Russians and Ukrainians is thinner than the one between mancunians and liverpudlians? The Soviet oppression you refer to didn’t discern between Ukrainians and Russians-both being victims. That’s why your reference to “pay-back time” is immoral and stinks of schadenfreude.
            If Putin’s response to”might is power” is distasteful so Blair’s catering to Bush’s warmongering is tasteless! Let me remind you of the sad anniversary today – 15 yrs ago the West shamelessly ripped the Pandora box apart by attacking Yugoslavia without even a UN consent. So reap the harvest!
            And finally, stories of nationalist atrocities were told by people who mostly had suffered themselves from the thugs.

          • mikewaller

            Genetic similarities mean nothing. It is how people perceive themselves that matters. Britons in American fought a war of independence with genetically identical Britons from Britain during their War of Independence.

            As for surnames, I have long since disregarded them when I came to appreciate that Gerry Adams – one of the IRA’s leading thugs – had a name of obviously English origin. Again your willful misconstruing of the context in which I used the term “pay-back time” shows to me that you have mind that can only address issues from one direction and could be used to justify virtually everything.

            As to what Western Ukrainian’s think about their erstwhile masters, I learned from Martin Sixthsmith several days ago that they actually have a statute in Kiev dedicated to the millions who died during Stalin’s collectivisation programme. I don’t think that this is a form of self-flagellation.

            And regarding the attack on Serbia, this was something undertaken with the utmost reluctance by the West – with no prospect of territorial gain – simply because we were sick, sick, sick to death of appalling Serbian atrocities which the Russian Federation could have reined in but didn’t. Compare and contrast that with the situation in the Crimea.

          • Vladimir Sergienko

            With no prospect of territorial gain, you said? How come it ended up with a considerable territorial loss for Serbia? And don’t you know 2000 (400 of them kids) civilians died during humanitarian bombardments of Serbia? Compare and contrast that to the number of insurgents lost in Kosovo. Do these numbers make you sick? And please leave the Crimea alone or i’ll have to remind you of the Malvinas (or the Falkland Isles as you call them). There are quite a few similarities between these cases.

          • mikewaller

            I find your mind rather depressing. Surely you can see that although Serbia most certainly did lose territory and lives, none of that was to the advantage of the West. It was simply the result of a solution that had to be imposed because the appalling behaviour of the Serbs kept constantly reminding us that the we had not left behind the savageries that so scarred the first half of the 20th century. It may amaze you to learn that we do not like the mass slaughter of prisoners or the use of extreme terror and murder as the primary means of securing “ethnic cleansing”. Where Russia should forever hold its head in shame is in not using its enormous influence in Serbia to bring about a peaceful settlement which would almost certainly have left Serbia much better positioned.

            As for “threatening” me with a possible reference to the Falklands,you just reveal your antiquated mindset. I live in England and, having very much had our fill of world domination what follows from it, we are perfectly happy to discuss anything and everything. We leave to less mature countries the sad old mantra “My country right or wrong”.

          • Vladimir Sergienko

            Your obsessive preoccupation with the state of my mind signals that our dialogue is wearing thin. Nevertheless in my desperate attempt to rescue your own mind from the twilight zone I can’t help offering a letter from Holland generously submitted by a friend of mine:Just a personal reaction to Western barking, related to Crimea’s independence …

            Let’s imagine that Crimea is one of those beautiful Russian girls. In another time
            the then head of the family, Nikita Khrushchev, decided to marry her off to a man,
            called Ukraine, without asking her and against her will. After a number of unhappy
            years her husband suddenly goes berserk: He stops to pay her household-allowance,
            he starts to scold and beat her. The girl wants a divorce. She asks her family to help
            and protect her, and to take her back home. The now head of the family, Vladimir
            Putin, agrees – wouldn’t you? – , but adds that he can only take her back after she’s
            officially divorced. She asks her husband to let her go, but he refuses and beats her
            again. Her lawyer points out to her that the terms in their prenuptial agreement allow
            her to get a one-sided divorce, and the case is quickly settled. She goes back home
            and her family wraps her in their loving arms again. This would have been the happy
            end of the fairy tale, if the neighbours would have stayed out of this family-affair.

            Those stupid Russophobes – blatantly ignorant of history, addicted to telling
            lies, and stubbornly deaf to other people’s truths – don’t realise that their
            mouse-roaring only has a Monty Python-effect. Obama is a master of words, but
            by no means of matching deeds. Putin manages to accomplish what he says. And
            Europe’s government consists of a gibbering, cowardice, confused and
            opportunistic bunch of overpaid nitwits – everybody knows that and accepts it
            to no one’s but my amazement. Europe is broke, the US are broke, but Russia
            isn’t, nor is China. Let the lemmings collectively jump into the ocean, trying to
            ruin Russia’s economy and bring it down to the present Western level, thinking
            that they’re right, because they are programmed to force Russia on its knees
            (Margaret Thatcher said it in so many words: The Russian population is to be
            minimised and exploited to dig up their resources for the benefit of the
            West). Putin pulled Russia out of the swamp of the Eerie East, and is in the
            process of giving people back their national pride, which they had completely
            lost during the Yeltsin-regime. He is reigning a country of 11 time-zones,
            almost twice the size of the USA and four times larger than China. How then
            can one take remarks from a Luxemburg foreign minister seriously? Europe can’t
            even govern itself, and it’s a lot smaller than Putin’s territory. Europe has
            no leaders, and Obama is a one-eyed rhetoric in a world of blind people. They
            are no match for a Churchill like Putin, who really wants the best for his
            country, albeit enriching himself (they say) at the same time, but that is
            acceptable, even expected in this society. I am convinced that the European
            “governors” have no idea what their people want, and can’t care less. “Nice
            weather”-rulers, not at all geared for the bad weather they (co-)created
            themselves. Europe? My foot! The idea was a sane one, but the execution is as
            poor as can be. Democracy? Let someone define it for once and for all,
            unambiguously, for all concerned, so that we know we are talking about the
            same thing. I’m sure we aren’t at the moment. The long-term, global strategy?
            They are unable to implement it and unwilling to adjust it to eventual
            power-shifts. Let “the West” demand of themselves, what they demand of others;
            presently they don’t, at all. Oh well, politics have never interested me
            anyway, as – like the church – it has only to do with the abuse of money, people and
            power (a.o.), and not with the tasks the appointed (I didn’t say “the chosen”)
            assumed, but if there’s going to be a WW III, the superficial, tasteless,
            hypocritical, megalomaniacal U.S. of A. and amateurish, stupid, greedy,
            fragmented Europe will be to blame; the UK won’t be, as it is America’s
            obedient dog. A pet can’t be blamed for what its master does, can it? Let the
            Americans celebrate their 4th of July-independence day, when they did the same
            to England, as what Crimea has just done to the Ukraine (much swifter and with
            much less bloodshed, thanks to its guardian angel.ru).
            Gerlag, March 23d 2014

            Gerlag Van Gendt

          • mikewaller

            I suspect that we should just give up trying to see eye to eye. All I can say is that no one in the West with any sense would object to the Crimea going back to Russia if that is what a majority of Crimeans want. However what we do very strongly object to is this being brought about by a massive display of force. It sets such a bloody awful precedent. Had Russia called all the other treaty signatories together and said it wished to have an independently run and monitored plebiscite carried out and would stand by the result, it is difficult to see how that could have been refused, particularly in view of the willingness of the locals to make their feelings known. Frankly for your friend to seek to defend what has happen with a torrent of abuse about half the other countries in the world just reveals to me the weakness of the core argument. And that is not a position from which I am likely to be shifted.

