Europe's 'new world order' is letting Vladimir Putin run riot

Pax Americana died six years ago. We're now seeing what has taken its place

8 March 2014

9:00 AM

8 March 2014

9:00 AM

If Vladimir Putin’s invasion and occupation of the Crimea brings to an end the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989, what new European, or even global, order is replacing them? That question may seem topical in the light of Russia’s seemingly smooth overriding in Crimea of the diplomatic treaties and legal rules that outlaw aggression, occupation and annexation. In fact, it is six years behind the times.

To understand the situation in the Ukraine, we need to go back to the Nato summit in Bucharest, in April 2008. There, Putin stated Russia’s opposition to the proposal from President George W. Bush that Nato should take the first steps to inviting Georgia and Ukraine to become members. He found unusual allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, joined by France and Britain, led the opposition to it. The proposal was kicked into touch.

Five months later, Georgia, provoked by Russia’s creeping annexation of its break-away territory, launched an attempt to recover South Ossetia. Five days later, it lost the war to Russian forces — ‘on manoeuvres’, naturally, just across the border. Two Georgian provinces are now sovereign states or, more candidly, de facto Russian provinces.

The moment the Pax Americana’s evaporated was when President Nicolas Sarkozy, representing the French presidency of the EU, jumped on a plane to Moscow to negotiate a ceasefire with Putin on terms that essentially ratified the Russian occupation and annexations. This stopped Bush and Nato from helping to shape the West’s response, which might then have been at least rhetorically tougher.

This shift of power within the alliance from Washington to Berlin-Paris-Brussels was not unwelcome to Bush’s successor. Within six months of taking power, President Obama had cancelled plans for US anti-missile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, whose governments had spent much political capital to accept them. In the case of Poland, he made matters worse by informing Warsaw of this decision on 17 September 2009 — the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939. It was probably the worst kind of insult: an unintended one.

In July that year, however, 22 alarmed leaders in central and eastern Europe — including Václav Havel and Lech Walesa — had sent an anguished open letter to Obama regretting that his administration was turning away from their region. Was it because he felt that its problems had been solved?

If so, he was wrong on several scores, but especially one: ‘The political impact of [the Russo-Georgian] war on the region has already been felt. Many countries were deeply disturbed to see the Atlantic alliance stand by as Russia violated… the territorial integrity of a country that was a member of Nato’s Partnership for Peace and the Euroatlantic Partnership Council — all in the name of defending a sphere of influence on its borders.’ This was a shrewd but paradoxical point — and for western Europeans a low blow. What the Havels and Walesas wanted from American involvement was not only America’s greater protective power, but also its tougher attitude to Russian claims on its ‘near abroad’.

On paper, the Europeans should have been more critical than Washington towards the treaty and legal violations listed in the letter. For the previous five years, America’s Robert Kagan and Europe’s Robert Cooper had been depicting a West divided between ‘modern’ Hobbesian Americans, who saw international relations in terms of power, and ‘post-modern’ Kantian Europeans, who saw them in terms of law. Both authors caught the rhetoric of their foreign policy establishments accurately enough. If that picture had been fully accurate, however, the Europeans would have been more indignant about Russia’s violations of international law, and more determined to impose legal and other non-military sanctions in response. In fact, they perfected the techniques of not really noticing such things and, when Russia forced them on their attention, of forgetting them as quickly as possible.

Both Kagan and Cooper had recognised that post-modern, law-governed international society needed a policeman to enforce the rules. But Obama’s America had now gone home. Oddly enough, that too seemed to suit the western Europeans, who proceeded on the radical assumption that policemen weren’t necessary in a Kantian continent. Mrs Merkel quickly smoothed over the unpleasantness with Putin in the interests of mutual prosperity. Her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder appealed to the US to ignore the letter. And Obama more or less obliged by sending Vice-President Biden to smooth ruffled feathers in Prague and points east.

So the Pax Americana faded fast away, but it was replaced not by a Pax Europea, but by a vacuum. Ukraine may decide what fills it.

For Russian policy towards Ukraine also changed in the years after Bucharest. Though opposed to its Nato membership, Moscow initially appeared relaxed about Ukraine’s movement towards associate status with the European Union. It has gradually been redefined as an economic threat to Russia — a redefinition that became sharper when Putin began to construct his own rival organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union.

But it became a crisis only when Putin imposed de facto sanctions on Ukraine’s agricultural exports to Russia four months ago, threatened wider ones unless the country switched from the EU to its Eurasian counterpart, promised support to Ukraine’s parlous budget if it did, and by such methods pressured the hesitating Yanukovych into ‘postponing’ Ukraine’s accession to ‘Europe’.

If matters had been left to political establishments, Putin would have won at this point. The EU, already bleeding subsidies to southern Europe and unwilling to offer comparable aid, accepted its defeat. It was ordinary Ukrainians of every political stripe who gathered in the Maidan to oppose an absorption into a system of neo-imperial bullying.

Even then, a more sure-footed ally than Yanukovych might have saved the day. He had democratic legitimacy, a majority in parliament, and a massive security apparatus on his side. A crowd in the Maidan, however impressive, could not have prevented his pushing through the deal. But he made the classic authoritarian mistake of firing on the protesters without dispersing them. In short order, he lost his support in the country, his democratic legitimacy and his parliamentary majority. He is now Putin’s pensioner.

Despite Yanukovych’s personal contribution, this was a crisis made in Moscow. Putin had overplayed his hand in leaning on Yanukovych. Has he done so a second time in occupying the Crimea?

Most observers seem to think that he has judged his response nicely. By occupying the Crimea, but merely threatening the rest of Ukraine, he will in time persuade the West to treat this outcome as a sort of compromise. Like Georgia’s lost provinces, Crimea will eventually be forgotten by the West, while Ukraine is kept off balance and poor. Besides, the West is said to have no usable sanctions to change this.

