It is scarcely hyperbole to say that the world is closer to a great power war – even a nuclear one – than it has been for sixty years.
Already, in just two months, the conflict initiated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has escalated from a localised act of aggression into a full-blown proxy war between NATO and Russia.
Arms are pouring into Ukraine, and the bellicose rhetoric has inflated to match. President Biden has urged “regime change” in Russia. His Defence Secretary has stated that the US war aim is to “weaken Russia” for years to come.
Britain has marched in step. Boris Johnson has said that there is no point in negotiating with Putin because he is a “crocodile”. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has said it is fine that British weapons are used to attack targets in Russia itself.
And, most dramatically, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has declared that the full defeat of Russia is a “strategic imperative”, and that this must mean its full military expulsion from all Ukrainian territory, presumably including Crimea.
No wonder Ukrainian President Zelensky has said that there is within NATO a camp which “don’t mind a long war because it would mean exhausting Russia, even if this means the demise of Ukraine and comes at the cost of Ukrainian lives.”
By Andrew Murray, STWC, 290422