            Finally, just in case you think this merely a strange English way of looking at things, last night I heard an interview with the one member of the Duma who had the courage to vote against what has been done. His arguments were virtually identical to mine i.e. it is not the outcome but the way in which it was brought about that is the the great offense to international law and the international community.For me, your silly friends scatter-gun name calling simply re-enforces this view.

          • SaintMarx

            The Soviet oppression did distinguish Ukrainians from Russians. Ukrainian nationalism in particular had to be crushed, and history re-written so that Ukraine could be re-imagined as “Little Russia”.

          • Vladimir Sergienko

            Ukrainian nationalists led by Bandera massacred in 1943 300000 innocent Poles. Yes, they had to be crushed and they were duly paid in kind. The term Malorossiya (Little Russia) does not require reimagination – it has existed since times immemorial and is even less insulting than “Ukraina” which means “outskirts” in old Russian.

          • Pravda01

            The English sound more like Meerkats, because they always talk unfounded rubbish.

          • mikewaller

            Two new entries for the English/Russian dictionary:

            English Russian

            Diplomacy Armed Force

            Debate Common abuse

        • Pravda01

          The Russians indeed had not to invade the Crimea peninsula, because they were already there by agreement.

          • mikewaller

            They were there in the context of an international treaty which,in return for the Ukraine surrendering all the nuclear weapons it had been left with, guaranteed the Ukraine’s then borders. Russia was a signatory. In violating that treaty your Mr Putin showed much the same integrity as Kaiser Bill who, in 1914, similarly violated the treaty guaranteeing Belgium’s neutrality, dismissing it as a mere “scrap of paper”.

      • Daniel Maris

        NOt just ethnic Ukrainians but a lot of Russians as well.

      • Pravda01

        None sense! Hitler was an Austrian Jew and a lunatic – and Sudetenland can’t be compared with Crimea.

        Did UK have the right to give away the Palestinian land to the self declared so called Jews? Those are not even Jews – Jews are Semites and therefore the belong to the Arab tribes of Semites.

        • mikewaller

          The Crimea/Sudatenland fit is an almost perfect with the latter occurring at a time when Hitler was most certainly not mad. As for the Balfour Declaration, in respect for a homeland for the Jews, midst the horrors and risks of WWI promising virtually anything to anybody is perfectly understandable. Remember how Lenin promised “Land for the Peasants” to win the civil war? And what a joke that was.

          And as for post WW2 Palestine, the UK sought a partition solution which failed.Then, having bankrupted itself fighting Nazism for 6 years (note when others came in) it withdrew leaving the two factions to sort it out between themselves. The rest is history.

    • allymax bruce

      Our Westminster politicians won’t ‘stick their heads in’ to anything that their Zionist Marxist Masters tell them not to. Can’t you understand this? Westminster doesn’t represent us. They represent their Masters!
      If you want my advice, just ignore all the bluff, bluster, and guff coming from the talking-heads like Hague etc; spouting pash is their way of showing us they are doing nothing.

      • mikewaller

        Those of your mindset currently have a really serious problem. There used to be millions in America who thought much the same as you but now many of them have switched to seeing Israel as a place to be venerated as a bulwark against the ant-Christ and a crucial ally in a forthcoming Armageddon. Instead, they now see the global threat coming from a strange composite of the US Federal Government, the United Nations, men in dark suits who wear sunglasses and fly about in black helicopters and Muslims.

        To psychologists who specialise in such things, the common thread is seen to be a deep need for an enemy (who it is isn’t critical) who can be used to explain the suffer’s own failure to make the progress in life he or she think they deserve.Can’t swear this is entirely true of you, but if the cap fits……..

        • allymax bruce

          The Neo-Cons are the enemy within USA. Ther sooner the American citizens realise they are being used as war, banking, and taxation fodder, by the Neo-Con Zionists, like James Chirkick, (Foreign Policy Institute), Billy Krystal, (NPAC), airheads like Liz Wahl, and all the Zionist controlled tv stations like Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc, the sooner America can return to being a good country. The only cap that fits is the cap on your learning abilities.You, are an idiot; you know nothing about psy’, where-as, I do. So get lost you ignorant imbecile.

          • mikewaller

            I cannot say that I am a fan of those on your hit-list but what lets it all down is the dreary old Antisemitism. I think Murdoch a self-serving monster but as far as I know he has no Jewish ancestry. So instead of being taken seriously in terms of your Neo-Con critique, you come across as a sad old bigot.

          • sarah_13

            Well said Mikewaller.

          • komment

            Do you mean ant-Jewish when you say anti-Semiticic which has a much larger diaspora.

        • Pravda01

          This Armageddon myth – applies only to the land of the stupids: USA.

          • mikewaller

            Yet another brilliant contribution to the debate!

        • blaster

          You were almost there…. So very nearly there.

          Let me give you a hint….. Do you think there are no specialist psychologists on the Washington payroll with similar ideas?

          How does a declining superpower up to its neck in debt and with smoke and mirror markets face an existential challenge to its privileged currency status, its banking system and almost inevitable collapse?

          It needs to create a scapegoat or take the blame itself.

          • mikewaller

            Read your history books, what America routinely does when it falls out of love with the world is turn in on itself i.e. isolationism. You might read it as behaving like a spoilt child; but to American minds it will be seen as having tried so hard to show the rest of the world what Americans see as the sheer superiority of “the American Way” (i.e. American exceptionalism) with so little success, America will now leave the damned fools to get on with it and stay within their “shining city on a hill”.

            And if we are making US/Russian comparisons, it seems to me noteworthy that no American president in my lifetime has ever stooped to Putin’s childish need to present himself to the world as a born again Rambo. Must tell you something.