This gives the Russian president too much credit for foresight. He almost certainly expected the new Kiev government to be rash, incompetent, divisive and unpopular, both internationally and in parts of Ukraine, to the point where Russian-speaking Ukrainians would rise up against it.

In fact, though these are early days, the Kiev government has been surprisingly moderate and shrewd. Its main error so far was to pass a law removing the status of Russian as an official language — but that error was swiftly realised and the law vetoed.

Otherwise, it has maintained a lively democratic unity; passed a series of reforms leading to a more liberal constitution, fresh elections and a new government; discussed these proposals with great transparency (its parliamentary proceedings are televised); won over the main oligarchs, who prefer even a Kiev regime hostile to corruption to a Putin-esque world in which the government is a rival oligarch; and responded firmly but not rashly to Russia’s invasion of Crimea and other provocations.

It has, accordingly, been accepted as legitimate throughout most of Ukraine even before the elections. Attacks on its supporters, attempts to seize official buildings, demonstrations by crowds calling for Russian intervention there have been seen in some eastern cities, but on a smaller scale than most experts predicted. Most Russophone Ukrainians seem to support Kiev — which suggests that a distinctly Ukrainian nationalism has spread eastwards in the past 20 years. And when they switched sides, the oligarchs ensured that much political and public opinion switched sides, too.

All of which means that there is simply not enough disorder and anarchy in Ukraine to provide a pretext for any further incursion. The main cause of disorder in Crimea is the presence of Russian soldiers imperfectly disguised as terrorists (which itself offers a droll commentary on Moscow’s characterisation of the Kiev government). So Putin’s rhetoric has changed: he now talks in reassuring terms of delaying any incursion and making it conditional upon a breakdown in order.

However, this does not leave him in quite the comfortable position that some analysts suggest. He knows that given the failure of eastern Ukraine to rise, he cannot intervene further without the risk of an endless guerrilla war against a trained enemy in unfavourable terrain. Ukrainians waged such a war against the Soviets for almost a decade after 1945. A repeat of that experience was certainly not in the game plan. But failure to intervene means that a hostile government in Kiev, and its supporters in the Ukrainian diaspora, will continue to feed the international indignation towards Putin’s ‘illegal occupation’.

Crimea as an international controversy may resemble Palestine more than South Ossetia. Simply staying put may be possible; but it may also be painful and costly, especially if western governments feel pressure to impose at least some sanctions.

The customary response to this is to claim that the West simply has no sanctions that harm Russia more than itself. In strict logic, that is untrue: a large range of sanctions is available, from supplying arms to rebels in the northern Caucasus to halting cultural exchanges.  But if we exclude these — the first for moral reasons, the second on de minimis grounds — and most other responses now being proposed, then the practical possibilities come down to two.

First, we can impose ‘targeted’ financial and visa sanctions on leading Russian regime figures and their families. That sounds trivial, but as East Europeans can tell you from the Cold War days, it is extremely confining and humiliating. The Russian rich all want to travel, live, and invest here freely. They don’t want to feel like stateless persons. Second, we can repeat Reagan’s anti-Soviet policy of reducing energy prices and thus revenue for the Russian treasury. And unlike Reagan, we don’t need to make special efforts (de-controlling energy prices, doing a deal with the Saudis) to accomplish this. The energy market will soon be delivering a glut of energy to Europeans and competitive rival alternatives to Russian oil and gas. The threat of a Russian revenue crisis is already on Putin’s horizon — Gazprom’s share price has fallen sharply and not just in recent days. If we choose, we can sharpen his anxieties by making deliberate preparations to switch from Russian suppliers to elsewhere.

But do we sincerely want to do so? Much will depend on what we think Putin’s longer-term strategy is. Does he want to reverse the revolutions of 1989 and 1991 and restore Russian control over central and eastern Europe? Or does he have the lesser ambition — itself not an appealing prospect — of creating small wars and irredentist enclaves in countries formerly within the Soviet orbit to keep them under Moscow’s control? It is likely that he does not know the answer himself.

Those who see his current venture as a legitimate exercise in achieving Russia’s security interests have to explain what the limits of those interests are. Russia is already the world’s second nuclear power; it has large, modernised and (it is thought) effective conventional forces; it is a permanent member of the UN with a veto; it is a member of virtually every major security organisation relevant to it except Nato, with which it has a partnership agreement; it sits at the negotiating table in conflicts such as Syria beyond its near abroad; and its troops patrol Crimea and Georgia without the consent of their governments. What more can it legitimately demand?

The problem with the search for perfect security through expansion and buffer states is that every advance creates a new set of threats. Invading Crimea has made Russia a focus of more fear and hostility than before. It is an endless quest. Yet Moscow had already obtained its legitimate security interests in Crimea under international treaties. It would gain the best possible security if it were to join the Euro-Atlantic institutions, especially Nato, but that will have to wait for Moscow to shed its neo-imperial mindset. And that must probably await the departure of Putin.

For some time, therefore, the Pax Europea will have to deal with challenges and probes from a wounded Bear for which it is ill-equipped in every sense. Central Europeans feel this all too well, western Europeans would like to ignore it. Their governments might be happy to reach a modus vivendi that allowed Moscow to quietly manage its former possessions. As Ukraine shows, however, the peoples living under Putin-style regimes don’t like it. And peoples don’t do realpolitik.

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Show comments
  • rtj1211

    Putin ‘running riot’ as you put it is typical western hyperbole. He is neither running riot nor is he bent on building Empire. He is not engaging in Blitzkrieg, nor is he engaging in ‘shock n awe’.

    The Western Media is deliberately trying to foment war and the only question to be asked is who they are taking orders from and whether those people should be put into khaki and sent to fight with one rifle on the front line.

    You’d soon stop perpetual warfare if the rich financiers were the only ones required to do the killing and, more importantly, be on the wrong end of the killing.

    • Curnonsky

      FSB much?

