You are here:   Features > Presidents for life Putin and Xi menace the West

Moscow is doubtless looking forward to a Labour government and will do whatever it can, fair or foul, to help it, regardless of the risk to relations with the Conservatives. Its Salisbury attack will not have made Corbyn’s position easier, but then Putin’s tactical genius is easily overrated. When the time comes a Labour victory remains on the cards, and the possibility of a Corbyn visit to Moscow as Prime Minister, to reset Anglo-Russian relations and establish the “robust dialogue” with Putin he has called for, must be soberly contemplated, however inherently comical.

One of the reasons Corbyn would go naked to the Kremlin is that under his leadership the special relationship with the US would be special in a different sense. On Russia there would be solidarity at the top, with both leaders giving the Kremlin an easy ride. At the same time the core of the UK-US relationship — the intelligence intimacy — would drastically shrink. I don’t see the CIA or FBI entrusting secrets on Islamist terrorism or Russia itself to a Marxist-dominated and pro-Hamas Number 10. That in turn would make us less valuable to our former EU friends, and we could easily find ourselves out of the loop, reduced in Europe’s eyes, as well as Moscow’s.

On security we could look forward to a beefed up Russian Embassy and Trade Delegation, not all of whose members are engaged full-time in commerce, and whose gross expansion under Harold Wilson — similarly keen to ingratiate himself with Moscow — was a contributing factor in the mass expulsion of 105 agents under Ted Heath. As the Soviet desk officer in the Foreign Office at the time, I remember it well. post-Corbyn government might have to do it all again.

Though we are too dependent on the Chinese market to admit it, like the re-election of a brutish Russian leader  Xi Jinping’s assumption of neo-Maoist status as lifelong leader is a major step towards the past. It is a long way from the days, only five years ago, when most people assumed that the sophisticated new leader, keen to travel the world (Mao went nowhere except Moscow) and to immerse China in international conclaves, would gradually ease up domestically as the free market spawned free thinking. Instead, in a robotic spectacle of near-unanimity reminiscent of more primitive times, China’s Parliament has handed its new Great Helmsman powers in perpetuity.

Judged by the vote in the National People’s Congress the extent of Chinese reform since the death of Mao in 1976 is modest: 2,958 delegates voted in favour, with three abstentions, one spoiled ballot and only two against, and unless they were set up to convey an impression of vibrant democracy, their longevity in office could prove shorter than Xi’s. Worse, thought-control mechanisms are to come back too, in the form of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era, now to be embedded in the constitution. The one set up in 1982 was admirably terse and to the point, reflecting Deng Xiaoping’s feline economic pragmatism (who cares about the colour of cats so long as they catch mice?). Xi, on the other hand, is proving to be an ideologically wordy fellow, as he strives to match Mao’s scholarly reputation.
View Full Article
Julian Pardoe
May 1st, 2018
9:05 AM
This is really a question for GW. Is there a reference for the story about "Russian children maturing quickly"? I put it to an acquaintance who studies the history of the PCF and he was doubtful. It would be of interest to us both to have a date or some other way of verifying it.

Peter Kolding
April 1st, 2018
3:04 AM
The author warns against any nationalist tendencies in Western policy to counter the threat of Russia and China. Yet he ignores entirely that the strength of both these countries has always depended upon the unifying strength of nationalism. The Russians have always fought for Russia first, the Chinese have always been Chinese, the inheritors of the Middle Kingdom. The West, on the other hand, has dedicated itself to 'post-nationalism' and looks upon national loyalty in consumerist terms. (Look at Brexit, with all the rage centred not on the peace and tranquillity that democracy is supposed to promise, but economic advantage instead.) In short, the East is supported by a fundamental loyalty from its people. While the West, a mercenary contract. This is important because the East has retained its populations' loyalty even after suffering millions of deaths at its own governments' hands. The West, on the other hand, cannot even control its borders without being condemned and subverted by much of its own population, without the least concern for the interests of their countries. Worse, in response, their governments take the path of appeasement and slowly, but surely, lose territorial control. It is this loss of territorial control in the West, caused by the policies demanded by post-nationalist ambitions, that have provoked the imperialist designs of Russia and China into action. The argument of the author that it's the personalities of Putin and Xi that propels their actions, but it is the territorial weakness of the West that has allowed this. The West, and especially Europe, has built a society that for all intents and purposes is made up and designed for the exercise of power by an assortment of fifth-columnists-in-waiting. The signal for treachery is simply a refusal by the government to devolve territorial authority to them. Currently, these politically powerful identity groups are happy to allow a limited power of arbitration to the government. But with the example of Corbyn, we see them exercising a far more direct demand for mercenary power. It may be an archaic observation to the post-nationalist mind, but God is always on the side of the big battalions. And the West is determined to be ruled by small tribes and gangs.

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.