What has been frightening in recent months is the willingness of the West to talk up the threat of Russia. Up until yesterday we appeared to be sliding inexorably toward a second cold war. This may be averted by the election of Trump. For reasons that escape me this is a bad thing. Some may call it appeasement but I would have thought it wise to tone down the rhetoric if only to buy a little more time. More talk is always better.
It seems that the West's beef with Russia is Russian action in Syria. This I cannot fathom. If Assad has lasted this long then it is fair to assume that he will stay the course. For better or for worse this is a war that needs to end and Russia is ending it. The West had an opportunity some years ago but it would have required boots on the ground and extensive air operations. After the messes in Afghanistan and Iraq there was no public consent for such measure thus we relegated ourselves to the sidelines. We are now reduced to military me-tooism, executing mostly useless air strikes so that we feel better about ourselves. We are in no position to be making demands or calling the shots.
To me that suggests that Western influence has been much diminished by our clueless adventures. Like Vietnam we try to fight wars without actually doing those things that are normally associated with having a war. We are squeamish and there is zero tolerance for civilian casualties. What makes Russian activity all the more decisive is Putin having no qualms about doing what in his view needs to be done to bring about an end to this destructive conflict. This makes Russia the power broker and this is what the West has a problem with.
In more ways than one Russia is proving to be the skewer of Western delusions. In this you have to examine the propaganda efforts of Putin. For years now Russia Today has given prominence to Ukip and the Tory right, massaging Eurosceptic sentiment. Not just here in the UK either. There has been a concerted effort on the part of Russia to undermine the EU.
Moreover, the EU and western political elites have not done themselves any favours. UK politicians like to preen about our enlightened liberalism - often citing gay marriage - which is a flashpoint issue across Europe. It was never really discussed. It was nodded through by parliament and the politically correct atmosphere at the time meant that nobody really put up a robust opposition to it. We went along with it because for the UK, for the most part, it does not matter to us as an issue. Not so for Poland and Eastern Europe though, particularly Ukraine which as an EU candidate state is having the full PC agenda rammed down its throat.
Putin has been able to capitalise on the growing gulf between the people West's aloof and disconnected political class. I recall just recently Putin putting out a video of him condemning a recent decision by a UK judge to spare punishment of an immigrant youth arrested for sexual assault on the grounds that he didn't know any better.
As it happens, I can sort of understand the ruling in that a key part of our legal values requires that we examine the intent of a crime, but the fact of the matter is that we should not be importing people who do not know instinctively that sexual assault is not the done thing - and it isn't racist in the slightest to demand that we have a more robust immigration policy to ensure the safety of our people. But the suggestion of racism is never far from the surface.
In this, Putin is keen to show to the world that the West is decadent and weak and unable to uphold its values without being caught up in the quandary of moral relativism. Our judgements may be technically right but the real world consequences is more foreign rapists on the street who go unpunished. YAY for western progressivism!
While Putin's tactics are only half effective in the UK they really do speak to Eastern Europe which is still heavily Catholic. What is notable about the election of Trump and Brexit is that it is very much the shires versus the cities. I expect that is also true of Poland and Hungary. There is a feeling that normal values are being undermined by a liberal elite - imposing their values on the people, belittling their own values (aided and abetted by the BBC) and removing the means of debate. I'm not the first to point out that it is the politically correct left who put Trump in the White House.
In the eyes of the Western progressives this makes Putin enemy number one. He offends all of their values and and stands to be more popular with the Western working classes than they are. Not for nothing are those on the right who call for a more rational discourse with Russia labelled Putin sympathisers. If I recall correctly Clinton even pulled that one on Trump.
Meanwhile the public are taking a close look at the disintegration of their moral norms - more advanced in the USA - with a ruling class spending more time debating third gender bathrooms than jobs and growth, and finding they have more in common with Putin than they do their own "leaders".
Meanwhile, while our idiotic politicians debate the frivolities they have abdicated real governance to a class of remote globalists who are not in any way accountable to the people. The EU is one such aspect of an emerging network of global organisations, many of which are barely acknowledged. Even my own Twitter account has more followers than Codex Alimentarius. You could be forgiven for thinking that government was no longer in the hands of people we elect and the people we elect have completely lost the plot.
And there's every justification for thinking that. Our politicians are ever more keen to ramp up the rhetoric and deploy ever more forces on Russia's doorstep not out of any real principle - but because Russia is an existential threat - not to the West, but the globalist claque dominating Western politics. If there were any real commitment to our values of mutual defence then the EU, having gone to extensive lengths to bring Ukraine into the fold, would not have hung them out to dry.