      • Christopher

        You are dead right. Look at actual policies, look at legislation, look at foreign policy, look at precisely how Western governments rule. Time and time again (notwithstanding blunders) our governments favour shadowy corporations, banking cartels and hegemonic agendas. Global warming, out of control bureaucracy, the corruption of financial institutions, military posturing towards countries that are no threat to us, the castration of real news journalists and the decimation of the peoples economy, all serve certain interests that are not aligned with those of the public – individually or collectively. One doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to come to the above incontrovertible conclusion. But it does at least explain why things are the way they are. And there is a solution. We need to push to dramatically increase the number of referendums on important issues. We cannot trust the politicians to carry out our wishes, so any important decision that goes beyond a certain threshold of either financial, military or social effect on the public – should require the support of a referendum. And if the people make a mistake, they will have to live with it.

    • jazz606

      “..it is our political leaders who have been exposed as posturing, weak and divided and the reason for that is that they are disconnected from the source of their credibility and power……………..i.e. us…”

      You’re not wrong there.

  • revkevblue

    At long last a reporter starting to question the jingoism.

  • Cyril Sneer

    Well that’s a relief, I did wonder when our water carrier journalists would start to realise what we realised oooh for about the last decade. I mean, precisely how many countrys does one have to f ck up, how many regimes does one have to replace before we get a journalist who starts seeing what we’ve been aware of for ten+ years.

    “We stand demeaned and weakened, with far less ability to influence events in the future.”

    I could be wrong but I have a feeling this is what Obama wants. He is either utterly incompetent or utterly devious as an anti-american.

    • allymax bruce

      Nothing to do with the President; he is Commander in Chief, he controls the US Military Services. It’s not the US Military that’s involved in any of these illegal coups, propaganda-scaremongering, or Cold War rhetoric; I think you’ll find it’s the CIA, controlled by the Republican majority House of Congress.

      • Steve Rice

        THE CIA IS AN EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE US GOVERNMENT. You’re ignorant and misinformed.

        • allymax bruce

          I’m fine with being ‘ignorant & misinformed; you, on the other hand, are colluding World War 3.
          Everything I’ve said is true; and it doesn’t matter how you ‘dress-up’ your manipulating weasel words that try to deflect the truth. Here’s what I think of your nasty FPI; Zionist scumbags!

          • tjamesjones

            well that was dignified.

          • allymax bruce

            ‘dignified’ ?
            tell that to all the Syrians that have been murdered, pogrommed, hacked to pieces by mercenary terrorists; had their children chemical warfare gassed; all by Zionist funded/controlled fundamentalists. Ofcourse, always maintain the stiff upper lip?

          • tjamesjones

            Sorry, who are you Allymax Bruce? What’s your name?

          • allymax bruce

            allymax bruce
            And, you don’t need to say sorry. This is a political magazine; sorry isn’t required; complemetary argument is.

      • Cyril Sneer

        “Nothing to do with the President;”

        Utter tosh.

  • Tasma Terron

    Great article, thank you!

  • revkevblue

    If the EU did not exist, this clash of two Orwellian empires, one in its sunset the other in ascendence, would not have come to pass.
    But as long as the EU continues to exist, we will have to get used to confrontation, caused by the avarice of Brussels in it’s empire building, unless they are curbed from antagonising the Russian bear who is more than able to defend against any perceived threat to its borders and it’s country’s security, they the EU, and their ambition for an empire to surpass the British or the Romans, could plunge us into a new cold war at the very least, and a third world war at the worst.

    • allymax bruce

      The truth is, the EU doesn’t give a *** about us in Europe. All the EU Commission want to do is manipulate our Nation-States, to meet their Zionist objectives. When scumbags like James Chirchick, and all the EU financed NGO’s, (see RT article by Patrick L Young ‘Why Did Europe Choose Chaff over Wheat?’), get to run our tv stations, then all you’re going to get is nihillistic war-mongering talk.
      Be very afraid none of these Zionists get into the Whitehouse; then we’re all doomed.

      • Steve Rice

        Wow, blaming the Zionists. Have fun rotting in hell!

        • allymax bruce

          You don’t believe in ‘hell’; good argument. Not.
          What? No Liz Whal to stage a tv coup?
          You’re starting to get your Zionist antics noticed; all across the world. It won’t be long before the good ol’ realise what yoos Zionist scumbags are up to.

        • independentskeptic

          It’s the JOOOOOOOOOS!

      • https://belasariust.wordpress.com/ solly gratia

        ^ Welcome to my world…

    • mikewaller

      Where do you people come from?

      • revkevblue

        Not from the home for the blind, where you seem to live.

    • Baron

      Quite, revkevblue, and in the meantime, this should be a waking call for us all never let those who yield power to do so without subjecting themselves to the approval of the ballot box.

      The ghastly Brussels apparatchiks for whom nobody voted, and their 20-year old plan for Ukraine. Arghhh

  • allymax bruce

    I feel sorry for the peoples of Ukraine; they have no idea what they have let themselves in for, allowing the EU to illegally ‘run-riot’ in their country. I expect to see, regions in the East of Ukraine Donetsk, Kharkiv, Mariupol, etc, to engender regional Militias to protect themselves from the Kiev-coup bandits. Ukrainians, by not acting earlier against the EU-sponsored bandits, have given themselves a fight that will last for years now. If any country doesn’t stand up to outside aggression, then they will become enslaved. I don’t see the US Military getting involved in this. I don’t see the Russian military getting involved in this. The Ukrainians will have to do it by themselves now; NATO, under the auspice of US guidance, will act more in a Peacekeeping role, than as an aggressor. The EU have screwed-up big-time; their Zionist owners know no other way other than to drive forward at everybody’s expense, using everybody-else’s expense! This will ultimately finish-off the Zionist-controlled EU as we know it. Hallelujah.

    • Nana bella

      There’s a limit to how much antisemitic crap you can write in a decent magazine. You surpassed your quota!

      • allymax bruce

        There’s no ‘quota’ to Free Speech; only what yoos Zionists want to brainwash us to think there is. So get lost you old witch!
        As far as anti-semetism is concerned, your-lot are the biggest on the planet; your ‘Homeland’ is forcing Orhtodox Jews into Militatry conscription against their beliefs; you disallow the Palestinians born in Israel to have the same Rights. But that doesn’t stop ‘Yahoo signing a ‘pact’ with Jerry Brown, California Governor, to annexe a specific part of Cal’ only for Zionists. You sacrifice all others, even your own, to achieve your megalomaniac land-grabs.
        There;’s a limit to how much anti-christ crap you can write in a decent magazine. You surpassed your quota!

        • Nana bella

          I’m glad the Orthodox Jews got such a great supporter and defender.

          • allymax bruce

            The Orthodox Jews are one of the true good peoples on this planet; they are not Zionists. I sometimes think that’s why the Zionists hate them. The Orthodox Jews believe in peace, and they only want to study their beliefs; not go around shooting Palestinian children. Seems to me bella, you’ve been brainwashed to think you’ve got to take sides; you don’t. Your Jewish religion is amply rewarded in Peace; the Highest calling is one of Peace, and the Orthodox Jews know this.

