Not a Russian troll, my friend.
But I don’t share the common misplaced misperception that Russia is our enemy.
This era of President Putin has a six year term limit he will have to bend again if Vladimir the spy killer wants to stay in power.
Russia is a great and powerful federation responsible for ridding the world of nazism as well as trying to impose marxism on it.
After feudal aristocracy came war, upheaval, a brief stint as a liberal democracy under Alexander Kerensky before Lenin got railed in via Sweden to upend society and impose either chaos or total control of the government.
The searing poverty and want of her people, when faced with a choice between liberal values and bread, chose to eat rather than die for an ideal.
So, tepidly at first but then overwhelmingly, Lenin’s brand of collectivist authoritarianism he called communism came to take control.
Hemmed in by a losing battle, left unaided by her western allies Britain and France, as well as presiding over an economically and socially dislocated people, Prime Minister Kerensky could barely manage to supply the troops with food let alone rebuild Russia in the midst of a conflict that had brought her to her knees.
Germany refused peace entreaties, hoping and expecting a more favourable deal from the fifth columnist Lenin they had trained in from Switzerland when he finally won power and toppled the powerless government.
And get it they did, with the Britsk-Litovsk peace treaty which stripped Russia of all eastern Europe as well as a decent portion of Russia itself.
It was a humiliation that such terms, so easily won from Lenin, were imposed.
But a peace had been found, enabling the bolsheviks to consolidate their power.
Civil war broke out between the monied elite and largely underfed workers.
As a note, never forget the influence food has had on human history – it’s the foundation of every functioning society.
So whites and reds went to war, but it was a futile effort to contest Lenin, who had control of key resources and the manufacturing base.
Despite western support, the whites lost. Russia had fallen into dictatorship – from Tsarism to communism with a fleeting interlude of democracy almost as if it were dreaming.
Traditionally undemocratic, a tradition maintained with only the briefest moments of hints towards liberalism, the Kremlin as it currently stands with a strongman at the helm is positively established as a typical ideation of how Russia is governed.
President Putin has taken hold of the key levers of state, delegated authority to a cadre of trusted allies and systematically removed or neutralised any threats – both real and perceived – he might feel threatens his iron grip.
This was made fairly easy by the fact his predecessors were the drunkard Boris Yeltsin and the reluctant leader of the unfree world, Gorbachev.
It has been so easy for United Russia to thoroughly ingrain itself on society with an effectiveness only matched by China’s communist party.
But, like China with Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Russia’s established elite do not control a monopoly on power.
There remains dissent, liberal ideas and a loosely organised opposition that still demands Putin at least perform the charade that Russia is in fact the democracy we know it’s not.
But the mere fact that he has to is a sure sign of weakness, a realisation that Putin’s time at the helm has only a six year term left in office before another Putin puppet like Medvedev takes his place.
To be free of Putinism in its entirety will take as long as it takes for him to take his last breath.
So unless the people rise up against him, Russia should now be formally regarded as a dictatorship.
The economy is run as an extension of government, private capital is simply another name for corrupt practices and democratic elements are kept in check with extra judicial killings of opposition figures, trumped up charges and widespread vote rigging.
So confident is the president at controlling his federation through fear, propaganda and repression he has even turned his hand to influencing American elections to get a desired outcome.
It worked, we have Trump. A do nothing stable genius who boasts of eating a good lunch in the company of other stable geniuses as passing for a productive agenda.
Trump, the leader that’s tearing up trade deals left, right and centre, imposing tariffs and other trade and immigration barriers on undesired nations and uncompetitive industries, and sends government revenue dramatically further south with unfunded tax cuts which weaken the already strained levers of government.
A president who, despite holding majorities in both houses of congress, still somehow manages to shut down his own government.
Kim Jong In might have had a fair point when he called President Trump a dotard.
So Russia succeeded, and the west is now lead by a leader of the free world whose collective achievements are crafting questionable contracts using every loophole and shortcut available to turn a dime for a dollar, as well as hosting a reality television series.
This is a leader who has gone through more staff already than every other administration in only one year.
Someone who, when met with gun violence, tells victims to go buy a gun.
A man who’s opinion of women would offend a misogynist.
But enough about the west, this is Putin’s doing.
America can control one man from tearing our liberal internationalist order down in four years.
