The world is a safer place, it must be because the head of Russia and the man who is set to be the head of the US, seem to be good friends, meanwhile, future UK Prime Minister, and not at all a poodle to the next US President, Nigel Farage, would make it a ménage à trois, except that Marine Le Pen could make it up to a cosy foursome, while Bashar al-Assad, occasionally hangs out with them.
Back in March, the then UKIP leader, and now mere acting UKIP leader, not to mention America’s new best British friend, Nigel Farage, replied to the question: which current world leader he most admired by saying: “As an operator, but not as a human being, I would say Putin.”
On the Andrew Marr show, (13th November) possible next French President, Marine Le Pen said: “I believe that every country has the right to defend its own interests. Putin is looking after the interests of his own country and defending its identity. Russia is a European country, and so we'd better, if we want a powerful Europe, negotiate with Russia. We have nothing to be scared from Putin.”
Soon after the results of the US election came in, Mr Putin reportedly congratulated Mr Trump, and told Russian state TV: "(Trump) spoke about resuming and restoring relations with Russia. We understand the way to that will be difficult, taking into account the current state of degradation of relations between the US and Russia. . . As I have repeatedly said, that is not our fault that Russia-US relations are in that state. Russia is ready and wants to restore the fully fledged relations with the US. I repeat we understand this will be difficult, but we are ready to play our part in it."
These are good times, as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Russian punk band Pussy Riot would no doubt testify, Mr Putin is much misunderstood.
Or, as the Russian chess grandmaster and a Russian superstar, Gary Kasparov said, presumably after taking time out from watching Game of Thrones, ‘winter is here.’
Here is another thought for you to ponder on these November evenings. In 1939, the UK stood up to the forces of darkness, and not always with the support of those it had a special relationship with. It took courage, and at that time many felt that the UK would have been better off allying itself with Hitler.
For example, back in 1933 the proprietor of The Daily Mail, Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere stated: “I urge all British young men and women to study closely the progress of the Nazi regime in Germany. They must not be misled by the misrepresentations of its opponents. The most spiteful detractors of the Nazis are to be found in precisely the same sections of the British public and press as are most vehement in their praises of the Soviet regime in Russia. They have started a clamorous campaign of denunciation against what they call ‘Nazi atrocities’ which, as anyone who visits Germany quickly discovers for himself, consists merely of a few isolated acts of violence such as are inevitable among a nation half as big again as ours, but which have been generalised, multiplied and exaggerated to give the impression that Nazi rule is a bloodthirsty tyranny.”
Standing up to those who promote intolerance, hatred and prejudice is not always easy, but that is what leaders who history smiles kindly upon do. And if they call out such practices and describe them as they are, maybe they can elicit the support of those who are appalled by the apparent move away from liberal values.
Not everyone in the US is happy about how things have turned out, maybe the US regime will soften its tone, and immigrants, the gay-community and Muslims will not become the new scapegoats for all that is wrong. But things will change in the US, and those who stood up to darkness will be remembered. In these post-Brexit times, it is not popular to celebrate the words of Jean-Claude Junker, but after the US election he said: “We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works."
Should EU countries spend more on defence? – probably, it is certain that if they did, and in a united way, that rather small economy to the east of Europe called Russia will be no more able to respond than the Soviet Union was able to respond to Reagan’s mythical Star Wars project before its collapse.
But maybe we should be wary of sending loathsome individuals to make friends with leaders and countries who don’t seem to have any thoughts on human rights and who may return to this country saying ‘I have in my hand a piece of paper.’