While the brutality in Ukraine continues, does the West have the humility to admit that we have been the architects of our own failure?
Perhaps a metaphor of this is the Biden address yesterday which was almost unintelligible and certainly uninspiring.
It is understandable that the West don’t want to put troops on the ground, which would be provocative in the extreme when you are dealing with a madman; for it was Putin’s main domestic rival, Alexei Navalny, who argued that Putin is mentally unwell.
Marco Rubio, a former Republican Presidential candidate, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, which gives him extensive access to secret information, has tweeted, according to Marc Bennetts in Moscow, “I wish I could share more, but for now I can say it is pretty obvious to many, something is off with Putin. He has always been a killer, but his problem now is different and significant. It would be a mistake to assume this Putin will react the same way as he would have 5 years ago.”
Andrey Kortunov, from the Russian International Affairs Council, which is a think-tank with ties to the Foreign Ministry, said last Saturday that Putin had not advised Russian officials to launch an invasion.
And according to Bennetts, “That decision stunned officials”; said Kortunov, “I would say many in the Foreign Office were surprised and shocked, and I would even say devastated to see what is happening… this is an important red line that was crossed by the Russian Leadership.”
Bennetts quotes the former Kremlin spin doctor, Gleb Pavlovsky, who opposed Putin’s return to the Presidency for a third time; while not saying that Putin had lost his mind, he did say, “The previous Putin would not have done this. He was a very sane-thinking person. This has all vanished now. He has an obsession about Ukraine that he didn’t previously have. He is reacting now to the pictures in his own head.”
Leonid Volkov, an exiled ally of Mr Navalny, has said simply, “Putin is insane and dangerous.”
Bennetts, writing from Moscow, has said, “Putin’s war on Ukraine has shocked millions across Russia.”
But Putin is not so insane to note that the West has spent years weakening itself economically and militarily.
I have long said that in the demonisation of fossil fuels, the chickens would come home to roost.
Europe, now, gets 40 per cent of its gas from Russia; so, while we are supposed to be fighting Russia, we are also feeding it with billions of dollars; and if we don’t, the lights go out in Europe.
Donald Trump argued over and over again that European countries have not paid their way as members of NATO.
Trump went so far as to say if Europe didn’t meet its obligation to the funding of NATO, he wouldn’t.
Ideology has crippled the West, so they can only hope that weak economic sanctions might prevail.
While Russia and China were building themselves up militarily, the West has been worried, in its self-righteous way, about issues like race, gender and climate change and listening to the woke brigade about pacificism such that the West can no longer defend itself.
In Australia, companies can’t get money from lending institutions if the money goes to expanding ports like Newcastle, which exports coal.
Britain has been an international leader in the manufacture of defence equipment.
Those industries have been shunned by investors.
Capital has been withdrawn from the sector.
Business has wound down its involvement.
Woke fund managers have turned their backs on spending on defence equipment.
If, as we have been told, in recent times, making weapons is wicked and destructive, we have limited resources to send to Ukraine.
Where is a well-equipped and well-motivated European army?
It doesn’t exist.
Indeed, it is relevant to ask, would the current generation, in our country, go in to battle for democracy and freedom?
We didn’t do it over Coronavirus; we sat by and saw freedoms stolen from us.
Emmanuel Macron faces a Presidential election.
He is now talking about a European army.
Did no one ever think that a European Union might need a European military to defend itself?
I have argued that climate change policies are a national economic suicide note.
Now we learn they have reduced our defence capability.
All the bloated rhetoric coming out of the European Parliament now is all designed to disguise Europe’s complete impotence.
Europe should have energy independence.
Putin can’t win, but the damage he will do before defeat is unconscionable.
He may well make the Butcher of Baghdad look like a Sunday school teacher.
The tragedy is, not only is it a bit late to learn the lessons of the past, we are entitled to wonder if there is any leader in the West prepared to do the learning.