      • James Allen

        It’s RT…. get a lot of extraordinarily attractive and scantily-clad women to read subversive and provokative scripts, day-in, day-out, and you end up with thousands of Brits queuing up to praise Putin. Surprised govt allows them to keep broadcasting in light of recent events….

        • jazz606

          “….a lot of extraordinarily attractive and scantily-clad women ….”

          I watch RT occasionally but hadn’t noticed that. Will have to pay more attention.

        • Wessex Man

          rubbish, they’re beyond beautiful!

      • Unenlightened_Commentary

        The Kremlin does have paid spammers but it’s also fair to say that some of the Putin fans are for real.

        According to polls and people I’ve spoken to in real life Putin is extremely unpopular but the demographic he appeals to- authoritarians and people desperate to be led- are perhaps over represented among internet commentators.

        • allymax bruce

          autoerotic meanderings.

        • jamesmace

          The level of FSB trolling has declined. I suppose they are concentrating on hacking cyberstructure in Ukraine and elsewhere.

    • Anastasja Boot

      Would you say the same today?

  • Li Chenhui

    Your headline is so stupid I did not bother reading the story.

    Putin’s “running riot” has so far cost a total of zero lives. The US “liberation” of Iraq cost over 100,000, including over 3,000 last year alone.

    A question: what right does the EU have to curry favour in the Ukraine and bribe it with loan commitments, without even consulting the existing EU populations? Who asked us if we want twenty million Ukrainians coming to our countries to live? Nobody, that is who. We don’t get a say, do we? Russians, by contrast, do.

    I don’t much care what Russia does in its backyard. What I care about is the irresponsible, totally unaccountable dictatorship in our own homelands. Our so-called leaders are simply bureaucratic nabobs, and they have less legitimacy than Putin, who at least won an election.

    • Tom M

      I’ll second all of that

    • Carney3

      I’d be MUCH more enthusiastic about the EU if:
      – it didn’t mandate abolition of the death penalty
      – it didn’t guarantee “freedom of movement” while allowing member states to set their own immigration policy thus making the laxest member the open door for the whole continent
      – it didn’t impose “human rights” restrictions banning deportation of migrants (legal, illegal, whatever) if their homelands have rough governments

      Currency union, internal free trade, harmonized regulations, guarantees of (real) human rights, etc. is all fine by me.

      But those problematic touch points basically guarantee the EU will be swamped from without, its jails filled with unrepentant terrorists and murderers who can’t be deported and will eventually be freed, and its richer members overwhelmed with foreigners from its poorer members.

      Having said all that, like most complainers, you assume that continuing passivity on Iraq would have resulted in a Smurf village rather than, as is highly likely, an even bigger mess and death toll in the long run.

      • Caroline Louise

        A bigger death toll? What kind of rampage of slaughter of his own people are you thinking Saddam would have embarked on? He was not a nice guy at all but he wasn’t Stalin.

    • andagain

      Your headline is so stupid I did not bother reading the story.

      And yet you choose to pontificate about it anyway.

    • jamesmace

      Hussein murdered over a million people and invaded countries at will setting huge fires that were ecological catastrophes.
      How is the US action not a liberation from that sort of thuggery?

      • Wessex Man

        I’m sure if our ‘friends’ in the west came storming into UK you wouldn’t be very happy!

    • Paul Frantizek

      Great post. Putin is precisely the adversary the EU deserves, what with its anti-energy environmentalism and social-libertine secularism.

      Let them be bullied and browbeat by their energy supplier. First, it’s what they deserve and, second, it’s what they’ve sought to do to traditionalists living within their purview.

    • Roxi Marais

      You do not seem to be European since you do not understand what it means to have a European identity. And no, it is not like China, only about money.

    • Anastasja Boot

      In my, Ukrainian, point of view, it has never been Europe’s position to accept Ukraine as a member, but rather to use it as a shield against Russia. Ukraine was offered an association treaty, not membership. And when protest here started, it seemed that the European “dictators” were shocked with the prospect. At least they stated their deep concerns but did everything so the protesters received no real help, at least so it seemed from Kyiv. At last they lent Putin some money, so he could lend it to Ukraine – to buy the country.
      But with prospectives very far from brilliant in the EU, we REALLY do not want to be part of Putin’s backyard. And if you look closer, you may understand we have all reasons.
      Besides, there are a lot of talks in the Internet that Putin gives financial suppot to ugliest nazi movements and parties, in the EU, too, so he could come one day and play “anti-fa”. I don’t believe he will ever have the chance to play this card, but also all reasons to believe it’s true.

    • Anastasja Boot

      Guys, I’m reading this and wishing you stayed in Russia for a week and talked to the locals. do you REALLY believe Russians get a say? What elections are you talking about? Forget this word. By no means. Russians vote for one approved candidate.

      European bureaucracy isn’t paradise – I undestand you fully. But if you feel critical or unhappy about how the system works, spend two days in Ukrainian official structures. Idiotic, slow, money-thirsty, and inefficient. Lose a purse and contact the police for 6 (six) hours filling 1 (one) protocol together with 2 (two) officials. Make two attempts like this. Contact a court, officials drunk Monday morning. Life-long European patriotism is a guaranteed result.

      Putin was becoming extremely unpopular. That’s the fact I failed to understand before I talked to several Russians. He really was about to get kinda informal impeachment, like the one we Ukrainians organized for our dear ex-President (formal one wasn’t possible, elections were also firmly hacked).

      Then he annexed Crimea and poured tons of lies into the air – and he is again loved and followed. Yet it isn’t the same as “giving people a say”.

  • D Whiggery

    This is nonsense from start to finish.

    It is the EU and NATO that are being expansionist and that have been since 1999 which is a major reason for Putin’s rise to power. If Russia is the EU’s nightmare neighbour, then I would suggest that most Russian’s consider the reverse to be true. The EU still wants to expand their empire without the Americans to back them up.

