Jordan Tyldesley, The Independent
Who should we hold responsible for the Kremlin’s decision to raise the prospect of nuclear war? Any reasonable person might conclude President Vladimir Putin. But of course you can always choose to blame a woman instead. In this case, why not our very own foreign secretary, Liz Truss?
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov blamed “unacceptable” comments from western politicians for prompting the disturbing announcement that Russia had put its nuclear forces on “special alert” and singled out Truss. Peskov stated: “I will not name the authors of these statements, although it was the British Foreign Secretary.”
It’s unclear why Truss (she who should not be named) has been elevated to Lord Voldemort-like status. Are we to believe that Truss is an apocalyptic-level danger? Her speeches can be a little bizarre and her shameless self-promotion tiresome but surely Putin’s reaction is, at the very least, excessive? Clearly, we are not just dealing with an unhinged and increasingly paranoid man but also a deeply sensitive one, too.
As if Putin’s fragile male ego isn’t enough to deal with, Truss must also contend with a liberal Twitteratti determined to stress that, while this may be a Russian attempt to divide a unified western front, she is still, in their opinion, a “blithering moron”. Charming. There’s nothing like misogyny to rouse a sense of togetherness and, of course, sexism knows no borders. For some, the name Liz Truss is an open invitation to fraternise with the enemy.
Aside from being a successful and ambitious woman, what exctly is Liz Truss guilty of? Firstly, a tense exchange with Russia’s ambassador to the UK in which she reportedly told him that he should be “ashamed of himself” before kicking him out of the foreign office.
Secondly, speaking to Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, she warned that if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, there could be “conflict” between Russia and Nato. And then, last but not least, when asked on BBC’s Sunday Morning programme if she would support Brits travelling to fight in Ukraine, she said she would “support them in doing that”.
The latter comment wasn’t one of her finest and the government has since attempted to distance itself from the idea of conflict tourism. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said there were “better ways” for Britons to help.
I’m sure punishing sanctions and the brave Ukranian resistance in the face of a murderous, strategically flawed war campaign has absolutely nothing to do with Putin. No, it must be Truss edging us ever closer to the brink of mutual destruction. Worryingly, some are more than willing to swallow and regurgitate this blatant propaganda as it mirrors not only their Brexit related neuroses but their sexism, too.
Undoubtedly, the Kremlin knows this all too well. We must all remember, there is still an ongoing culture war in which women on both sides will be the primary casualties. Our insatiable hunger to undermine and strike down one of our own is seized upon masterfully by Russian propaganda which recognises our petty but festering partisan factions. If we aren’t careful, we could soon be peddling it ourselves.
Perhaps Truss will use this propaganda to her advantage as opposed to nervously pouring herself a glass of drink and wondering if her fate has always been to destroy civilisation as we know it. I can only assume she is revelling in following her idol Margaret Thatcher’s footsteps. After all, Thatcher was given her infamous Iron Lady nickname by the Soviet propaganda outlet “Krasnaya Zvezda” on account of her accusations that Moscow was seeking world domination. Three years later, the Iron Lady became prime minister. The Kremlin may well be handing Truss an unintentional gift by singling her out as a threat and inadvertently admitting she gets under the regime’s skin.
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