The Mueller enquiry, the midterms and the 2020 election will correct the ledger and bring us back from vaudeville.
Soon Biden will be leader, and professional administration can resume after this current rather unpleasant interruption.
At least he fired 59 missiles at Syria last April, which is more than Obama did when faced with chemical weapons strikes in 2013.
Syria crossed a US red line, and nothing happened.
Putin has been crossing them ever since.
In Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Syria and the Arctic, a resurgent Federation is reclaiming it’s title as a pole in this increasingly multipolar world.
Despite its limitations and need to feign due process when in reality a murderous thug is in charge, as usual, Russia is united by fear or by logic behind the idea that at every turn the west must be confronted.
In elections, airspace, warzones and even Salisbury park benches, Russia is imposing its own version of international order unilaterally.
And America can do little in many parts of the world about it.
To make matters worse, it has a shrinking obsolescent nuclear arsenal at a time both Russia and China are producing hypersonic nuclear intercontinental missiles to evade the cursory US and European missile shield.
In every sense, at every turn the west has been late to the party – impotent in Ukraine and a bit player in Syria.
It’s inability to govern liberated Iraq has seen it fall into Tehran’s sphere of influence, meaning the only means of establishing a buffer between Israel and Iran is through the recognition of Kurdish sovereignty in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey is quickly falling into Moscow’s orbit to the point of buying air defences from them instead of Europe, and Ankara is willingly playing the role of spoiler in western plans to maintain control of the Middle East.
In Yemen, Iran is trying to turn the coast into a no go area.
In Saudi Arabia, Russia is tempting them with favours.
And in Egypt, Putin has managed to secure Cairo’s inaction on Syria.
It’s bilateralism at its best, guided by the ideological hand of realism.
No liberal internationalist order, no liberties, no protection for the weak.
Just a power hungry structure that rewards patronage and brute force with more power.
We saw it on 7th February when, despite a deconfliction line, phone number and agreement, Russia brazenly attempted to attack American positions in eastern Syria using mercenaries for diplomatic cover.
Fortunately, for us, America stood its ground for once.
The outcome rattled Moscow so much that it sent its fifth generation fighters to Syria in response, then quietly withdrew them without a shot being fired.
The message was a simple one – we can meet you as an equal on the battlefield, but the truth is they really can’t. As evidenced by the slaughter of dozens of Russian fighters by American artillery and air power.
To beat Putin at his game, confronting strength with restraint can only work for so long
The same applies to Xi Jinping, who will take every piece of contested territory it can.
Like Japan and Germany in the 1930s, the free world faces two capitalist dictatorships poised to expand their influence by whatever means necessary.
This is a contest for the established order, plain and simple.
Both nations have a seat at the first table in the established one – the UN – but they want much more.
They yearn for the power America and her allies hold but are too scared to wield – the power to impose their will on the world.
Such an ability is not to be abused, but neither should it be wasted.
In four key theatres, this power is sorely needed.
Ukraine needs help to liberate Donetsk and Luhansk from Russian backed separatists.
Syria needs to be bombed into holding genuine peace talks.
Yemen needs allied intervention to make right what the Saudis are currently making a mess of.
And the South China Sea needs more western vessels than you can throw a hockey stick at to stop Chinese invasion.
Four theatres of a slowly approaching global war.
While we are strong, it is paramount for us to defend freedom from the front.
Establish a democratic Yemen and Syria, keep the sea lanes free for trade, pleasure and commerce, as well as restore a secure border to Ukraine.
Let Russia keep Crimea, just to save face.
It was part if Russia until an administrative error by the Kruschev regime gave it to Kiev, which should never have happened.
Sevastopol is home to the Black sea fleet, it’s a central part of Russia’s defence network.
Crimea is an essential for Moscow, it’s superfluous to Kiev.
Let them have it.
But let’s take back Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and South China Sea in the name of freedom.
Otherwise, the march to another world war is inevitable.
Russia and China are not nations we should seek conflict with, but like all great power relationships, peace can only be found in strength.
As such, Trump needs more than 59 tomahawk missiles before Putin and Xi get the message.
At present, we face defeat in every contested theatre.
Once lost, we don’t get them back.
It’s time to defend our democratic freedoms using the second amendment – the only language a dictator understands.