  • zanzamander

    The question remains: why did the West back a group of rock-throwing thugs as they forcefully ousted a Ukrainian president

    The answer is not too complicated. It is because we have always supported rock-throwing thugs. From Palestinians to the Muslim Brotherhood thugs in Egypt and the so called Arab Spring in the rest of the region. Look at Syria, we want to bring down a regime, again although not perfect to our taste, but still far more tolerant and accountable than the bunch of human flesh eating fascists we’re supporting.

    When I say we, I really mean the US. Ever since the fall of USSR, power has gone to US’s head. Also they seem to have lost all moral compass and sense of fair play. They instigate coups, connive, arm terrorists, invade countries, kill innocent people in drone attacks and harass, spy on and attack individuals and states they don’t like – all with impunity. And we get dragged along with them.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the coup in Ukraine was meant to be an attack on Putin for his support of Assad. They couldn’t get him in Syria, so they got him in Ukraine.

    Yes, Bush was no Gandhi, but against him, Obama looks like a little Hitler.

    • allymax bruce

      Wow, that didn’t take long for the Zionists to try and deflect the blame onto the Palestinians & Egypt for what the Zionist-controlled EU are doing in Ukraine!

      • zanzamander

        That makes me an Assad supporting Zionist. Wow!

        Lets face it, beyond the hatred Jews, your interest in anything else is pretty minimal.

        • allymax bruce

          I’m not surprised you’re an Assad supporting Zionist; considering your Zionist cabal set the fundamentalists against their own people, it does make you a traitor; of every type! But, deception, dishonesty, and pure lies are all your-lot do, so I’m not surprised, nor conned, by anything yoos liars say or do. You are a Zionist Troll, that thinks by using Reverse Premise arguments, you can fool others (set the indigenous on themselves!), to think the obverse of what your real intentions are. Time to pay your own way in this world, and stop livng your Zionist parasite ways off the rest of us. And you can stick your ‘hatred’ crap up your r’s; your Imposition threats don’t work with me. Scumbag.

      • rtj1211

        Excuse me, Victoria Nuland was up to her oily neck in what started this whole episode off.

        Don’t tell me that the USA isn’t involved in this: if it weren’t, why are all it’s senators and Congressfolk hollering for sanctions, big time, against Russia??

        Well, because they do little trade with Russia and they’d like to sell a lot of gas to Europe.

        • allymax bruce

          rtj1211, I’m surprised you’re so gullable to not see that there’s a power struggle going on in the government; manipulated by the Right-wing NeoCons & Zionists against the legitimate USA elected government. You must consider those who are given jobs in the administration, are those that are hand-picked by the sponsors/funders of the eventually elected campaigns. The money-changers fund both sides; Republicans and Democrats; thus, will place who they want, (to a certain degree), in the eventual winning administration. The only time this has been abrogated was when President Obama managed to get Chuck Hagel into his position, and that had to go through a fraught process! Don’t be so niave, rtj1211; take my advice and watch a serial called 24 hours, and Homeland. It’s all there for you; for 24hours, everything is straight-up as it suggests For Homeland, you’ve got to reverse the premise on all the suspects, plots, etc to find out who the ‘baddies’ are. Or even better, read ‘Gatekeeping for Zion’ by Philip Giraldi. And, ‘The Israel Lobby’ by John J Mearsheimer.

  • https://belasariust.wordpress.com/ solly gratia

    Great article, especially about recognising the wall-to-wall one sided media coverage we’ve had to endure so far. Perhaps we will see more objective analysis coming from leader columns and TV pundits (although i won’t hold my breath).

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Our leadership here in the UK are apparently intending to do some warmongering with the US and the Ukraine’s military. I cannot find the words to express my anger. It was foolish way back of them to sign a deal ‘guaranteeing’ Ukraine’s integrity – more posturing. My sympathies have been with Russians from the outset. Now they may get us involved in a war engineered by EU and US imperialist ambitions. Maybe Cameron can go up to the Russian border with a gun and insult them to their faces himself instead of sending someone else. He is to me one of the British Elites who stand in the way of a free and independent England, we need freedom from our British rulers. As has been said elsewhere, not in my name.

  • SouthOhioGipper

    What about when he makes a play for Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania? Will the UK bend over for Putin when those people are reconquered as well?

    This isn’t about warmongering. This about the facg that the post cold war borders are supposed to be fixed, non negotiable lines. Putin simply has no right to use force to redraw the map. What about that basic fact eludes the West?

    • allymax bruce

      You’re talking rubbish; Russia never intended to get involved with any dispute; it was forced to because the Crimea asked it to. As for the other countries you talk of, ‘Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania?’; nobody has said anything about these countries. So why are you bringing them into this discussion? Because you are either a Fox/Cnn/Msnbc watching tv-junket, that believes everything these Zionist mindbending tv stations say. Or, you’re another Zionist Troll.

      • Steve Rice

        Lol, yes, Crimea asked it too. I think all the jew hating has gone to your brain. You jealous you weren’t chosen? Sucks for you pal. I would love to see u talk all your nonsense about Zionists in front of some IDF soldiers.

      • SaintMarx

        “Russia never intended to get involved with any dispute; it was forced to because the Crimea asked it to”.

        Russia was not forced to. “The Crimea’ did not ask for anything, some individuals there did. Russia was not “forced” to send an invasion and throw Ukrainian troops out of their own bases and ships.

    • Dave Cockayne

      That is a very different situation, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are all members of both the EU and NATO, Russian troops invading one of those countries means a declaration of war against nations representing 60-70% of World GDP and 60-70% of world defence spending including multiple nuclear armed nations. Russia would lose very severely in any non nuclear confrontation with NATO and I don’t think anybody comes out a winner from a nuclear confrontation. You do understand these basic facts don’t you?

  • saffrin

    Posturing, weak, divided and WRONG.

    • allymax bruce

      Both Presidents’ Putin and Obama deserve the Nobel Peace prize. I would add the Chinese President Xi Jinping to get a Nobel Peace prize too; they are all on ‘war watch’ to make sure this war-mongering rhetoric doesn’t get off the ground!

    • SaintMarx

      “Putin deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.”

      Now that’s truly funny.

      • saffrin

        He stopped the EU’s inspired public unrest without loss of life or incident didn’t he?
        Had Putin not intervened the EU and USA would have been selling the Ukraine rebels arms by now.
        I grew up believing we were the good guys but over the last thirteen years or so all I have seen is a West ruled by war criminals.

  • Baron

    Liam, you’re a star, the first cool, level headed take on the unfortunate debacle from an MSM journalist.

    The one aspect of the whole affair you’ve missed on is the importance of the Crimean naval base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the only deep port facility that doesn’t freeze this side of Russia. The new violently anti-Russian government in Kiev would have almost certainly scrapped the deal Ukraine had with Russia, lease it to NATO. Our meddling in the Ukraine has furnished Putin with a solid pretext to bring Crimea back to where it had been for centuries, and he did.

