I WONDER what it will take for Vladimir Putin to realize that the West will not abandon Ukraine and Ukraine will not abandon Ukraine?
The Russian President once again addressed his people about the absolute thunder his army is experiencing in the war against its neighbor. He is desperate to save face.
The Russian army was first driven out of northern Ukraine when it attempted to take Kyiv.
Today, wonderfully, the Ukrainians have taken over 6,000 square kilometers in eastern Ukraine, pushing the Russians back to their own border.
It is the greatest military failure of a superpower since World War II. And Putin knows it, because it’s his fault.
So he started threatening both Ukraine and the West with nuclear weapons. He and his henchmen have been doing this periodically since Putin launched his invasion in February. It’s a continual recitation from a politician who now knows he’s screwed.
The breakaway Russian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are holding referendums to decide whether they want to be part of Russia.
No one, anywhere believes that such a vote would be fair or free.
If so, they would vote overwhelmingly to stay with Ukraine.
Some Western experts believe it is a ploy that will allow Putin to use his nuclear weapons. According to the Russian constitution, it can only deploy nuclear weapons if Russia itself is attacked.
If Donetsk and Luhansk vote to join Russia and if Ukraine attacks these regions, Putin will have his authority.
The experts forget two things, I think.
First of all, as I said before, Putin threatens us with nuclear weapons every few minutes. He thinks it scares us. But he also knows that nuclear weapons would provide a quick and decisive response from the West.
They also forget that Ukraine has regularly attacked Russian installations in Crimea – which Putin says is part of Russia. He did not respond with nuclear weapons.
The madman also mobilizes his country. Calling 300,000 more Russians into his useless army.
Another bad shot.
This will have two consequences.
First, many of these reservists will need a lot of practice, may be reluctant to fight, and won’t be very good when they get there. So it won’t help him much in Ukraine.
Second, it may well alienate huge numbers of ordinary Russians who don’t want to see their sons and husbands go into battle. So it won’t help him at the national level either. Meanwhile, resolve in the West is strengthening rather than weakening.
Most European countries have built up good gas stocks, so they aren’t too afraid of Mad Vlad turning off the tap.
And they can see what we can all see – and what Putin needs to see now.
That Ukraine can actually win this war and drive the Russians out of their country.
When that happens – and it will, one way or another – it will be the end of Putin.
A megalomaniac tyrant who bit more than he could chew.
I suspect that one day, shortly, he will be found dead in his bathtub from a mysterious illness. Exactly the kind of treatment he inflicts on his political enemies.
And until then, no one in Russia will shed many tears.
The best of the unawakened BBC
The BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral was top notch.
Indeed, over the past two weeks, the company has outdone itself, with special mentions for Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young and Fiona Bruce.
Oh, and of course David Dimbleby, who was the presenter on the day.
I also heard some very good reporting from Jim Naughtie and Mark Easton.
But here’s why I think the BBC got it right this time:
1. The presenters looked dignified and wore elegant black ties and black dresses. They found the right tone. They don’t smile, sneer or pick their noses.
2. They didn’t interview Stormzy for her perspective on what kids think of her Maj.
3. They’re not stupid. The presenters said “catafalque” rather than “that wooden thing that the coffin rests on”.
4. David Dimbleby was exemplary. He did not chat throughout the ceremonies. He let people watch in peace, speaking only to identify what needed to be identified.
5. They have largely succeeded in avoiding being chippy and left-handed.
Maybe the message is coming home?
COLD? CHECK THE NIPPLE
Gas prices are falling. The price of oil has already fallen.
Forgive me for being a perpetual optimist, but the cost of living crisis – and inflation – may not be as bad as we all feared.
By the way, Madame wanted the heating turned on yesterday.
I told her that you only flip the switch when hypothermia sets in and there are ice cubes clinging to her nipples.
The rivalry is not British
THE violence between Hindus and Muslims has spread from Leicester, across the Midlands, to Birmingham.
They really don’t like each other very much, do they?
Remember that Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan are rarely more than a hair’s breadth from war.
My personal opinion is that we failed to integrate those who arrived from the Indian subcontinent. And let too much in, period.
A department of Oxford Uni is changing its name.
The Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford is to become the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
They think the term “oriental” might be offensive. Why? It comes from Latin, meaning where the sun rises.
Who could be offended by this except an obsessive white liberal?
Drop taxes “despite”
OKAY. Maybe, like you, I’ve always used “merchant banker” as rhyming slang.
It’s true that these city monkeys are not my favorite people in the countryside. Most bankers I’ve met have been so dull that no light comes out.
To be so dull and smug takes real talent.
Also, I don’t like their clothes, their sports car nonsense, their coke addictions, their wives, or their taste in music.
Of course, this is a generalization. But I like generalizations and this one isn’t bad.
But here’s the point. I still believe that if they get a bonus from their half-witted bosses, they should keep their bonuses.
The same as if you or I received a bonus.
Taking money from the rich does not make the poor richer. There is even a good argument that, in the end, it makes them poorer.
That’s why I agree with Liz Truss’ decision to remove the cap on banker bonuses.
I also agree that we should get rid of stamp duty.
Why should we pay a huge tax just because we move?
Truss’ policies will be under attack.
But removing grudge from our tax system is to be applauded.
LEFT WING Labor beachhead Zarah Sultana was on a train which was delayed. She immediately tweeted her annoyance.
With the demand that the railway companies be nationalized so that such delays do not occur.
Unfortunately for Zarah, she was traveling on a nationalized service – LNER. Zarah secured a majority of just 401 in Coventry. Divide that by ten and you get his IQ.
My dose of Phil
I tend to agree with Piers Morgan that it’s wrong to fire Phillip Schofield for supposedly jumping the line at Queen’s Lying-in-State.
He was clearly there to account for all of this. But can’t we fire him because he’s a toxic, self-righteous, meat-thick munchkin?
In other words, can’t we fire him because he’s Phillip Schofield?