Russia also threatens our sanity

PutinGraffitiLunacy seems to be contagious, and the strain Russia is spreading is particularly virulent.

One symptom is the coverage of Brexit on Russian state television. For example, Dmitry Kisilev, affectionately described by some as Putin’s Goebbels, used his talk show on Rossiya 1, the government’s TV mouthpiece, to accuse Dave of murder.

You see, Dave tried to prevent Brexit by “a sacral sacrifice: the murder of MP Jo Cox… And what now? He divided the country, even spilled blood, but lost ignominiously.”

Putin’s dummy didn’t clarify whether Dave murdered Jo Cox personally or by proxy, but in either case it’s a shame that the British media failed to inform the public that Russia is openly accusing the British PM of violent felony.

Bugles scream and drums rattle all over the Russian media, and it’s not just empty posturing either. Since the same Kisilev threatened in 2014 to “turn the US into radioactive ash”, Russia’s military muscle has got a shot of steroids. Her military expenditure now equals 5.5 percent of GDP and close to a staggering 50 per cent of the federal budget – something seldom matched by any country even at wartime.

Since Putin’s land grab in the Ukraine, the first attempt for decades to rearrange European borders by force, Russia has saturated her western areas with troops deployed in an offensive formation. Dozens of new weapon systems have been brought on stream and moved into advanced positions. This is accompanied by a torrent of hysterical threats against the Baltics, Poland and other neighbours Russia sees as being within her sphere of influence.

Hardly a day goes by without Putin’s TV mouthpieces bewailing the plight of Russian minorities in places like Estonia (which plight is all about having to learn the local language) and threatening to defend the consanguine brethren by whatever means necessary.

What Russia considers necessary includes deliberate mass murder of civilians with weapons banned in the civilised world. One such weapon is thermobaric bombs, the most powerful explosives this side of thermonuclear warheads.

These Russia rains on the residential neighbourhoods of Aleppo and other Syrian towns, causing what we call collateral damage and what for the Russians is the intended effect.

Equally illegal are incendiary cluster bombs that the Russians, in their efforts to prop up Assad’s regime, have used on numerous occasions. Another government channel, RT, formerly known as Russia Today, inadvertently blew the whistle on this by showing RBK-500 cluster incendiaries being loaded up on Russian ground-support planes. The footage was hastily edited out, but not before experts identified the weapons.

That Russia increasingly resembles a rabid dog is beyond question. But rabies is infectious, and dogs can pass it on by biting unfortunate victims. One such victim is Peter Hitchens, who hardly misses an opportunity to declare any Russian threat nonexistent.

“Nobody who knows anything about Russia,” he writes, “thinks this is true”. Well, at the risk of sounding immodest, I know considerably more about Russia than Hitchens does, but this isn’t about an erudition contest. It’s about facts, such as those I’ve cited above.

But Hitchens obviously shares Stalin’s belief that, “if facts are stubborn things, so much the worse for facts”. Hence, “a couple of weeks ago we more or less secretly sent British troops to Ukraine, a country with which we are not in any way allied, and which is a war zone. Was Parliament asked about ‘Exercise Rapid Trident’? I can find no record of it.”

This is disingenuous. First, rather than being secret, our involvement was widely reported. Second, the government isn’t constitutionally obliged to seek parliamentary approval for sending a small contingent to participate in an exercise explicitly requested by the host country’s government, in this case the Ukraine.

Also taking part were the Ukraine herself, the US, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Turkey. All of them are either NATO members or countries vitally concerned about Russia’s shenanigans. Echoing Hitchens, ‘I can find no record of’ any of these countries asking legislative permission at home, which makes me think that was another example of empty rhetoric on Hitchens’s part.

Speaking of empty rhetoric, lame-duck President Obama expressed the hope, and lame-duck PM Dave the assurance, that Brexit wouldn’t diminish Britain’s commitment to repelling the Russian threat.

Such reiteration is redundant to the point of, well, madness. It’s like saying that England’s abysmal exit from the UEFA Championship doesn’t diminish her commitment to do well at the Tour de France. The two things have nothing to do with each other.

Brexit means leaving the EU, not NATO, and it’s NATO, not the EU, that has kept Russia at bay for the last 71 years. One has to be mad not to realise this or not to see the grave danger presented by Putin’s kleptofascist regime. Or else one has to be François Hollande who has declared that he regards Putin as a partner, not a threat, and NATO should have no say in Europe’s dealings with Russia.

Without NATO, France and the rest of Europe would have been a Russian colony for at least half a century. But then Messrs Hollande, Hitchens et al are too insane to realise this.

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