    • rtj1211

      Well said.

    • SaintMarx

      There is no evidence that Ukraine would have “scrapped the deal” of leasing the ports to Russia.

      • Baron

        Within hours of self appointment, the new government that included members of the Svoboda party, decreed that Russian will cease to be an official language in the country even though some 17% of Ukrainians are Russians, and another 30% of Ukrainians are Russophones (google what the ‘-phone’ stands for).

        This, SaintMarx, must have been a hint of things to come.

    • dr feelgood

      The pathetic posturing of hague and cameron, plus obama and the rest of the EU is absolutely meaningless. What can the west do about it really? Nothing! In fact NOTHING AT ALL. We are hardly going to start WW3 over the annexation of crimea, which is total already. Putin is becoming super popular in russia for sticking it to the west and calling their bluff.

      A bit like the falklands war making the deeply unpopular thatcher goverment suddenly topping the poles. Crimea has been autonomous since being repatriated to ukraine in the late 50’s and we all know there is a 60% plus russian ethnic population there. I mean really, are the west going to do much more than the same macho posturing during the georgian ossetia crisis which led to sanctions. Yes the sanctions were all too temporary and were scrapped very quickly.

      Have a look at a amap of ukraine/crimea/russia. Yes the pretext was the russian naval base security. Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that there is a huge russian port at novorossiysk??? It is already used for civil freight and is less than 50 miles away and is no way going to be frozen all winter. It would be useless as a business hub if that were the case!

      So the whole pretext is crap. Simple. Its russian muscle flexing after the US and Nato lied to thje USSR at its break up promising not to try and entice the ex soviet states on their doorstep to join nato. The right wing elements involved with the new ukranian government hardly promote confidence in me personally, but they are bending over backward to identify with the west. The west is lapping it up. Why has there been no mention of russia’s ability to open novorossiysk port as a naval base negating the whole need for crimea in the first place??

      The news channels in the UK have really been spouting a lot of crap since the crisis started. BBC news website actually had a piece about renting crimea to russia for a fee! It also had a sanctimonious tone suggesting this was a fantastic idea. Why dont the republic of ireland just rent northern ireland out while we are at it. Or get Palestinians rich backers to rent out the west bank and gaza to israel for £3 trillion a year?

      There is nothing the west can do about this crisis and its about time they admitted they are NOT going to change any minds in russia with this mach posturing on every news channel for weeks!!!!!!

  • Baron

    Your alluding to the affinity between Germany and Russia, currently the two most powerful nations in Europe, hits the right button, too. Both tribes appreciate order and discipline, can endure hardship for the success of the whole, go for strong leaders if they sense the leaders are batting for them rather than posturing to ‘save the world’. It may not be a mere coincidence that both nations are backing leaders who were nurtured in a regime that had a well defined if totally misguided objective.

  • Dave Cockayne

    Europe wants Ukraine because it has 50 million well educated, non jihadi people that it would like to add to it’s workforce. Ukraine is looking to Europe for jobs and to improve it’s economic situation and Russia wants Crimea because of Black Sea Fleet. The sensible thing would have been to let the 2 million people of Crimea declare independence and join Russia without any Russian military involvement or protest from the west. Instead we are having a sabre rattling contest with no sabre when the other side has 200,000 troops and we look about as credible as Comical Ali did…

    After Iraq and WMD we can’t really play the moral high ground card can we?

    • rtj1211

      Not as principled human beings we can’t, but that might exclude most Western Politicians from those who can’t. They will play the pseudo-moral high ground and get laughed at by thinking citizens whose democratic freedoms decrease by the year as the EU becomes ever more powerful.

    • cbinTH

      I think in the case of Iraq things were perhaps of a genuinely different character – in that the motivations were different, even though superficially both cases are united by the fact that a country was invaded – but in every other sense I agree with everything you wrote there.

      What it reminded me of, though, was the Portillo comment on the Daily Politics a little while ago. Essentially, the same in reverse, that Russia “wants Ukraine because it has 50 million non jihadi people that it would like to add to it’s population”. Michael Portillo believes that Russia is worried about its rising Muslim minority, and presumably the tendency of peripheral Central Asian states to want to break away from domination by the centre.

      I don’t especially rate Portillo, but he’s not a nut, and it’s an interesting idea.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Vlad the Impaler strikes again.

  • michael1929

    I’m glad to see that Secretary of State Kerry has said, “You can’t invade another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.” I’m glad to see that President Obama is sanctioning individuals responsible for invasions on phony pretexts by ordering their assets frozen in the United States, barring from doing any business in the U.S. and making them unable to make transactions in American dollars. I hope President Obama directs Secretary of State Kerry to look in the mirror and go sanction himself for voting for the invasion of Iraq on a completely trumped-up pretext and for personally participating in the invasion and occupation of Vietnam.
    One might argue that the invasions of Iraq and Vietnam were different from what happened in Crimea, and I would need to agree. The invasions of Iraq and Vietnam involved the death of a million times more people than killed by the Marathon bombers, and involved the use of a million times more explosives than used by the Marathon bombers (in what we called “shock and awe” at the time, but which really involved pure terrorism). On the other hand, what happened in Crimea occurred without any shots being fired or bombs being dropped, and at the invitation of the Crimean Governor. After what happened in Crimea, there was a referendum with the options being to join Russia or remain part of the Ukraine under the terms of the 1992 constitution. On the other hand, after the invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein and anyone from his Baath party were not allowed to run in the elections. Moreover, to ensure that Saddam Hussein was unable to run in any future election, he was hanged in a botched hanging that practically ripped his head from his body.

    • rtj1211

      And what’s even more hilarious is that Saddam Hussein was a key US asset in the 1960s – 80s, run by head of the CIA George H Dubya Bush, before he was elevated to being Ronnie’s sidekick in 1980. He was brought to power on a gravy train of a CIA-funded coup and bumped off when he had outlived his usefulness. The USA supported him in the Iraq-Iran war when he so kindly mutiliated thousands using chemical weapons, something the USA is supposed to abhor but managed to turn the other cheek to when it suited them to.

      • allymax bruce

        The CIA, and the legitimate USA Presidency, are two different things. Don’t confuse the two; both are running different paths; controlled by opposing ‘peoples’.

    • cbinTH

      Well, at least they are consistent. Kerry and Obama were both opponents of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Kerry, who had no choice about going to Vietnam, stood in 2004 on a “let’s get out of Iraq” ticket, and had previously burnt his Vietnam medals, or thrown them away, or whatever.

      I don’t really see how you can prefer the brutally honest thuggery of Russia, which has put the willies up all of their neighbours (who, thanks to the colonial Soviet legacy, are all faced with considerable Russian minorities), to the West, which at worst analysis is at least conflicted in its self-assertiveness, and at best analysis has at least some moral scruples.