    Since 2002 the EU can use NATO assets independently as long as NATO doesn’t wish to act itself (the European quid pro quo for letting the yanks use NATO in Afghanistan). NATO will gradually become the military of Europe, and given how the EU is not democratic and that it’s foreign policy is not open to public opinion in any real sense, I can see why the Russians don’t want them to expand up to their border.

    They say democracies never go to war with each other, but in this case neither the EU nor Russia are democratic in reality. Be afraid this is just a taster of what’s to come.

    • Pip

      Nonsense from start to finish is what I have come to expect from the Spectator these days.

    • dalai guevara

      You may huff and puff from start to finish – month long opposition of real people on real streets when it’s really cold cannot be ‘triggered’ by EU and NATO (the same thing? Jesus!) expansionism.
      But you would not stop there, would you – your inability to distinguish between the fine lines of anything and blather about “the reality of democracy” makes you look like a plant, son. Pathetic.

      • Wessex Man

        you are accusing people of Huffing and puffing? hilarious!

        people on real streets? you wouldn’t know anything about it!

        • Anastasja Boot

          Protest really seemed spontaneous. There was no previously oganized structure this time, obviously, and pretty much chaos. Quite unlike the “Orange Revolution” in this sence.

          In spite of the protest being quite sincere, there always remains the question who uses the results, and how.

    • Paul Frantizek

      Yeah, the EU’s Crocodile Tears over ‘self-determination’ are a bit much.

      Putin is precisely the sort of adversary they deserve.

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Ah Yes, Russia would be so “safe” under NATO. That statement on its own invalidates all the other points made previously. I trust I need not explain why?

    • Carney3

      Any NATO member been successfully invaded? Invaded at all?

      • ClausewitzTheMunificent

        Georgia? 🙂 Excuse the joke there, but of course NATO members haven’t been invaded. The only power capable of invading other NATO members is the US, and it doesn’t need to for obvious reasons.

        • Carney3

          Exactly. Once you’re in NATO, you don’t get invaded. That’s why the statement that if Russia joined NATO it would be safe makes sense, rather than being a reason for scorn.

    • andagain

      I trust I need not explain why?

      Humour me. Try explaining why.

      • ClausewitzTheMunificent

        Russia under NATO would mean total political surrender of the Russians to the West. As such military security would be a completely invalidated concept except as regards terrorist attacks from the Near East and the Chinese, the former of which NATO does not seem to be able to stop, while the latter have shown no interest in northwards military expansion.

        • andagain

          “surrender”? How could they be forced to do what?

  • David Webb

    “In light of”? Do you mean “in the light of”? It is “in view of”, but “in the light of”, in good English. How come the Spectator’s subeditors don’t know?

  • saffrin

    Hail the peacemaker Vladimir.
    Russia 2
    Nato 0

    • dalai guevara

      Naps, those weren’t even the teams on the field. Have another look.

  • Pip

    The US/EU provoked this to happen and now their MSM Puppets are attempting to spin the propaganda that Russia is the enemy. Lies and more lies and the British People are not buying it, just as we didn’t fall for the deceit as they attempted to frag us into the Syrian Conflict. The Political Class in the UK and USA/EU are the problem and we the people are the cure.

    • Curnonsky

      Putin’s fanboys are going to have to come up with a more convincing set of bogeymen than the limp, dithering, incompetent, moronic leaders of the US, UK and EU. They could no more foment revolution than grow wings and fly to the Moon. Come on, FSB, try harder!

      • Caroline Louise

        Well the guy currently in charge in Kiev is exactly the one the “limp dithering West” (in the person of Nuland) wanted to be there. Good old dependable billionaire “Yats”. Is that just an incredible coincidence do you think?

      • Wessex Man

        never under-estimate the The ESSU!

    • Liberty

      Vote UKIP get Labour. Then more EU, spineless PC, poverty, immigration, corruption, incompetence leading to national bankruptcy.

      • global city

        Vote ‘Dave’ and get what exactly?

  • crazydave789

    so how does this work if it was actually eu backed snipers not yanukovich ones?

    this interim govt is not legitimate and the EU is not the golden angel it wants to be. the EU IMF deal will destroy ukraine in months.

  • Baron

    Sweet baby, Jesus, how could you, Mr. O’Sullivan, how could you.

    This piece of yours, and Baron says it as someone who have always enjoyed your writings, shows that intellect, erudition and the ability to write lucidly is no replacement for common sense, logical reasoning, and rational take on things.

    The errors, false interpretation of facts, the facts themselves (Yanukovych firing on the protesters, Russia the aggressor when Georgia attacked first, it was Ukrainian fascists who waged war on the Red Army, people of the same ilk sit in the provisional government now an such like) are just too many.

    What is that’s fuelling the capable brain of yours?

    • Carney3

      Georgia.”attacked” foreign troops that it had every right to fight whenever it chose to because they were illegally and immorally on its soil. The REAL attack was when Russian troops crossed the Russia/Georgia border without Georgia’s consent earlier.

      • Baron

        Good point, Carney3, but irrelevant, the Georgians fired the first shots.

        Btw, The Georians hate not the Russians, but the Ossetians, whom they blame for attacking them around the time of the October Revolution, but the animosity dates from earlier than that. Not the time pr space to enlarge n it here.

        • Carney3

          All I’ll say is that if Russia were truly interested in Ossetian self-determination it would allow NORTH Ossetia to leave the Russian Federation, unite with South Ossetia, and form a truly independent nation bound by constitution and treaty not to accept any foreign (read Georgian, Russian, or NATO) troops, enter into a currency or customs union with anyone else, etc.

          • Baron

            Good point, Carney3, if indeed the North were to wish to join the South, that’s what Putin should do, agreed. The point we were debating however was who started the Russia-Georgia punch up, and the Georgians, rather stupidly in Baron’s view, fired the first shots. Had they waited for Putin to make the first move, the conflict may have turned up differently.