This is really about political self-preservation. What the UK, EU and USA have in common is a gilded class of politicians who think they are entitled to power and all they need do is join the queue. Bush follows bush, Clinton follows Clinton, Brown follows Blair, and were it not for Brexit our next PM would be Osborne. And for those like Kinnock and Clegg there is a revolving door club - the EU, an antechamber for the up and comers and a retirement home for the political failures. After which it's on to that UN club in the sky where you rake in the millions for after dinner speeches.
That's the global level where the real power is. Brown and Blair were dumped by the electorate but now have special envoy status. We do not as yet know where Mr Cameron will find himself and Brexit has closed down the options but there is always a golden safety net.
In this realm of politics the NGOs and the corporate foundations roam free, accountable to nobody, making up the rules as they go, signing treaties that never see parliamentary scrutiny. And of course parliament never objects to crown prerogative then.
This is the political cronyism that drives globalism. The concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few. Brexit upsets the programme quite a lot and so does the election of Trump. Most now expect that TTIP is dead. Next up, eyes turn to France where there is a good chance Le Pen could defeat Sarkozy - himself one of the gilded few. France now holds the key. They can bring the whole house down and collapse the EU.
If you look at Twitter right now the big thing that frightens them is the very real possibility that Trump will bring the climate change cult to an end. Without US backing, China walks away and then it is consigned to the fringes. And that's no bad thing because if you look at any global rulemaking, attached to it is the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are effectively social policy exports to lesser developed countries. Cultural imperialism. This is why Russia is so hostile to NGOs.
It is specifically because Russia does not play along with the West's decadent and childish delusions that Russia has been made the international pariah. It is said that Putin will be celebrating at this weeks news. Maybe so. The era of the globalist clique might well be over.
As most now know, climate change is the pretext by which the globalists exert their power, using the imaginary threat planetary extinction to leverage more and more control. Anyone who sees the game in play is immediately labelled a populist or conspiracy theorist or worse - but the cat is out of the bag now. It has been growing for some time and everybody can see how corrupt it is.
This does not make Trump a revolutionary - it just makes him the catalyst. The authority of our ruling class has been on the wane for some time. In all likelihood Trump will be as bad, if not worse than the old order, but what should concern us is what comes out the other side. Trump will most likely put the WTO into stasis, which is effectively a moratorium on comprehensive trade deals the likes of TTIP. Few on the left or right will mourn its passing.
This is being billed as a retreat from economic and social liberalism. I don't know that it is since the EU and the US cannot by any measure be described as economic liberalism and US style social liberalism means being free to say as you please just so long as it is kosher and approved by polite society. The short of it is, the global orthodoxy that has been growing since the end of the cold war is over. Or at least it is circling the drain. That is no bad thing at all.
What we are seeing is a global political realignment where the people are voting for populists not in order to install populist regimes but to depose an immovable ruling class which has gradually sought to dismantle democracy and the powers of the nation state. It uses the language of progressivism to camouflage its true intent which is the economic and social imperialism of a very select few.
This is not a resurgence of fascism nor is it a rejection of liberal values. People just want government that acts in their own interests and doesn't dictate morality. Ordinary people are tired of being harangued and coerced and are tired of being taxed to pay for things they don't have a say in. What is being built in our name is being built without our consent and mostly by deception.
This change is not an endorsement of Putin's authoritarianism and it is not an endorsement of Trump either. What this is is a complete rejection of a political class that has outstayed its welcome and is out of ideas that can counter the empty rhetoric of Trump and Farage. But what is interesting is how Farage is already irrelevant. His purpose has been served and sooner or later Trump will be forgotten too. What we have done here is set change in motion. What that looks like nobody knows but the people have decided that now is the time for change.
As it happens, if this does embolden Putin, he is mistaken. Brits still remember the cold war. Brits are still inherently suspicious of Russia and if anything Russia's propaganda games have been superfluous to a shift in mood that was happening under its own steam. It may well mean the death of the EU and Western globalism - and it may even force us to come to the table with Russia. We'll need to move away from the climate change dogma that has dominated the world stage for the last two decades and focus on jobs and growth.
If that happens we may find Russia can be a great ally with massively untapped resources that could very well ease a great many of our problems. I find that prospect a whole lot more appealing than another cold war. Western virtue signalling has deadly consequences. I for one am glad the people have been wise enough to seek another path. I'm not willing to see British soldiers die for a global order run for the enrichment of Clintons and Blairs.