President Putin’s aggression has spurred Germany into welcome policy change

News Letter editorial on Monday February 28 2022:

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Vladimir Putin’s comment that he is putting his nuclear deterrent forces on high alert is outrageous.

It seeks to imply that Russia is at risk of such an attack when patently there is no such threat from western nations.

It suggests that the West is the aggressor when clearly Moscow is so.

Even prior to President Putin using distorted logic to make his dramatic nuclear announcement, he had lied about having to invade Ukraine because the Ukranians were attacking Russians.

While it would be absurdly premature to draw too much of a comparison between Putin and Hitler, in one specific respect he has behaved the same: he has based a foreign military landgrab on lies that invert the truth and in which the invader claims to be acting in self defence.

As President’s Putin’s violent intentions emerge in horrifying fashion, it has jolted European countries that have otherwise seemed complacent about international dangers.

The most heartening change of course has come from Germany, which for good reason in the decades after the 1939-45 war has wanted to display the world a largely neutral and passive military face. But this had latterly tipped into naivete, akin to the country’s naive economic and environmental decision to abandon nuclear power after one accident in Japan.

After Germany’s risible offer of helmets to help Ukraine, now its Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said the country is committing 100 billion euros (£84 billion) to a special fund for its armed forces, raising its defence spending above 2% of GDP.

This is a moment of great importance.

Germany, a country with huge influence and reach, has in effect sent out a signal to other global powers that it is not just a venal, weak nation that will prize gas contracts and other economic interests above standing up for fundamental democratic values.

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