          • Anastasja Boot

            Crimea shows what would have happened. Then there would be annexation without shooting.
            I wonder, yet, what you would say if YOUR country’s lands were occupied without shooting? Would you shoot back?

          • Baron

            What took you so long, Anastasja? Good question though, and hard to answer in short, too. Baron would shoot back only if there was a reasonable chance he and those shooting back with him could prevail. There’s no point losing life in a case that’s lost before the first shots are fired, this Russo-Georgian round is but one of such cases.

            Btw. Are you by any chance related ….

  • Baron

    And another thing, Mr. O’Sullivan:

    Could one buy the cartoon that heads your piece? Baron’s in the market, please let him know.

  • pp22pp

    Do you actually get paid for writing this bilge? We are the ones who feel we have the moral right to depose any regime we do not like. I think they have behaved very well considering how much they have been provoked.

    I just want a government that will step in for the rights of indigenous Britons. If we do succeed in provoking a war, here’s a list of places the Russkies might like to bomb.

    1). Brussels
    2). Westminister
    3). The Finsbury Park Mosque

    • firstnamejames


      I remember what my father said 10 yrs ago : if only it had been made illegal to promote equality, pacifism and other similarly repulsive dogmas in universities in the 60’s, we would have nuked Africa saved $Trillions and we’d have reclaimed that sizeable chunk of land by now. And it would have been kinder than the ongoing AIDS experiment on live subjects.

      James ( cambridge uni phd student @ marine le pen is soft )

    • I like your style, honey. 🙂 We have similar possible targets – though not nearly as many – here, down-under.

  • only way is up

    who gives a sh** about ukraine. most british people don’t even know where it is, what it is or why it matters a toss to us. the uk cannot sort its own minor domestic issues out and does not need plonkers like douglas murray saying we must do something. the uk is far too bothered about rich foreigners wanting to spend their ill gotten gains in london than anythig else. stick to the facts that a democratically elected pm has been deposed by so called democracy activists of who a lot are facists and a nearby state has taken steps to protect its ethnic population. if douglas murray truly wants to fight terrorists then he can start with the uk banks

    • Roxi Marais

      President. not pm, oh holy ignorance!

  • Putin is an old-school tyrant with old-school tyrannical ambitions. He is an egotist on the level of an Alexander or a Caesar, without the schooling, glamour, or finesse. He is the sort of adventurer Hobbes warned us about. He makes me sick.

    Russia was always Europe’s nightmare neighbour, except when it was very weak and over there —->. Russian history is an endless political lesson in how not to govern a people, in who not to trust, in what not to believe. The people and their country are a disaster. (No wonder my grade was nothing special in university: my Russian history teacher was enamoured of the place, and I was not.)

    • allymax bruce

      Swanky, I luv your passion, but i disagree a wee bit.
      Putin is not the bad guy; he’s the ‘fall-guy’; according to Postmodern philosophy of Politics. The West, absolutely the Finance Industry, needs to gain ground, and I really do mean ‘ground’, like land, for it to maintain its sustainability; thus its viability. The strategic ‘war-play’ going on just now is not about war, it’s about product-feesabilty; gain more land, inhabit those who live in the land, and make all commodities of the system. This is what the EU is.
      Sincerely, Ally.

      • Hello Ally, nice to hear from you. If I understood what on earth you would saying I would respond and no doubt counter-thrust, but otherwise let me just say Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. And Have A Nice Day. : )

        • msher


          I’m going to take a try at decriphering for you. I believe the poster said the EU needs lebensraum, which of course would be why it is letting in so many immigrants who take up space. Post-modern theory of politics is explained in Wiki. I sure this will illuminate all to you, with perfect clarity:

          “Postmodernism in political science refers to the use of postmodern ideas in political science. Postmodernists believe that many situations which are considered political in nature can not be adequately discussed in traditional realist and liberal approaches to political science. Postmodernists cite examples such as the situation of a Benedictine University “draft-age youth whose identity is claimed in national narratives of ‘national security’ and the universalizing narratives of the ‘rights of man,’” of “the woman whose very womb is claimed by the irresolvable contesting narratives of ‘church,’ ‘paternity,’ ‘economy,’ and ‘liberal polity.’[1] In these cases, postmodernists argue that there are no fixed categories, stable sets of values, or common sense meanings to be understood in their scholarly exploration.[citation needed]

          In these margins, postmodernists believe that people resist realist concepts of power which is repressive, in order to maintain a claim on their own identity. What makes this resistance significant is that among the aspects of power resisted is that which forces individuals to take a single identity or to be subject to a particular interpretation. Meaning and interpretation in these types of situations is always uncertain; arbitrary in fact.”

          So Putin is resisting realist concepts of power which he finds repressive – i.e., he can’t invade other countries which don’t want to be invaded otherwise he will lose his identity. Capiche? (Actually, I do think there is a question as to what Crimeans, who are a majority ethnically Russian want. I don’t think any threat to Ukraine falls into the same category.)

          Now I am going to have to differ with the poster with respect to Finance gaining more ground. Instability in Russia and the more Russia shows its disregard of law, the more markets fall and the less foreigners are willing to invest in Russia.

          As to the last sentence of the poster’s post, about product feasibility and whatever else, well I’m afraid you are on your own there. Once I return from the Mad Hatter’s tea party, perhaps post modern political science and the posters post will make sense to me. Or maybe you can explain the Wiki gibberish to me. (Someone actually wrote that, and it goes on for paragraph after paragraph in the same vein.)

          • Thank you, Msher. It sounds a lot like the state of nature — in which life was nasty, poor, brutish and short!

            P. S. I think you and I would both agree that national security is not a ‘narrative’ but a necessity.

          • msher

            I would agree.
            I’m disappointed. You sound like you might understand the Wiki paragraphs. I thought you would be able to translate all of it for me. I mean there are pages. I majored in political science. I wrote a senior honors thesis in it. But I don’t understand a word they are saying. other than maybe “Do your own thing, no rules apply.” My only question is: Do they understand what they are talking about?
            I really found the entry surprising. When did poli sci get to be something that’s put in undescripherable jargon?

