Ignorant Putin is leading Russia to destruction
A vast superpower with a proud Communist history launches a brutal war on its far smaller neighbour, sending thousands of troops over the border.
The objective is the utter humiliation of that country — its demilitarisation, as well as regime change and a complete overhaul of its political structure so that it becomes a client state.
I am not talking here about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This brutal assault across national boundaries took place more than 40 years ago when China invaded Vietnam.
But the parallels between the two wars are uncanny and, as I shall explain, they hold a vital lesson for president Putin. One that he is steadfastly — and very foolishly — ignoring.
Vietnam had been weakened by war and poverty. No analyst, political scientist or military expert gave the country more than a week before the Chinese captured Hanoi.
Yet the 100,000-strong Vietnamese Army halted the Chinese People’s Liberation Army — which dwarfed it six times over — in its tracks. Suddenly, the world saw that the legs of the Colossus were made of clay.
In the space of two months, the myth of the ‘invincible’ Chinese war machine had been relegated to the dustbin of history.
Deng Xiaoping decided to withdraw his troops, and realised that global integration and a booming economy were more important for the Celestial Empire than maintaining the myth of the fiercest army in the world.
Putin, however, is not nearly as clever as Deng Xiaoping. He continues the war — and in so doing, remains hostage to his own propaganda.
So badly has Putin mismanaged the situation that world leaders from Washington to London to Berlin have agreed not only to defend Ukraine from its aggressor, but also to ensure the return of previously captured territories —and more importantly to break the Russian war machine to its foundations, so that the country will never be able to threaten anyone ever again.
Even more dramatically still, Putin has managed single- handedly to expand NATO up to the borders of St Petersburg.
The invasion of Ukraine, in short, has consolidated the West. The final battle with the spectre of a past beloved by Putin is now taking place on Ukrainian soil.
The current Russian leader will never be a Deng Xiaoping.
As a result of his vainglorious obduracy, Ukraine will see to the destruction of the Russian Army, and the West will see to the destruction of its economy — not least its war-economy based on the very hydrocarbons which Europe has pledged to give up.
Beyond this, our recourse should be to pray to God — a prayer that following the economic and political collapse of Russia in its current form, the nation will have a new leader capable of integrating it into global society, where human rights and dignity will be its cornerstone, and justice and prosperity will be common for all.