If Russia is annoyed at the Prime Minister, he must be doing something right for once, says Fleet Street Fox
It’s official. Boris Johnson is an absolute weapon.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov – who, despite working for a president who’s just outlawed journalism, is holding regular conference calls with any who haven’t been jailed yet – labelled him the number one threat among foreign leaders.
The state-run Novosti news agency quoted him saying: “As for Mr Johnson, we see him as the most active participant in the race to be anti-Russian… it will lead to a foreign policy dead end.”
Brexiteers and Remainers alike always thought Boris was da bomb. But what matters most with every weapon is who’s wielding it, and what it’s pointed at.
AFP via Getty Images)
In a tough-talking appearance in the House of Commons, Johnson said: “By annexing Crimea in 2014, igniting the flames of conflict in eastern Ukraine, and threatening Western democracies – including by interfering in their elections – Russia has challenged the fundamental basis of international order.”
He listed the things the UK has done to punish Russia, saying: “We responded with strength and determination, expelling 4 Russian diplomats in 2007, suspending security co-operation between our respective agencies, and then by leading the EU’s response to the annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine, by tough sanctions co-ordinated with the US and other allies, targeting Russian state-owned banks and defence companies, restricting the energy industry that serves as the central pillar of the Russian economy, and constraining the export of oil exploration and production equipment.”
The problem is that he said all that in 2018, as Foreign Secretary, following the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. And for all the tough talk, Vladimir Putin was nevertheless able to build up a £100bn stockpile of gold bullion, ramp up his military, and invade Ukraine.
In the intervening years, Johnson has given a peerage to the son of an ex-KGB colonel, ignored security service advice on just about everything up to and including his own phone, denied Russian interference in elections of exactly the sort he had previously said there was, and partied with Russian Tory donors on the same night that he knew the Z-heads were about to start bombarding Ukraine.
He even managed to keep British citizens locked up in Iran, a feat beyond most Foreign Secretaries who aren’t Russian.
Throw in the fact he holidayed, according to fellow travellers without family, luggage, or police protection, in the Italian villa of Evgeny Lebedev, now Baron Siberia, and it would seem that Putin has good reason to feel a little bit peeved.
In a Western world that was reliably inactive, Johnson was the most publicly-vocal, yet secretly-slothful in terms of stopping Putin. But now the pet politician has turned, and bit the hand that fed him caviar at oligarch parties.
He’s issued statements in Ukrainian, suggested hosting the Euros be given to Volodomyr Zelensky, and claimed Russia has all but lost the war already. In the past few days, UK sanctions have caught up with those of other countries, even to the point of freezing the assets of the London-based stepdaughter of Putin’s crony Sergei Lavrov.
Today it’s reported Johnson will send anti-missile systems to Ukraine, and co-operate with the US in stopping Putin spending all that gold.
And all this from a man whose Brexit schemes, according to the former UK defence attache at the Moscow embassy, Carl Scott, “greatly emboldened those in Moscow”. He told the FT that he now despaired “at the prospect of finding credible leadership at home in the UK among those who have compromised so long with his regime and the wealth it offered”.
There is only one thing that could make Establishment diplomats and murderous tyrants both tear out their hair, and that’s Boris Johnson: an agent of chaos whose principles, ethics, and next actions can neither be defined or predicted.
As Zelensky has proved, a war is not politics. It is survival. And someone who can say the right things at the right time, and in the right way, can do more damage than a whole battalion of tanks.
Johnson has been unpredictable, chaotic, and inaccurate his entire life. From journalism to marriage by way of love-children and technology lessons, no-one knew what or who he would do next. He detonated his party, he blew up Brexit, he even exploded his own family. He’s a man-grenade, an unstable element, and he doesn’t fit in any job, category or suit.
Putin may have considered Johnson a spineless dilettante with all the personal fibre of a wet jelly in a high wind, but he failed to note the one quality the man who is now Prime Minister has always reliably displayed: self-preservation.
And if the Kremlin has finally woken up to the fact that nobody is in charge of this weapon, then that is probably because he is doing something right for once, and has just taken off one of its limbs. Welcome to our world, Vlad – Britain is glad that you’re finally feeling our pain.