          • When it stopped being philosophical and therefore based in acute observation of human life. What you see there, with all that anarchic claptrap, is a form of irresponsible and know-nothing fantasy.

  • Gwangi

    As I have always said: Russia is NOT a normal European country.
    I have been saying that for years and have been called racist, bigoted, chauvinistic, ‘little Englander’ – and worst of all, a Daily Mail reader – for stating that opinion (one based on experience of Russia since I was 11 years old and had a stone-faced Red Army hold up his gun at me in Red Square).
    I am now shown to be right.
    Russia is not a normal European country – never was and never will be.
    Understand that, and what has happened is no surprise. In fact, it is utterly predictable. To me, anyway. As always, academics failed to see what they’re supposed to be experts on, and the media just had wish-fulfilment fantasies re Russia, as did the media – left and right.
    Some of us always knew the score though. Russia is Russia. Not a normal European country. End of.

  • The caption reads, “Pax Americana died six years ago. We’re now seeing what has taken its place”

    If the author had been paying attention to the fine print behind the news headlines the last 25-years, he’d know the following…

    Russia had to sacrifice 23-years of good PR, being the one accusing the United States of invading nations, violating international law. So why did Russia violate the sovereignty of the Ukraine, destroying its image abroad, and placing itself on the same rogue level with the United States, you ask? Because of the following…

    The Kiev protests, which were initially controlled by the government, went viral throughout the nation, where dozens of statues of Lenin were toppled, statues that were supposed to have been toppled back in late 1991, after the fake collapse of the USSR.

    The spontaneous protests that broke out all over the Ukraine were so large that those Communist security forces in Kiev posing as demonstrators had to be quickly pressed back into security service to guard the government buildings!

    Google: ‘kiev demonstrators guard government buildings pictures’

    The reason Russia had to intervene in the Ukraine is two-fold, (1) to assist in policing the eastern Ukraine; thereby (2) allowing the stretched-thin Ukrainian Communist security forces to secure the rest of the nation.

    For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991.

    The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 [metric] tonnes of gold. When China has 6,000 [metric] tonnes it will have the minimum gold reserves necessary for its currency, the yuan, to replace the United States’ dollar as the world’s reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government (the United States gold reserves is approximately 8,133.5 [metric] tonnes).

    Take a look at the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

    Google: ‘Krasnaya Zvezda’

    “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head, the man who removed the independent Russian nation from the map, supplanting it within the new nation called the USSR (the USSR being the nation that was to one day include all the nations of the Earth, incorporation taking place either by violent revolution or deception)! Those Soviet emblems and Lenin’s head can’t still be next to the masthead of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s newspaper due to their association with the Soviet Union and its ideals of world revolution.

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”. Notice that not one political party in the West demanded verification, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the “alternative” media. When determining whether the “former” USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the “former” USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    For more on the “Long-Range Policy”, read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s books, “New Lies for Old” and “The Perestroika Deception” , the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West:

    Google:’new lies for old internet archive’

    Google:‘the perestroika deception pdf’

    The following is an excellent brief three-page introduction to Golitsyn and his significance in understanding Communist long-range strategy:

    Google: ‘Through the Looking Glass by Edward Jay Epstein’


    Yes, the above means that Russian troops outside their bases in the eastern Ukraine will return to their bases when the anti-Communist demonstrations are squashed.

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      Can I call tinfoil here? At a bare minimum…………

      • Better you call the academic system(s)/institution(s) you matriculated and demand your [tax] monies back.

  • Michael Schachter

    Total cobblers, and that is putting it politely.

  • firstnamejames

    Q. Where next for Putin?

    Ans: Africa

    I remember what my father said 10 yrs ago : if only it had been made illegal to promote equality, pacifism and other similarly repulsive dogmas in universities in the 60’s, we would have nuked Africa saved $Trillions and reclaimed that sizeable chunk of land by now. And it would have been kinder than the ongoing AIDS experiment on live subjects.

    Also – so what if Putin isn’t a genius, he is smarter than Obama. Calling him stupid is as dumb as calling Hitler stupid: an Austrian army corporal takes over the most sophisticated culture in Europe and he’s stupid ?
    Perhaps that’s what they teach in BBC training college/state schools.

    James ( cambridge uni phd student @ marine le pen is soft )

  • allymax bruce

    John, I’m glad I read Massie’s article first, because yours is bollocks!

  • Steve Rodriguez

    The author is on to something with the end of Pax Americana, but it started with the communist in chief messiah obama, not Bush. Bush was an exhausted Presidency in August 2008, the country was depleted from the Iraq adventure. Furthermore, Georgia’s prodding of the Russian bear, and the breakaway regions affinity for Russian rule, made the Russian-Georgian skirmish (which is what it was, as compared to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) something Bush could not entangle the US in with an election just a few months away. It was the messiah who codified US retreat.

    But be careful what you wish for, what replaces Pax Americana may not be liberal, democratic, or free market, and certainly not as benign. I also would not rule out a return of American backbone – a few more encroachments west by the Russian bear and an election in 2016 could reverse the current vacuum on the Euro-Asian land mass.

    • david70

      “the communist in chief messiah Obama”
      Do you know how much of an idiot you sound like?

      • Steve Rodriguez

        Call them like I see them…..do you need me to recite the record?

        • david70

          You call them like the right wing media machine tells you. You clearly have no idea what a communist is (if he were leader of any European nation, he would be considered conservative), and, what, there’s a record of Obama as messiah? Do you have photographic evidence of him walking on water?

          • Steve Rodriguez

            I know left-wing anti-American automatons who simply follow
            the messiah and his state run media outlet MSNBC are incapable of recognizing a
            rhetorical flourish, since you can’t take your gaze away from your OFA talking
            points. Obviously, as a one dimensional
            thinker, you can’t realize that I am being sarcastic. As a Christian, I quite recognize he is not
            the messiah.

