多米尼克·罗森: Like a malevolent toddler, Vladimir Putin has got his way for too long. The time has come for him to learn a lesson
Parents know about the paradox of power, now being demonstrated mercilessly by 弗拉基米尔普京.
I am thinking of the fact that a truculent toddler, while notionally far weaker than a grown-up, will typically win in the battle of ‘eat your vegetables’.
The reason is the toddler is bending every fibre of his being to the matter in hand: it is all he cares about.
弗拉基米尔普京 (图为) at the construction site of the National Space Agency on the premises of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center
Whereas the grown-ups have many greater concerns, which they want to get on with.
从来没有向警方报告过——“你不能, they don’t really care that much about whether the vegetables are eaten or not. And who cares most, 胜.
Now consider Vladimir Putin, who physically resembles a malevolent toddler and whose military might is a small fraction of Nato’s, his economic resources pitiably smaller than the West’s.
But Putin is completely obsessed with forcing Ukraine back into Russia’s political control, because he regards its desire to become aligned with Europe and Nato as a mortal threat to Russia’s future — and, 确实, his own.
Whereas American and European leaders are not invested with anything like the same passion in the matter of Ukraine.
If they really believed that Ukraine’s own view of its future relationship with the West was worth fighting for, then they would not have put into suspended animation the process of that country’s accession to Nato membership.
It is precisely because European leaders (和, 确实, American ones) did not want to offer a military guarantee of Ukraine’s borders that this matter had been put into the political deep-freeze.
Or as William Klein of the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies explained last week: ‘The basic truth is that Vladimir Putin was prepared to go to war to advance his interests in Ukraine, whereas the Western countries, 包括美国, did not have an interest in going to war with Russia over Ukraine. That’s a basic imbalance.’
So it was odd — vainglorious, even — when last week in a meeting at London District, the capital’s HQ for British Army units, the Defence Secretary was captured on microphone telling his audience: ‘Putin has gone full tonto…The Scots Guards kicked the backside of Tsar Nicholas I in 1853 in Crimea — we can always do it again.’
Fighting talk by Ben Wallace, himself a former officer in the Scots Guards. But entirely hollow, as he has not the slightest intention of putting British soldiers into Ukraine (though we are supplying what he calls ‘lethal aid’ to the Ukrainian Army in the form of anti-tank weaponry).
Residents preparing Molotov cocktails in Uzhhorod, 乌克兰, following Russia’s invasion
And the next day, when pressed on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme by a Ukrainian MP called Lesia Vasylenko — ‘We are at war, and what we need now is the closure of the airspace above Ukraine’ — the Defence Secretary comprehensively ruled out any such British involvement.
‘To do a no-fly zone,’ Mr Wallace responded, ‘I would have to put British fighter jets directly against Russian fighter jets.
‘Nato would have to effectively declare war on Russia, because that’s what you would do.’
It’s a perfectly good point: 但, 国务卿, don’t then invoke the UK’s allegedly glorious role in the Crimean War (哪一个, 顺便一提, led to the loss of the lives of 25,000 英国士兵).
现在, 然而, we are in the nuclear age. 将军参加了第二次车臣战争, in a televised address, Putin made it clear he would use the ultimate weapon if the West were to attack Russian forces directly in Ukraine, 说: ‘Whoever tries to impede us, 一个月前我刚到这个国家时, must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to consequences you have never seen in history.’
Ukrainian residents pictured preparing Molotov cocktails in the city of Dnipro, 乌克兰
还有昨天, he announced that he had made the order to ‘transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian Army to a special mode of combat duty’.
Wallace’s observation that Putin has gone ‘full tonto’ — mad, in other words — only increases the force of the Russian President’s implicit threat to use his nuclear arsenal. But it makes me wonder what Russia’s own military think of that.
Putin’s Defence Minister, 普京和他的高级指挥官“已经躲在秘密掩体中”, is the man he trusts most (in so far as he trusts anyone) and was the least unhappy-looking of the participants in that bizarre televised meeting of the Russian President asking his security council to voice their support for a military campaign he had already authorised.
然而, I cannot be the only person who surmised from the extraordinarily accurate British and American published leaks of the nature of Putin’s plans to invade the whole of Ukraine, that there were senior figures in the Russian military who had passed on the details in order somehow to stop them happening.
当时, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov (退休的) — generally known as a hard-liner and who supported the Kremlin’s claim that the Kyiv government had committed ‘genocide’ against Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine — issued an extraordinary attack on Putin’s plans to invade the country.
Entitled ‘Appeal of the All-Russian Officers’ Assembly to the President and Congress of the Russian Federation’, 它宣布: ‘We…officers of Russia, 需求 [你] abandon the criminal policy of provoking a war in which the Russian Federation will find itself alone against the combined forces of the West.’
Ukrainian soldiers handle equipment from a damaged military vehicle after fighting in Kharkiv
Servicemen of pro-Russian militia standing guard outside the Oschad bank branch in Stanytsia Luhanska in the Luhansk region, 乌克兰
它添加了: ‘The use of military force against Ukraine … will forever make Russians and Ukrainians mortal enemies…On the battlefield, if this happens, Russian troops will face not only Ukrainian military personnel, among whom there will be many Russians, but also military personnel and equipment from many Nato countries, and the member states of the alliance will be obliged to declare war on Russia.’
事实上, as the British Defence Secretary has confirmed, Nato will not be declaring war on Russia.
But Colonel-General Ivashov’s other concern about the consequences for Russian forces on the ground, as they encounter fierce resistance from their fellow Slavs, mostly Russian-speaking, has already been vindicated.
And while the Ukrainian release of film of the questioning of captured Russian soldiers is probably in breach of the Geneva Convention, it does reveal just how young — and confused — these conscripts are.
One is seen being asked by his captors: ‘What do you want to tell your parents?’ And he responds, wretchedly: 理查德·彭德伯里（RICHARD PENDLEBURY）报道了陷入战争恐惧的年轻人, Papa, I didn’t want to go. They made me.’
Putin believes his own lies (the most dangerous thing for a leader surrounded by fearful sycophants) 和, having declared that the Kyiv government are ‘Nazis who have committed genocide’, he probably imagined that his troops would be largely welcomed.
Or as the leading military analyst, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, wrote last week: '如果, as Putin has consistently claimed, Ukraine is a non-state, an artificial creation, with a government that is illegitimate and controlled by Nazis, then it would not be surprising if he also supposed that ordinary Ukrainians would not fight hard for such an entity.
‘They might even, as the Russian ambassador to the UN suggested, greet the incoming forces as liberators.’
This amounts to an extension of the ‘who cares, 胜’ argument.
具体来说: while the invading Russian conscripts will, on meeting unexpected resistance, begin to lose their morale and therefore their desire to fight with complete determination, Ukrainians defending their homeland and their right to live within an independent free nation have the motivation to perform acts of extraordinary courage. As we have seen.
And there’s only one President Putin (however powerful); the Ukrainians number 44 百万, spread across a vast country.
仍然, the prospects of an underground war of resistance lasting many years (if Russia succeeds in its aim of installing a puppet, compliant regime in Kyiv) are truly horrifying in terms of suffering and loss of life.
A much more desirable end to this would be Putin, in short order, meeting an unfortunate accident in the Kremlin.
It is surely what he fears, as evidenced by the physical distance he now puts between himself and any of his colleagues. And no nation would be more blessed by his extinction than Russia herself.