+I heard a Democratic Congressman yesterday talking about how he thought Putin had lost his marbles. And after Trump, it was clear he could spot such a type a mile off. Wasn’t it Trump after all telling ‘Little Rocket Man’ that he—Trump—had a bigger button and could unleash something the world had never seen the like of before? Now Putin is using virtually the same language.
+After this war is over—barring local resistance—Putin will have made a significant territorial gain. Russia will of course pay a price with sanctions, but then what? When does the talking start again? Since NATO will have proved worthless in the eyes of many Ukrainians, some uneasy maneuvering will necessarily take place. A European form of Syria, perhaps? Remember Syria?
+None of the above is an endorsement of Putin’s reckless action. People who start wars should be condemned. But since western governments were warning of this weeks and months ago, they could have taken the expansion of NATO off the table. It is said it’s the Ukrainian people’s democratic right to say if they want to join NATO. It is perhaps a perversion of democracy that none of the rest of us would be given a say in the matter.
+It was always Tony Blair’s sheer self-belief that led him to meet Assad and Ghadaffi in the expectation that they would listen to him and adjust their thinking to fit in with the new global model, which is not to say that they would respect a liberal democratic norm, but would at least resist the temptation to cut themselves off entirely from the enticements of our munificence. Later, Tony notoriously carried on consulting with all sorts of autocratic rotters to teach them how they could improve their standing with the West. Essentially the message was more trade would improve the lot of their citizens and a blessed society would result. Didn’t quite work out that way, not least in Palestine (or any where else so far as I’m aware) but you’ve got to admire the chutzpah. There is something essential missing in the formula that merely having better living standards solves ancient rivalries, corruptions and anti-democratic urges. Globalisation, that is, the freedom of trade has clearly not resolved any of these problems. Not that you’d know that from its cheerleaders.
+It’s been two months now since I packed up reading the Guardian. I can’t say I miss it, even though I thought I really would. In fact I feel a certain sense of liberation. This is not the same as saying the paper hasn’t occasionally reported stuff which nobody else would give much attention to, but when they had the material one always wondered how much self-censorship went on lest they went too far. My subscription saving will help offset my new energy bills.