      If you really think there’s no difference between Western governments today and Western governments a hundred and twenty years ago, then I can see why you wouldn’t oppose a backwards step in international practise. But for all those of us who feel that the trends over that time have been generally positive, the latest events are a bad thing.

  • TBill

    Great article. I’m American and agree completely. We’ve been hypocrites and never bothered to see this situation from Russia’s point of view.

    • Terry Field

      Russia is the future; it is rough, tough, poor, mean and a proxy for the not-too distant global human condition.

      • Trofim

        Russia is tough, rough, much, much richer than it was 25 years ago, much, much freer than it was 25 years ago and has colossal reserves of just about everything the world is going to need in the future.

  • Terry Field

    This is the West’s Singapore moment.
    The up-and-coming see our pathetic weakness and will profit from it.
    There will be more and more opportunistic land-grabs; and ‘we’ will do nothing about it.
    Because we cannot do anything effective.
    Nous sommes stuffed.
    Look at the tigers who protect us:

    The only one I respect at all is the Germywoman,

    • Trofim

      And Terry Field’s grasp of Russian is either (1) poor OR (2) non-existent.

  • Gillian C.

    Just seen Liam Halligan on ‘This Week’

    You nailed it Mr Halligan by saying what most of us ordinary commenters have been saying ever since the EU/US instigated coup in Kiev, Ukraine took place.

    Andrew Neil came across as the silly old buffer that he has become. Well done LH, best contribution to This Week, for a very long time.

    • SaintMarx

      Where is the evidence that this was an “the EU/US instigated coup in Kiev”?

  • pp22pp

    Awesome article. Another thing that has become very obvious over both Ukraine and Syria is the enormous divide between Western “elites” and their sullen and resentful populations.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Mr Halligan is an excellent writer on economics – one of the few readable elements of the DT. However 2 wrongs don’t make a right and the Soviets have just annexed part of another legal entity at the point of a gun.

    A full disclosure on Mr H’s eastern business deals and commitments wouldn’t go amiss either when discussing matters Russian.

    • MrJonathanHornby

      I’m glad to be able to break the new to you, the soviets have done nothing, they no longer exist.
      Perhaps a full list of all our business interests wouldn’t go amiss when discussing international politics. Do you have shares in oil and or MIC companies??

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Thank you for lightening my darkness.

        • Daniel Maris

          I am not sure Putin thinks the Soviet age has finished.

          • Trofim

            Then you might care to take a look at this:


            (Putin clarifies to the questioner, what he is often quoted as saying about regretting the demise of the USSR):

            Кто не жалеет распада советского союза – у того нет сердца, а у того кто желает его восстановления в прежнем виде – у того нет головы.

            “Those who don’t regret the breakup of the USSR have no heart, but those who want to resurrect it (the USSR) have no brain”.

            But western journalists, for some reason, only ever cite the first clause. Curious, that.

    • Sandra Ellen Webber

      I didn’t see any guns pointed at the joyous Crimeans as they voted unanimlously. You are an idiot. brainwashed. Let me guess, American??

  • stevealbury

    Liam Halligan raises some good points for discussion – what is the point of the Helsinki Accords if they threaten trade? Why can’t a corrupt dictatorship plunder its own country and then grab bits of others provided they don’t threaten trade? What right to Western governments have to question the actions of others when they themselves have intervened in places like Kosovo where people were being massacred but trade flows weren’t impacted? In fact I think it’s time for a proper debate on the importance of never having any political discourse which doesn’t place maintenance of corrupt business practice and money laundering in London at its heart.

    Just like his witterings about inflation this is drivel and of course being lapped up by the usual appeasers and apologists for tyrrany – oh I forgot the USA and EU are the biggest tyrranies of all yada yada

    • MrJonathanHornby

      “Why can’t a corrupt dictatorship plunder its own country and then grab bits of others provided they don’t threaten trade?”
      The EU is definately a corrupt dictatorship but as yet is isn’t quite a country, but the overthrow of a democratically elected govt. they did support. So indeed what use the Helsinki Accords when the EU didnt recognise the sovereignty of a democratically elected Ukrainian govt.
      You did lose me when you brought up Kosovo, when NATO support of a previously proscribed terror organisation resulted in the annexation of sovereign territory, ethnic cleansing and corruption, the very things they supposedly intervened to stop. You also had the bonus of massive increases in drug and human trafficking by the very people supported. Intervening under the pretext of “humanitarian” intervention generally implies merely piucking a different tyrant and multiplying the number of people harmed.

    • cbinTH

      Thank you, and thank heavens for your comment.

      A well crafted bit of sanity.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “Why can’t a corrupt dictatorship plunder its own country and then grab bits of others provided they don’t threaten trade?”

      Certain corrupt dictatorships need to be overthrown, while others are allies deserving of military support. It’s called realpolitik.

  • Arin O’A

    The Eagle can flap its
    wings all it wants the Bear is laughing.

  • http://olivierfehr.ch Olivier Fehr

    The West did precisel support the “upending of Ukrainian democracy” in Kiev, by helping a putsch of fascist junta remove a democratically elected president. The junta is completly illegitimate according to the constitution of Ukraine (which, btw has been completly thrashed), but now signs agreements all over the place which are not in favor of the people of Ukraine.
    That’s a nice piece of work for western “democracies”. Let’s not forget, that the EU is equally un-democratic as the new powers in Ukraine.

  • blanyarx

    Why the outrage? Overthrowing foreign governments has been an important activity of the USA and the UK for decades. They enthusiastically support “rebels” except of course when they surface at home, when they are ruthlessly kettled, crushed, prosecuted and imprisoned. Rebellion, revolt and revolution are strictly for foreigners and even a mild mannered demo on home ground by students brings out thousands of police in full riot gear complete with dogs, tazers, batons and – coming soon – water canon.

    “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    • Daniel Maris

      Fair comment – Kiev style demos would not be tolerated in London now.

  • serguei_p

    Does Liam Halligan also believe that Neville Chamberlain was right to support the right of self-determination for German people in Sudetenland?
    They have also “expressed in no uncertain terms” in the elections to Reichstag that followed the annexation.

    If the events made Russia and China became closer, how it is different from Germany and the USSR becoming closer in 1939?

  • Aethelflaed

    Excellent article, and very well done on This Week yesterday (iplayer 20.3.14. min 4.30 in) Andrew o’Neill was indeed on the defensive with his low grade BBC research and propaganda.

  • Zionistout

    American here. Most Americans, I would say 80% do not want war with Russia and never have. We don’t want sanctions on Russia either. We don’t want any thing to do with what is going on in the Ukraine. The Jewish overlords here in the US like Bill Kristol and and Goy sell out John McCain are still foaming out of their mouths though.

