|Back to the wall|
The Grauniad headlines it thus:
Vladimir Putin's message to the west: Russia is backIn truth, Russia is backs-to-the-wall would be more like it.
... his address to the Duma covered a wide range of issues including relations with the US and Germany ... in large part a 50-minute whinge, a disappointed man's whine about life's unfairness and a historical determinism that boomeranged on its most devout adherents. Putin is a master of the politics of grievance ... bitterness and bile poured out unchecked, mixed up with an apparently bolstered but unfounded confidence that the US and the EU are virtually incapable of beating back Russia's new cross-border assertiveness.The irresponsible neo-cons who have run US foreign policy for many years now must be laughing themselves silly.
But even while I persist in the view that Putin's is essentially a defensive posture, it must be said there is a very fair chance both Russia and China will try something on in the next few months to calibrate just how the West can be relied upon to stand back. Some of their clients will be having the same thought.
Dangerous times. Didi you see the BBC's excellent "37 Days" ? (on the run-up to WW1). Full of the miscalculations, stupidities, errors and sheer bad luck that can result in events slipping out of control. Ah yes: events, dear boy, events. Probably quite a few more of those in the pipeline.