W2W - dangerous times

SUDDENLY, the world looks a lot less stable.

Two of the world’s great superpowers are currently ruled by two, extremely touchy autocrats.

 “Make America Great Again,” was Trump’s election battle cry, while Putin has promised to restore Russia to her former glory.

Meanwhile, the world looks on at the continued instability in Ukraine and the Crimea, recent events in Syria, North Korea’s missile testing and China’s land-grab in the South China Sea.

They are an explosive mix that could go bang at any moment.

In Syria, Putin’s decision to back Assad in exchange for a permanent, Mediterranean port and airbase seemed incontestable only a week ago.

However, that all changed after Assad’s forces used banned chemical weapons on innocent civilians, while Russia turned a blind eye.

The subsequent US missile attack on the offending Syrian airbase was measured and proportionate, especially as advance warning was given to the Russians.

However, while I believe such a response was appropriate, we need far more muscular diplomacy if we are to avert a crisis.

Regrettably, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson failed to mobilise support from the G7 for further sanctions against Putin, no doubt further provoking the Russian bear.

Meanwhile, a US aircraft carrier strike group is steaming towards the Korean peninsula to counter another expected missile launch from the North.

This threat is not to be underestimated.

Nor is China’s reclamation of seven reefs in the South China Sea.

Using them as bases will allow China to extend the range of its armed forces well into these contested waters.

The warning signs are there and we must invest in our armed forces.

But, only this week, it was confirmed that the Royal Marines are to be cut.

This is not acceptable and I shall say so in the House.