    • SaintMarx

      Where do you get that 80% figure?

      The US has an obligation to Ukraine, per the Budapest memorandum. As does the UK. As does Russia, which clearly violated said memorandum.

  • David Lindsay

    Angela Merkel won national prizes for Russian as a schoolgirl in East Germany.

    Vladimir Putin, once the KGB Bureau Chief in Berlin, is an absolutely fluent German-speaker.

    But does either of them even speak English?

    The world has changed since 1991, all right. But not necessarily as we have been smug enough to have assumed.

    • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

      Why don’t you just say it–the “collapse” of the USSR was a strategic ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn said it could be back in the early 1960s.

      The entry of Russian troops into Crimea occurred due to the real ant-Communist demonstrations taking place throughout the Ukraine, where after 23-years Lenin’s statues were all coming down, statues that would have all been toppled if the “collapse” of the USSR was real.

      In fact, every town in Russia still has a statue of the hated Lenin, with dozens of such statues in the larger cities, over 50 in Saint Petersburg.

      As for the political establishments of the, they were co-opted long before the “collapse” of the USSR, which is why the West refused to (1) VERIFY the “collapse” of the USSR; (2) de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces; and (3) arrest and detain the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Ministry of the Interior control the populations in the larger cities during, which control continues to this day, explaining why those monuments to Lenin still stand after 23-years.

    • Trofim

      Putin certainly speaks some English. Merkel speaks very good English. Does it matter? You see, Russian and German are real languages, spoken by real people.

  • Three Friends

    I think we can all agree that Hussein Obama is dangerously delusional.

  • ButcombeMan

    For my money Liam Halligan consistently offers better analysis of what is going on in and around Russia, than any other commentator, or indeed William Hague, with all the resources of the Foreign Office at his disposal.

    I am personally deeply suspicious of orchestration by George Soros of the western response to Ukraine. He has allegedly put millions of dollars in there

    Soros is very good at mischief making, to his advantage & he seems to have Obama in his pocket.


  • Blazenka Hudson-trograncic

    A lot of Western politicians and apparachniks actually liked the old cold war, it gave the comfort of an ‘enemy’ locked down by mutually assured destruction (we might as well have called it ‘Eastasia’ or something like it) and it gave jobs and defence contracts. Now they can have all that again, except the ‘Russia’ today is not an ideological expansionist enemy.

    • SaintMarx

      ” ‘Russia’ today is not an ideological expansionist enemy”

      Truly? They just forcibly annexed Crimea. Which lands are next?

  • AlexanderGalt

    Right on the money.

    What the hell were we doing in Ukraine trying to lever it away from Russia. It was always going to end in tears.

    There’s a very witty post on the same subject called: “Only Two Possibilities” at:


  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Game, Set and Match to Vladimir Putin.

  • ming_mow

    Putin 4, Obama and the West 0 . hahahaha

  • Сибирь

    “The Vineyard of the Saker”
    “How the US dream of world supremacy was buried in Crimea”

  • jewelsade

    Well according to thé very friendly, kind,
    have never gone to WAR,
    freedom fighters,
    superior killers,
    I can make rules but you can’t,
    I Can take what I want but you can not,
    I Can kill 1 million people in thé middle east after 9. 11 because most are wrong and stupid and we are right, 3000 Americans died
    I Can have à NUK, but you can not because with us in thé West it is safer, and with you it’s dangerous.
    Our women are more beautiful than yours because jesus is also white, even if he came from thé middle East.
    Any rules or laws that you past in your country you must ask thé West for permission,
    I Can carry out slavery killing many human being and never say sorry for it because we are superior indeed, we can also hate blacks that live in the West USA and Uk, then go to Africa get à warm, singing and dancing welcome and prétend to care about these people,
    I Can spy on thé inferior people of thé world and get support from thé kkk, ie UN and NATO
    I Can shoot and kill any black and brown individuels anytime I feel like,
    I Can take gold and diamonds from thé rich black children of africa ànd give it to my angle white people s of thé west, and give So call donations that still do not reach africa,
    I Can insult any country freely, China, Russia, ect…

    When will this world be free of nasty, evil? Black and Brown people s of thé world, you will have your day of Freedom Will happen stay strong.

  • Sandra Ellen Webber

    Let me remind some of the very ignorant people here that Russia spans 11 times zones and has HUGE undiscovered reserves of resources. Russia and China will become closer now and Russia can tell the Nazis of USA/EU to go fuck themselves.

    • Bob Young


  • http://biweeklyweasel.blogspot.com/ red porch

    Connect the dots…


  • Foolish Pride

    What Liam fails to understand is that the hawks in America have no more traction with than their Republican counterparts than they do with the American people in general. Needless to say, they have little effect support in any segment of the American popuation.

    Arizona is one of the most Republican states in the US, and yet John McCain, their senior senator has the lowest approval rating of any US senator.

    • hp b

      ‘Hanoi John’ (if the shoe fits) should be in a prison cell right now, truth be known.

  • Kasperlos

    All just in time for the centenary of the Great War. How coincidental. The march towards conflict is planned, organized with you, dear reader, as the expendable. For the elite game players who manipulate events the world is their oyster to gain more riches and power and engineer the globe to their image. The real battle involves only a few thousand politicans, military heads, and assorted behind-the-scenes think tanks, financial institutions and interest groups. With Ukraine, Russia, the EU, NATO countries amounting to about 700 million people, it comes down, as usual, to only a few thousand who are fomenting, whipping up the masses towards doom. Nothing has changed. It’s the ‘On the Idle Hill of Summer’ redux. And the masses tuned in to cooking shows, Dancing with the Stars, and Britain’s Got Talent, haven’t a clue to the quick step into disaster that is being prepared for them. They have no interest but to be coddled and allow their ‘betters’ to manage their world – their very lives – for them. Thus has it ever been: servile serfs and their lords. And this in the 21st century when so many have attended university. I think they ought to ask for a refund of fees and tuition as they obviously have learnt nothing.

  • hp b

    Wait until US/NATO troops and especially pilots have to actually fight someone who really is armed and trained, not just occupied civilians. The hill people and dirt farmers armed with AKs, IED and RPG have fought them to a draw after 12 years!!

    Pilots flying into undefended territory, dropping their bombs and heading home on schedule for their burger and beer suppers will be pipe dreams.
    Russia has waiting for them S-300/400 and Su-27/35, etc., etc. NATO ground troops will really know what aircraft, choppers, artillery, armor, MLRS, drones, etc., etc., etc. feel like, up close and personal. Oh Sh*t!

    Yeah, soon enough all the young-uns will experience a flashback to the good old days when a letter would arrive at their homes. The opening line reading – “GREETINGS..”

    Hey, we finally got the government the Zionists and neo-Bolsheviks wanted.
    (they couldn’t have done it without us)

  • Trofim

    You were excellent on This Week. The staggering, frenetic anti-Russian hysteria of late is just shocking. I speak as a Russian speaker who has experience of the USSR.

