Putin is walking all over us

Many of the arguments I made in The New Cold War have become impossible to ignore.

Mr Putin is a formidable enemy. He has shown he is prepared to do three things that the West still finds unpalatable.

He will accept economic pain if he believes it’s in Russia’s national interest. He is prepared to use force. And he is prepared to lie — blatantly and repeatedly.

We, by contrast, still think we can wish the threat away. We do not want to impose real sanctions, and we would like to keep rich, crooked Russians and their companies funnelling money into our financial systems and property markets.

We do not even want to stop their ability to come to London to shop and party.

We are not prepared to spend more on defence, and flinch at the idea that we might have to use force to defend ourselves — which, frankly, calls the future of NATO into question.

And we are not willing to call Putin what he is: the gangster leader of a gangster state.

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