Two days before the Russians actually invaded Ukraine Prime Minister Johnson was on the airwaves and warned, not once, but twice, that if President Putin ordered such an invasion he would be "breaking international law." It seems he doesn't do irony.
A report in the Guardian gives details of contributions madeby Russians (or ex-Russian - some have taken British citizenship) have to the Tory party.
Here are three details:
Mr Luboy Chernukhin: £700 000
Mr Alexander Temerko: £357 000
Mr Mohamed Amersi: £258 000
These and other donors claim that they have no influence whatsoever over Tory party or UK government policy. Quite so.*
The function of London (Londongrad) as a centre for money laundering also adds considerably to the British balance of payments and makes life easier for any government.
I suspect that Mr Johnson has quite enjoyed his few days of strutting around on the world stage and making grave pronouncements. There has, however, been little evidence of anyone phoning him (or our Foreign Secretary) rather than vice versa.
To be fair no other Western politician seems to have had much effect on Russia's actions either, but it is clear that Britain, outside the EU and with a proven liar and unreliable partner as a prime minister, we have been sidelined. In contrast both President Macron and the German Chancellor Scholz deserve decent marks for trying. The key decisions, if any , will be made by President Biden and he is hamstrung by an unhelpful congress.
One thing Mr Johnson has said is valid: that President Putin cannot be allowed to succeed.
He won't, but there is not much in the short run that "The West" can do to bring this about, though we must try with effective sanctions, including those which make our own lives less comfortable.
In the longer run Mr Putin, or his successors, will be defeated by circumstances. We are all aware of the attempts since the Second World War by powerful nations to impose their will on weaker ones. They have all failed.
Korea: well, I suppose that could be counted as a "score draw": the North still under the dictatorial (communist?) heel, the South a flourishing capitalist (democratic?) society.
Afghanistan (twice, the Russians first, then the US et al.)
It is incredibly sad that hundreds if not thousands of young Russians and Ukrainians will die or be maimed before the present failure becomes apparent. And families of refugees may run into millions.
One hope is that the Russian people themselves will come to recognise Putin's folly, overthrow him and return to rational normality.
When that happens Russia should be offered respect (see previous post.)
* Much is made of the West's "freedom." How "free" are we to make rational political decisions when one party has access to shedloads of money on this scale to be used to measure and influence public opinion, and the rest of us rely on peanuts? Contributions to political parties should be limited to a realistic amount per adult per year (£100?) supplemented by state funding.