A self-indulgent West has allowed Putin to start re-erecting the Iron Curtain - by Charles Moore

Europe faces a threat unlike anything we have seen since the Cold War according to Charles Moore in the Telegraph dated 25.02.22, more dangerous even than the re-occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 which in strict political terms at least fell within the Soviet 'sphere of influence.'


"The Russian invasion of Ukraine, though widely foreseen, is a greater shock, and not just because it is much more violent. It overthrows the post-Cold War settlement which allows sovereign states to choose their own security. It reimposes, by force, the sphere-of-influence doctrine. Vladimir Putin says Ukraine is not a country, but a space that belongs to him, so he is grabbing it. He is winning fast. His victory will be a defeat, not just for poor Ukraine, but for the free world."


The West only has itself to blame for its present predicament.


"Without downplaying any of Putin’s guilt, one has to admit that, without the West’s negligence, he could never have achieved this week’s result. Early this century, the then German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, put his country in thrall to Russian gas, subsequently making huge personal gain from this connection. His successor, Angela Merkel, ended Germany’s nuclear power programme, increasing her country’s dependence on Russian gas.


Barack Obama sought to “reset” relations with Russia without exacting any price. Donald Trump almost hero-worshipped Putin. Joe Biden agreed to meet Putin without preconditions. Putin was emboldened by seeing, in Biden’s scuttle from Afghanistan, much the same humiliation that the Russians had endured when they fled Kabul at the end of the Cold War.


In recent weeks, Emmanuel Macron tried to cut a dash as peace-broker and persuaded Biden to say he would meet Putin in person – a result hailed by the BBC news, only last Monday, as a “breakthrough”. Now the French president looks like a vainglorious poseur."


The UK too must take its share of responsibility:


"For 30 years now, and particularly since the New Labour, New Everything era that began in 1997, we have pursued a politics which is almost proud of its self-indulgence. The big issues have concerned ethnicity, sexuality, gender, personal identity and a green lifestyle – a luxurious world where we can all become picky about dietary preferences, micro-aggressions, well-being, pronouns and carbon neutrality. At great universities such as Cambridge, fierce anathemas have been hurled at long-dead donors who may have benefitted from the slave trade, but large sums of money have been accepted from offshoots of the Chinese Communist Party."


Perversely, Vladimir Putin may actually have done the West a favour:


"The only good thing about the terrible events of this week is that they bring us back to reality. Like September 11 2001, or China’s behaviour over Covid, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine dispels cherished illusions.


We at last realise that this is a man whom we cannot trust, with whom we should not trade and whom we must resist. He is a man who is threatening, almost in so many words, to use his tactical nuclear weapons if we try to stop him. Nato, whose purpose has been neglected in recent years, can revive – and add friendly countries such as Finland and Sweden to its number. It is now the only way of defending what we thought we had gained when we won the Cold War – Europe, whole and free."


The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:


Article for the Telegraph by Charles Moore - A self-indulgent West has allowed Putin to st
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