The article below by Gilbert Doctorow echos my own expressed apprehensions about Putin’s extraordinary restraint in the face of extraordinary provocations. I admire Putin for his restraint, which is totally missing among his Western counterparts. Nevertheless, I have expressed concern that the same restraint that is preventing war might be leading to war. Many historians of World War II concluded that it was British Prime Minister Chamberlain’s good intentions to defuse conflict situations rather than to put down a firm foot that encouraged Hitler to go too far.
Doctorow is certainly correct that no Western politician would have spoken to or about any Soviet leader as they do about Putin. The situation has reached the point of extreme recklessness with the UK government declaring that it is preparing for war with Russia. During the Soviet era no UK government would ever have declared anything so preposterously provocative. Russia can wipe the UK off the face of the earth in a few minutes, and the British defense minister declares that Britain is preparing for war against Russia!
Putin is an intelligent, polite, accommodating and reasonable leader, the like of which exists nowhere in the Western world. He is the only political leader anywhere who can stand before assembled and often hostile media for hours answering every question without evasion, notes, or aides whispering the answer into his ear. Putin deserves everyone’s respect. Instead, he is subjected, along with Russia, to an orchestrated demonization campaign. How does this promote peace? In our time of incomprehensibly powerful nuclear weapons, how can such irresponsible Western behavior be justified?
Doctorow says that Putin is such a reasonable person who exercises such self-control that no one is afraid of offending him. The situation is unstable. Sooner or later Putin will have to put his foot down or lose either Russia’s sovereignty or his support among the Russian people. If Putin waits too long, his foot can come down at the point where the idiot politicians that comprise “Western leadership” have beat the drums of war to the point that they cannot be silenced.
Washington’s foolishness is extraordinary for another reason. Washington thinks that sanctioning, demonizing, and ostracizing Putin’s Russia will result in Putin’s overthrow. Possibly, but the offended nationalism of the Russian people and military would not produce a Washington puppet as Putin’s replacement. It would produce a less restrained Russian nationalist who would use Russia’s power to discipline its detractors.
Either outcome leads to war and to the death of us all.