    • SaintMarx

      It’s not anti-Russian. It’s anti-Putin.

    • SirTabby

      So what KGB rank have you achieved before going undercover in 1991?

      • Trofim

        I was on the receiving end of KGB attention for associating with “dissidents” in the 1970’s.

  • Dennis the Dreamer

    Great article. Hard to find a bias reporting nowadays.

    • SirTabby

      Not sure about “hard”, but you sure found it here, “bias” I mean.

      • Trofim

        Could I ask what your experience of the USSR was like? Were you born then?

  • Pravda01

    Europe must get rid of UK and USA and NATO.

    • SirTabby

      … and all hail the great Liberator – Comrade Putin.

      p.s. For those who won’t – Gulag’s this way…

  • ordinarycanuck

    So in order to protect German and US business deals with the Russian mafia, and to ensure “peace in our time”, the UK, US and Russia, break their word given in 1994, to secure Ukraine’s borders in exchange for 5,000 nuclear missiles. This is done at the same time we negotiate Iranian demands for western guarantees in order to give up their nuclear aspirations. Glad we got that clear! The Iranians have already.

    On this basis, having conceded South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia in 2008, we can also concede Donetsk, Zaporhizhia, Kherson, Odessa (Ukraine) and chunks of Moldova because Putin’s right to protect Russian speakers now trumps National borders, sovereignty and International treaties. Why not throw in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as well? This could keep the Russian Bear away for a year or two whilst the rest of us prosper in peace and contentment. Of course we can safely ignore the alarmist pleas of the Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks etc. who were recently under the Russian boot. They all just need to be more forgiving!

    This author apparently has no concept that Putin is a clever thug, a bully and will only desist when faced with backbone. The authors puerile attack on a struggling Ukrainian democracy needs to be balanced against the utterly corrupt Putin style of democracy. As there is no balance in his article, he is evidently an apologist for Russian hegemony.

    We do however agree on one thing, as does Putin himself. The Obama and Cameron administrations look like fools! They play checkers whilst the master in the Kremlin plays chess!

    • blaster

      This poor brainwashed dope is crestfallen because another Washington-made mythical monster isn’t facing Western “backbone”.

      It’s a very long way out of the programming.

  • FF42

    This is an incoherent article. On the one had you are saying the West intervened too much; on the other hand we are weak for not forcefully imposing sanctions.

    Incidentally you are wrong about the UN Charter on self determination. That doesn’t allow countries to invade other ones – something that is rare these days. Only Russia seems to be making a habit of it.

    • RedBaron9495

      How about extracting Kosovo from Serbia…..Orthodox Christian Churches are located in Kosovo that are well over 1000 years…well before the Ottoman invasion.
      UN seemed to think they could vote and become Independent from it’s existing masters.

  • Terence Hale

    Very mush so. The sanctions against Russia will hurt the West more than Russia. The winners of such sanctions will be China and India, the losers will be London and Berlin hitting economic recovery just at the wrong time. Sending Russia in the cold will inhibit consensus politics in many world problems setting a “petri dish” for chaos and mischief as can be seen in Turkey. All this for a bent Ukraine government.

  • blaster

    Splendid article, Liam Halligan. Well done, sir.

    A refreshing change from the demonising hogwash animating yet another mythical enemy of the West.

  • SirTabby

    Having had his appetite vetted by parts of Georgia and Crimea, Putin may take a year or two gobbling up the rest of the former Soviet Empire (European part of it of course, he won’t dare to even look in the Central Asia’s direction).

    Another year or so for Poland and Sudetenland. After that, all you appeasers better start packing – his KGB thugs will be on their way for you. Gulag is good for curing the smug Western complacency.

    • RedBaron9495

      You do write a lot of c’rap!
      You obviously have zero clues regarding geo-politics.

    • steve001968

      1. Ukraine is not a NATO country and therefore is not entitled to the same sort of protection from NATO that it’s members are.

      2. It’s blatantly obvious that much of Crimea wants to join the RF.

      3. There is no KGB anymore and hasn’t been since 1991. It’s current successor is the FSB.

  • Robin Butcher

    Breathtakingly poor article. People like yourself can write all you like about Western failures – the real problem is that we are obsessed with self-harming, i.e articles which deride and criticize your own civilization/culture. Its the complete opposite to how the majority of Russians are reacting – they actually support their own people. People with the above views are beginning – tentatively I grant you – to show characteristics which are very similar to those who wanted to appease Hitler. Ask yourselves, do you seriously want Putin to succeed in his aims?

    • Bill_der_Berg

      To criticise an action or policy of one’s government is to deride an entire civilisation? Do you really believe that?

    • steve001968

      I hate to break it to you but he has succeeded. Crimea is annexed and all the posturing in the world is not going to undue it. Russia is not going to give back Crimea over these ridiculous sanctions. They’re a joke and Russia knows perfectly well that the US and Europe are not going to war over part of Ukraine. Nor, frankly should they. Ukraine is not even a NATO member.

  • http://freefriedl.wordpress.com/ Friedl

    Since when is Russia Germany’s biggest single nation trading partner? Even if you look at turnover (import + export), there are ten countries that rank ahead (including Belgium!).

  • komment

    The West does not need Putin or anyone else to make them look foolish. By supporting a non-elected fascist government they are more than able to do the job by themselve

  • Linda Serena

    Excellent article,

    though one point does not match with my perspective here in Germany, which is your description of our foreign policy.

    Actually all three former chancellors (Schmidt, Kohl, Schroeder) are terrified about the current policy, about the support for the new fascist/oligarch regime and the sanctions against Russia. This is not in Europe’s interest, Russia is absolutely no threat to anyone and a much more peaceful country than under Gorbatschov or Yelzin. It was Putin’s historic achievement to remove the oligarch mafia from power which had taken over the country und Yelzin and his US advisors. It was also his achievement to derail plans to bomb Syria into an islamist stone age.

    All mass media here from the left/green TAZ to the (formerly) conservative Die Welt, including of course tax funded and private TV, have been agitating against Russia and Putin in particular.This has been going on for months, if not years, and for the first time included even sports channels during the olympics.

    The perception here is that not only Ukraine, but also the US and Europe are now controlled by hideous background players.

  • steve

    Well the west should stop paying for these riots and keep there nose out of other countrys – the people voted fairly- and picked there side so the west should say ok that what the people want- AS it the people that matter not you leaders dont for get you work for us not the other way round as one day all you leaders will face the horrors of your choice stop rapeing your people in the us uk and eu – I need to may leader as i can fix the world in under 5 years uk would be fixed in 1 year it easy to see mess when you are not trained to lie and not controled by greed or bankers

  • steve

    Please join me on twitter stevebconnect

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