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West Wind: British Press Profiling Putin

The British press warns of a new cold war rhetoric leading to a deadlock of international politics. While Putin’s position towards Ukraine is no surprise knowing his imperialist attitude, this time he has rocked the prevailing world order of the last decades. Will British military capabilities be sufficient to live up to NATO members’ responsibility of containing Putin’s Russia?

This is the second edition of the new series West Wind featuring European media voices on the EU’s Eastern neighbours. Read last week’s “German Press Divided Over Russia-Ukraine Conflict“.

Newspaper readers in London, Michael Moore, source: Flickr

Newspaper readers in London, Peter Moore, source: Flickr



UK, The Economist, March 22, 2014

The new anti-order

Russia’s conduct in the annexation of Crimea is more than the potential start of a new cold war, the Economist claims. In fact, it constitutes a threat to become a vanguard for similar cases worldwide. Putin has created a new formula for interventions in any foreign territory, in which minorities live. The post-Soviet order, has seen the US in a watchdog position to proclaim international law and integrity of borders. Putin is about to replace the old system with an anti-order shaped by revanchism and ignorance towards truth and law. Although many countries and individuals have been opposed to the US dominated world, they have to understand that Putin’s alternative will leave them even worse off. States should start responding according to what is at stake and think about the kind of system they want to exist in.

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UK, The Guardian, March 25, 2014

An emergency exit for Putin

Simon Jenkins warns that rhetoric about a new cold war will not make Russia give back Crimea to Ukraine. Crimea, the inspiration of many great Russian writers, is a symbol for Russia’s glory in the past.  A self-righteous West punishing Putin, an emotional and paranoid but all controlling dictator alarmingly bereft of checks or balances, will not make the Russian bear retreat to his cave. The challenge now is to offer Putin an emergency exit in order to get out of this mess without doing more harm to the lives of people.

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UK, The Telegraph, March 27, 2014

Deterrence has to be credible in order to be effective

Further cuts in military expenses will undermine Britain’s credibility in future international conflicts, the Common Defence Committee points out. The recent events in Ukraine are taken as evidence for how fast new threats can emerge. In the same parliamentary session, Prime Minister Cameron informs the House of Commons that Britain will support the Baltic states and Poland against potential Russian aggression in order to reassure their NATO memberships. British politicians however express their  worries that a reduced conventional military force will also question the effectiveness of the country’s nuclear capabilities. Deterrence has to be credible in order to be effective, is the general position within the defence committee.

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UK, BBC, March 28, 2014

A statesman who does what he says

Author and journalist Oliver Bullough claims that it come as no surprise that Putin strives to restore the glorious Russia of his childhood. Already in his inauguration speech in 1999, he gave a clear image of what he wanted to achieve. However, back then the international community deemed the new president as insignificant and gave no attention to his words. ”Western analysts and politicians always try to uncover some sort of false bottom in his statements,” says Dmitry Linnik, London bureau chief of the Voice of Russia radio, while Putin has been more genuine ”than probably any other contemporary politician or statesman.” While the Russian president has principles, he is ready to drop them whenever it is necessary in order to achieve his goals. “The Soviet Union collapsed for a reason,” Bullough however warns, ”and a Russia recreated in its image risks sharing its fate.”

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This is the second part of the new series West Wind featuring European media voices on the EU’s Eastern neighbours. Read last week’s “German Press Divided Over Russia-Ukraine Conflict“.

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