Ogre Vladimir Putin goes rogue by raising spectre of nukes

Ogre Vladimir Putin goes rogue by raising spectre of nukes. By Greg Sheridan.

Vladimir Putin’s grotesque brandishing of nuclear weapons escalates the global crisis he has brought about by invading Ukraine, and takes the historic dislocation visited on the world by this aggression to a new level. …

History, which so often seems to move at a glacial pace, is on steroids right now.

The West invoked its strongest sanctions against Russia yet, expelling a number of Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system and taking actions against Russia’s central bank. The rouble promptly lost 30 per cent of its value and fell to a record low.

Germany overturned the ­entirety of its post-war political culture. It now solemnly commits itself to spending more than 2 per cent of its GNP on its military and has embarked on a $US110bn and more equipment modernisation.

Once, this would have been a staggering development. After World II, denazification meant that Germany rightly eschewed military power. Then from the 1970s its leaders flattered themselves that they had a special ­insight into eastern Europe and the communist and post-communist worlds. The result has been the Germans have always lent ­towards appeasement of Russia and have not shouldered anything remotely resembling their share of Europe and NATO’s security burden.

Instead, the Europeans, like Australia, effectively left all the hard stuff to America. But America can no longer deal simultaneously, and alone, with major security challenges in different parts of the world — with Russia in Europe, with Iran in the Middle East, and with China in Asia. …

The EU is closing its air space to Russia and, for the first time in its history, will supply weapons to a nation at war.

Putin will produce other results he doesn’t like. Shamefully, the West did not provide Ukraine with the weapons it needed to defend itself because to do so, it was thought, would be provocative of Russia.

That always specious argument will no longer have any defenders. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the other frontline states will all now be armed and bolstered. NATO, having watched Ukrainians demonstrate gallant and heroism beyond any expectation, are vowed now to defend every inch of NATO territory.

If Ukraine can survive as an ­independent nation, even just in its western half, then EU membership should be rushed ahead — perhaps too NATO membership.

Putin has provided the world with a how-to in becoming a pariah state. The Taiwanese will be hoping the Chinese are drawing the right conclusions.