Russia was an imperialist power long before the rise and spectacular utter fall of Communism. Almost all the states of the Former Soviet Union had been acquired long before the October Revolution of 1917. The Great Game that so troubled a long succession of Viceroys of India and the Indian Army was played out against the backdrop of British fears of Russian desires to extend the Russian Empire to the Indian Ocean from where they might threaten British interests.

Russia remains, even after being shorn of its Imperial Possessions, a huge country stretching from the borders of the European Union to the Pacific Ocean and disposes of significant miltary forces as well as a vast store of nuclear weapons.

The Useful Idiots of CND, a sizeable chunk of the Labour Party and the Pothead & Nut Cutlet Party as well the likes of Michael Portillo (who, frankly ought to be ashamed of himself, but isn’t) have, predictably, railed against Blair’s decision to renew Trident.

This report serves to demonstrate why, given all the recent signs Russia has been giving out that it is re-emerging as a serious world player in economic and military terms, we in the West should be looking carefully to all our defences, both conventional and nuclear, now rather than having to make do and mend twenty years down the line.

It also reminds us that Dame Pauline Neville-Jones was wrong in her recent defence and security report for the Tories to ignore this threat.

Defence has ceased to be a matter of great political significance since the days of the collapse of the Soviet Union. If we needed a wake-up call as to why it should be firmly put back on the political table, recent Russian moves ought to provide it. The Tories, are, in my view missing a serious trick here but the lacklustre performance of Liam Fox means that this is perhaps unsurprising.

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