Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Attempted Murder of Sergei Skripal: How do we stop an out of control Putin?

By now, it really should not come as much of a surprise that yet another Russian has been attacked in Britain. Opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been showing up dead in and around London for more than a decade. In some cases, the trail clearly leads back to Moscow, as with the use of such gruesome chemical agents as polonium (Alexander Litvinenko in 2006) or, in the most recent incident, a nerve agent (Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who both survived the poisoning but remain in serious condition). In other cases, the evidence is subtler (e.g., Boris Berezovsky, found dead under suspicious circumstances in 2013).

While Britain is not the only place where those who have run afoul of Putin have died, a troublingly high number of such deaths have happened there. We can quickly dispense with the blathering of Russian officials about the latest case as just that: blathering. Putin’s public policy plan for this type of thing can be summed up as, “Lie bigger, lie harder. Sooner or later, the West will forget.”

It’s a plan that often works.

Read the rest here.

There was a time when this sort of thing would have been treated as an act of war. Alas, in an age where the perpetrator of what looks like a campaign of targeted assassinations has his finger on the launch button for a lot of nukes that is probably not a realistic course of action. But this really cannot be tolerated. The question is, does the West have the intestinal fortitude to collectively stand up to this murderous thug? I hope I am wrong, but my gut tells me not to hold my breath.

12 comments:

lannes said...

Old Greek saying: "Kakourgos, ma hellenas" (A bad man, but a Greek). At least Putin, unlike those who vilify him, is an Orthodox Christian.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Similar to the old American political expression... "he may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch." Unfortunately that doesn't fly here. Even in the hard nosed world of real politik there have always been recognized boundaries. Sending assassins into other countries to murder your political opponents is beyond the pale. Being Orthodox should not be seen as an excuse or a mitigating factor. We should be holding him to a higher standard since he flaunts his (alleged) faith. What are others to think of us when one of our most prominent co-religious has the morals of a mafia godfather?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I am not too exercised about this. The British have a perplexing history of sheltering whichever group of gangsters ends up on the wrong side of power in Russia or the Continent. Lots of dirty money and dirty dealings in London.

When the Cold War ended, we turned our attention to Central America, and then to the Middle East. The British seem to have stayed fixated on Russia and continue to pick these fights.

Poisoning is clumsy and difficult. With all the ways to stage an accident or robbery or suicide, my first question is why one of the world's sharpest world leaders and KGB veteran would order a hit by poisoning. As always, there's probably much more to the story.

August said...

At this point, I doubt he was involved. There is this retarded narrative they keep pushing in this country- and I fully expect Ms. May got a modified script that Hillary would have been saying should she had been elected.

I've heard Putin has, himself, increased the number of people responsible for making sure his own food isn't poisoned. I don't think he is afraid of retribution- I think he is afraid of the poisoners. Because as head of a nation, and having years of professional familiarity with black ops, if he ordered a hit he would want the ideal- which is essentially disappearance.

No evidence, no bodies, no manifesto. Deeply alarming to the those involved, but it doesn't upset the people. The professionals don't want the people upset, UNLESS we are talking PR people trying to manipulate popular opinion in the West.

William Harrington said...

I am an American, not a Russian. Our Presidency has, over the past decade or so, acquired the right to assassinate people that they deem a threat to national security through the use of drones. Those people may be American citizens and they may be executed without due process simply because one man has deemed them to be a threat. Tell me again why we should waste our time worrying about the state of Russia's house when our own house is on fire? Putin may or may not be a bad leader but he is not my leader and my leaders are doing things in my name that I find abhorrent. Russians can deal with Putin, we have our hands full with our own imperial presidency and surveillance state.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

August,
What's the weather like in your reality? It's sunny and 70ish here. And in what most people call the real world we recognize damning evidence that Putin is in fact having his political opponents murdered.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

WH,
We should care if for no other reason than that we do in fact have a president who admires Putin and other dictators.

August said...

Saddam was a bad man, but in order to make sure we got on board for the invasion, they made sure to plant stories about soldiers going into hospitals and killing babies. This turned out not to be true.

The investigations into chemical weapons in Syria absolved Assad, but the media here didn't bother mentioning that. But I think Obama took it seriously enough to not go in even after that stupid 'red line' speech. They continue to do this- it is a Middle Eastern tradition to tell atrocity stories. The Jews even tell Jesus one in the bible- and I bet you if they had smart phones they'd have 'video evidence' to show Him too.

We were and probably still are in serious danger due to the American Empire that normal Republicans and Democrats appear to have signed on for. Both the Russians and the Chinese have demonstrated remarkable restraint and we probably have them to thank for not making things worse.

America is always at war. Something is wrong here. Putin may or may not believe in Christianity, but he'll go do Orthodox things because he wants to set a good example for his people and get doing the sorts of things that are conducive to growing families.

He may well assassinate people, but I expect he would do it properly.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I sympathize with the principled stand but like William said, the USG has already assumed the license to carry out targeted assassinations and pretextual wars. If you're a nuclear physicist in Iran, Israeli intelligence has a contract out on you. Sovereign games are vicious and always have been; mutilation was the preferred method for dealing with political rivals in Orthodox Byzantium.

William Harrington said...

John

We also had a President who supposedly didn't but who assumed the right to execute pretty much anyone he deemed it necessary to assassinate. I see this very much as a beam in our own eye scenario and I can't help but think that, as I read these reports, what seems to get the US worked up is the use of poison. This is described as chemical warfare. Perhaps this is the focus because even our own government can't stand the hypocrisy of condemning assassination done by another country. I'm not saying this wasn't something Russia did or that Putin had nothing to do with it. I am saying that the beating of the war drums against Russia for the past decade or so looks like the desperate attempt of a government to distract its own people. I am saying we, the people, have bigger fish to fry. I don't have much hope that anyone will listen to what I say, but I will still stand up and say it.

August said...

The very nature of what a Novichok is makes the mainstream story unlikely.

And in the original story you linked to- he links to something he calls blather. I read it. I don't think its blather- I think it is classic example of what the Russians have to put up with- the West insists on various bodies being set up (in this case some sort of international org on chemical weapons). Where there would be an actual investigation- possibly determining guilt. Instead we've got press conferences and bellicose speeches in the U.N., where idiots often vote without reference to fact or science.

Patrick Sheridan said...

Although it's apparent that Russia was responsible for the poisoning, there is no demonstrable evidence that Putin or the Kremlin is involved in this in any way. The intelligence services of any major power are perfectly capable of assassinating undesirable persons in the most discreet way. Why then, on the eve of his election, would Mr Putin decide to do something so obviously botched in the most public and cruel way? Has it escaped everybody's attention that Porton Down, easily the largest chemical weapons and poisons stockpile anywhere in western Europe, is just 7 miles from Salisbury? Even if I accepted the hysterical British establishment version of events (which I don't for a minute), that seems very convenient for the investigation, doesn't it? And why was the doctor who examined Sergei and Yulia at the scene unaffected by the poison, whereas the policeman was? The whole thing just strikes me as an hysterical, russophobic plot to undermine Mr Putin on the eve of the presidential election; perhaps also scoring some sympathy points with France, Germany and the United States now that we're leaving the European Union. Poor, vulnerable, secular Britain against that awful, expansionist Soviet empire!