            I can’t provide a complete answer, since I have to return to
            work to pay for all of your government dependence, what aggrieved group do you
            represent? Blacks, women, militant homosexuals, atheist, 20-something college graduate,
            or welfare recipient?

            In any event, the collectivist nature of US tax policy, the
            dictatorial nature of US agencies such as the EPA, IRS and others using
            administrative rule and not the law to control people’s lives – or in the case
            of the IRS, outright harrasment, the unilateral disregard for the law (not
            enforcing DOMA, not enforcing immigration law) I can go on, the enforcement of
            health care through the IRS….I could cite hundreds of example of the federal
            government acting in an authoritarian manner, “communist” being a
            grab bag reference but it is probably more like a cult of personality applied
            through fascism.

            And I haven’t started on the issue of foreign policy.

          • david70

            Whoa, I can’t tell if this is just some cosmically brilliant trolling or the rantings of someone who’s escaped from the insane asylum. For the record, I’m a white male, straight, early middle aged, and employed. The fact that you think I’d have to be black, a woman, a militant homosexual, an atheist, 20-something college graduate, or welfare recipient to find problems with your describing Obama as a communist or messiah is… telling. (BTW, many more Americans fall into one or more of those groups you listedthat are not in any of them).
            Also, the IRS and EPA existed long before Obama. And deportations actually increased significantly under Obama. I don’t know why it would matter if healthcare compliance was done through the IRS; would you feel better about it if it were done through any other agency? BTW, what do you think of Bush’s unfunded Medicare Part D and TARP?

            And “”communist” being a grab bag reference?” What the heck is that supposed to mean?

          • Steve Rodriguez

            I don’t know you, the references to Obama’s voting groups can only be telling in that it would be a suprise if you were NOT in one of those groups. The ODDS are that you must be, but of course there is the 10-20% chance that you are not. It was a generalization, which I have to again assume you would agree, is often times required when communicating through the little reply windows in a comment section. Your point about the IRS and EPA makes no sense, that they existed before Obama has nothing to do with how he has used those agencies . The deportations have increased, but does not change the point that he unilaterally through executive order UNCONSTITUTIONALLY Dream Act waivers for a whole class of illegals that are here. So that off-sets increased deportations by the number he has allowed to stay illegally. I don’t believe there should be ANY mandate for carrying health insurance, and therefore NO enforcement at all. The majority of Americans agree with that view point since polling began on the mandate in 2009. I was opposed to Medicare Part D, which benefits my parents. However, it at least hs market incentives and has come in UNDER budget every year. But again, I opposed it. TARP was passed with a Democratic majority, many conservatives opposed it. I categorically opposed Bush for creating TARP. We would have been better off simply guaranteeing bank deposits and let the loans and banks go under. We survived the Savings and Loan crisis, and it would not have rewarded the criminal bankers who got us into this mess – with a lot of help from the CRA passed by Carter, and re-upped by Clinton. Clinton also got rid of Glass-steagal, whch could have kept commercial banks separate from depositors banks.

            I could go on, we don’t have enough time and I can’t type that well. You get the my drift, whether you agree with it or not.

          • david70

            Medicare Part D has market incentives and has come in UNDER budget every year? Dude, you are grossly uninformed. And a liar. You told me “I can’t provide a complete answer, since I have to return to
            work to pay for all of your government dependence,” them immediately spent a lot of time on a rambling reply to my reply!

          • david70

            Wait, I just caught this… you oppose the repeal of Glass-steagal? But what about FREEEEDOM? Or… are you actually saying that government regulation might, on occasion, be useful?

          • Steve Rodriguez

            Calling me a liar…..you can always count on the class and decency of the left. I do have to go to work, so after this post, you can have the last word, I won’t spend any moe of my time on it since you have taken it personally,

            Again, one dimensional thinker – Reagan granting asylum for 3 million illegals in 1986, in an era of enforced English language learning, and limited access (compared to today) to social welfare, along with a generation of Mexicans who and wanted to become American (I went to school with migrant kids in the public schools of Tampa Florida, there parents worked in the fields and they never stayed a full school year because the ones I knew they packed up and went home)…..

            that is not comparable to 12 million illegals wedded to a grievance industry that gives them victim status, access to social welfare, and does not force the shame factor on them to assimilate. Instead, they are lured here with Democratic promises of being legalized without any penalty or requirement to assimilate. Most people can tell the difference between an ascendant, rich country with an assimilation plan and a immigrant group wanting to assimilate in 1986, versus a bankrupt, high unemployment, country with a resentful immigrant group egged on by left wing politicians in 2014. Never mind the foreign policy implications related to protecting the border from potential terrorists.

            I know you want more voters, we only ask you secure them legally.

            I’m out, back to work….YOU have the last word.

          • david70

            1. 3 million were how many were granted amnesty, not how many there were at the time.
            2. Neither Obama nor any prominent Democrat is proposing amnesty, and yet this non-amnesty and high deportation rate is supposed to be a way for Democrats to get more illegals legal and vote for Democrats?
            3. The net number of illegals has actually decreased over the past few years.
            4. Immigrants in 1986 wanted to assimilate, but immigrants today don’t? Eh?

  • G26

    Since those who preach from collectivism’s altar hold an irrational confidence in human reason, they object to that which is not controlled.

  • Is it wise to prop up edifices that are ready to collapse in on themselves?

    As long as corruption eats away at Russia, Ukraine, and elsewhere where honesty and moral hazard receive only lip service (the effects are like polonium on Litvinenko)

    pointing fingers is as useful as using milk to stop a train.

    So, where to now?

    Given the necessity of co-operation to reverse corruption, I suggest that Russians and Ukrainians look to see if others will join in as partners (instead of the Kremlin calling the shots) in a venture that has a chance of being beneficial to the partners, and more.

