Global politics going Russia's, Putin's way
THE EDITOR, Sir:
With the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, I know that at least one other significant world leaders must be smiling from ear-to-ear - Russia's Vladimir Putin.
In his list of global must-haves, he got what he wished for with the results of those elections. Clearly, the world is going Russia's way.
A few years ago, Russia made it very clear to NATO that its eastward expansion into Europe would not be tolerated. Mr Putin got his Parliament to authorise a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Russia got what it wanted: NATO's halt and its refusal to give serious consideration to admitting the Ukraine.
Added to that, Mr Putin then sent the Russian army into the Crimea and annexed the Ukrainian territory. Again, the West did nothing and Putin won.
Now, the Americans have elected a president who has openly said that he is not too indifferent to any plan to formally recognise that Russian conquest.
VERY LITTLE DOUBT
While Russian influence in Great Britain is debatable, there can be very little doubt that a European Union without Britain is very much more preferred to Russia than a European Union with that country. So when the British voted to leave the Union, Russia and Mr Putin were, no doubt, very happy. A weaker European Union, without Britain, as far as Mr Putin can see, must mean a strong Russia in Europe.
There have been many claims that Russia and, by extension, Mr Putin have been meddling in American internal affairs, by being a significant string-puller to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning. As we have all seen, that has happened.
Mr Putin has been one of the few world leaders who has openly been happy with the election of Mr Trump - as he should be. Mrs Clinton had stated her desire to impose a no-fly zone over Syria (an impossible task, mind you, as Russia would never have allowed that). However, Mr Trump has been saying that such a plan would risk war with Russia - and he was not for it.
Clearly, the Trump victory has given the Russians at least some more hope that it can push through its Syrian policy without having to worry much about what the Americans would do - not that the US could have done very much anyway.
Whether or not Mr Trump will stay true to what Mr Putin hopes when he becomes president remains to be seen, but Russia must be pleased that much of the world's politics seems to be going its way right now.
MICHAEL A. DINGWALL