    Why shouldn’t there be a new Byzantine Empire that sees Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Cyprus join with Russia and Ukraine to have more to work with to have cleaner government. Plus, I think Israel, Canada and Australia would like company in sticking up for Christians from Nigeria to Indonesia.

  • jamesmace

    Didnt they say Hussein and his troops had totally outmaneuvered the west….until he didnt?

    • Caroline Louise

      It’s a tactic. Try to make us feel threatened so we’ll be softened up for the ” necessary measures” to save us all.

      Oh and of course Putin is being groomed for the role of new Goldstein now Osama is dead. 🙂

  • Caroline Louise

    Brilliant satire on the hysterical, ruthlessly hypocritical attitude of western media and government. Faux moralising. Absurd pomposity and ignorance. Perfect.

    Sadly you apparently intend us to take it seriously.

    Oh dear.

  • godot

    …”there is simply not enough disorder and anarchy in Ukraine to provide a pretext for any further incursion.” You underestimate Putin’s ruthlessness. Next will come attacks on ethnic Russians that will be made to look as if perpetrated by supporters of Kiev’s interim government. In fact they will all be orchestrated by Mr P – he is skilled at sowing disorder and anarchy. Will he settle for the Crimean piece of the pie? Unlikely. Nobody will stop him.

  • ConallBoyle

    ” he made the classic authoritarian mistake of firing on the protesters”

    Oh dear! As we now know, this is NOT true, however much the tame media try to say it is. (Ask the Lithuanian PM and Ashton the EU person what they said)

    So it looks like the rest of this piece is no more than lying propaganda. But for whom. Kagan of the PNAC?

  • storibund

    In the case of Poland, he made matters worse by informing Warsaw of this
    decision on 17 September 2009 — the 70th anniversary of the Soviet
    invasion of Poland in 1939.

    Dear god, this man has just lurched from one painfully cringeworthy moment to the next on the world stage. In six years he hasn’t managed to improve one iota.

  • WalterPaulKomarnicki

    it’s a bit rich of the U.S. president to be lecturing the Russian president for being ‘on the wrong side of history’ so conveniently ignoring what the U.S. did to Grenada, Panama, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba (Bay of Pigs), justifying those actions by its ‘manifest destiny’ and the Monroe Doctrine (never renounced or revoked).

    That being said, I wonder what the people in Estonia must be going through right now, with 40% of their population Russian.

    • Terry Field

      Let him who is without Oligarch investments cast the first Estonia.

  • Terry Field

    Von Moltke was quite correct.
    One state would have to bend the knee.
    Germany bends the knee to Russia.
    And the rest, like Thatcher’s vegetables, do the same.

  • Treebrain

    “…the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989…”

    What an absurd statement, John O’Sullivan!

    Do you have a clue of how many wars, military engagements and drone strikes the US indulged itself in since 1989?

    How about the activities of its allies in NATO and elsewhere?

    far more pertinently, how much success has the US achieved during ‘Pax Americana’ and the years that followed?

    On the verge of ‘cut and rnu’ in Afghanistan/Vietnam Deja Vu before a Taliban victory?

    The removal of Saddam Hussein, the destruction of Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of death and the millions of injuries and the tidal wave of refugees?

    The emergence of Iran as a regional power with a Shiite ally in Iraq and the ability to support Assad and Hezbollah?

    Way to go USA!

  • Gnaeus-Julius Agricola

    Let`s all unfurl the EU banner and march as one against the Russian foe behind valiant Queen Ashdown of the scary teeth.
    Only joking.
    Only joking.
    Actually, who is going to defend the EU?

  • potts1

    Lively, liberal government in Kiev…? The fascists run the police, the army and the security services while their brownshirts run the streets. Opposition politicians are arrested for even mentioning devolution and the state is being “cleansed” of anyone not approved of by Praviy Sektor.

    This author is a craven apologist for both fascism and untrammelled US/EU domination of the globe.

    Evil, dressed up in civilised prose, but deadly evil nonetheless.

  • Plow Comms

    At the end of the proverbial day, preserving liberty is up to each of us: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Agus Nizami

    Well, most of the Crimea citizens are Russians (58.32%) while Ukrainians only 24.32%. Thus, if most of the Crimeans are welcome to the Russian Soldiers, then why US government is so upset?
    Is US government never invade countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Vietnam, Korea, etc and kill millions of people? Just look into the mirror!
    If most of the Crimeans who are Russians are supporting Russian Soldiers, then Ukraine will not be able to defeat Russia in Crimea.

    Yanukovyich is the elected President. Most of Crimeans choose Yanukovyich as president and most of them are Russians. So let’s the Crimean people decide what’s best for them. Not Russia nor Ukraine.

  • palsimon

    Viktor Yanukovych administration is the legitimate government of Ukraine, and I assume everything possible will be done to restore him. Ukraine majority does not want to enter into treaties with EU. Period. WH should not be trying to force this terrible EU on Ukraine

  • Anastasja Boot

    Does Putin really have any long-term strategy? It seems he actually has none. He knows how to make Russia a Soviet Union, ok maybe memories of the past are dear to Russian hearts, but is this really enough to unite other nations around Moscow? I doubt he has what to offer. Soviets had a great idea for import. Even if it was a mistake, it was a real idea. As for modern Russia – it is alive in its strange surrealistic world, filled with phantoms of previous glory. It is attacking Ukraine so fiercely not even because they need Ukraine – because these actions fill their world with some surrogate of sence. And worldwide, they end up with hosting dreadfullest dictators and co-operating with their regimes – to go against Americans who import democracy worldwide (not a perfect process but still). It’s a shame and pity that such a beautiful and big country as Russia now fails to produce something long-term and constructive
    So the world was afraid of the Soviet Union as a dangerous enemy, but Putin’s Russia arouses concern rather like a lunatic with a gun from the attic.