Isolated Russia’s links with sinister states is evidence of a new Axis of Evil

NOT many people have congratulated Vladimir Putin on his war in Ukraine.

Most world leaders have condemned it as a moral and military blunder on a staggering scale.


Putin’s isolated Russia’s growing links with sinister states like North Korea, Iran and China is evidence of a new Axis of EvilCredit: Alamy
Xi Jinping's China is the only country likely to overtake the US this century as the world’s leading economy


Xi Jinping’s China is the only country likely to overtake the US this century as the world’s leading economyCredit: Reuters

One of the few people who thinks otherwise, or says he does, is Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini.

In a recent meeting with Putin he praised “Your excellency’s pre-emptive initiative” in launching his war on Ukraine.

The Iranian leader pretended to believe that the West was going to attack Crimea if Putin had not got in there first.

It is an interestingly mad view of recent events.

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But it should be seen in a wider context.

It is part of a pattern of movement going on in the world today.

Vladimir Putin is looking for friends wherever he can find them.

And as it happens there are a number of countries around the world who are also more or less begging for friends.

Among them is the most isolated country in the world — North Korea.

A country that has effectively been cut off from the rest of the world for the past 70 years.

A country that has in recent years tried to secure its system of dictatorship by getting nuclear weapons.

A search that has made the country even more isolated.

So it was interesting that this week someone actually reached out to become better friends with North Korea.

Who on earth would want that? Why, Vladimir Putin, of course.

In a letter to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, Putin said he wanted to expand relations between Russia and North Korea.

Who would seriously want anything from North Korea?

The country has no industry, no agriculture, indeed almost no actual economy.

But people who need friends need friends, and Putin is looking to find them wherever he can.

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan may be one of the only competitors with North Korea for the worst government in the world.

But it also knows its pariah status.


And it too wants to find friends wherever it can. In the year since the disastrous American withdrawal from Kabul and the Taliban’s return to power, not many countries have tried to embrace the foul regime.

But Afghanistan and Russia are building relations.

Yet none of these is as important as the biggest outsider alliance of all.

Which is the alliance between China and Russia.

Led by President Xi Jinping China is the only country likely to overtake the US this century as the world’s leading economy.

And the Chinese Communist Party has been playing a very good, long game for the past 20 years.

At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, most of the world cut Russia off immediately, throwing it out of the banking systems and effectively crashing its economy.

Some people expected Beijing to go to Moscow’s aid immediately.

But it didn’t, perhaps just watching how the West responded and wondering how far it could go.

Because just as Putin has tried to grab Ukraine, so the Chinese Communists would love to grab the island of Taiwan.

Indeed, some people expected it to happen almost immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But the Chinese have been more restrained than that.


They have stepped up military exercises around the island and tried to increase their reach at sea.

But they have also been watchful, using Putin’s actions in Ukraine, and the world’s response to him, as a way to study what might come to them were they to make their move.

Now the Chinese are using a visit of American officials to Taiwan as an excuse to cosy up further to Russia.

Before the Ukraine war, Russia and China announced a partnership “without limits”. It seems that they are now testing that.

The Chinese recently condemned America for starting the war in Ukraine.

As though it was American, and not Russian tanks, that rolled into the country. And they blamed the ongoing war on America.

For helping to arm Ukraine. It is a view that could have been dictated by Moscow — and probably was.

The Russians returned the compliment.

After the recent US visit to Taiwan, Moscow condemned America for daring to allow its officials to visit.

The Russians said that Taiwan is an “inalienable” part of China.

This may just be diplomatic cover.

But what will be far more disturbing is if China and Russia start to give each other more military and financial cover. We shall see.

But from North Korea to Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia something can certainly be seen. The emergence of an axis of undoubted evil.

Quitting social media? Amazing, Spider-Man

FILM star Tom Holland has announced he is quitting social media for his mental health.

The Spider-Man star told his 67million Instagram followers that he gets “caught up and spirals” when he reads things about himself online. He is wise to take a break.

Tom Holland has announced he is quitting social media for his mental health


Tom Holland has announced he is quitting social media for his mental healthCredit: Alamy

But parents and their kids should take a lesson from this.

Social media can be fun. But it can also be a toxic mess.

People who get wrapped up in their online life at a cost to their real life end up having neither.

We should learn from Spidey.

A wig and a prayer

WE better hope that none of our opponents do start a wider war.

Because if they did we would be in trouble.

The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, is pushing quotas


The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, is pushing quotasCredit: PA

Most countries recruit their armed forces by how tough and resilient they are.

Only some of us in the West have been stupid enough to recruit based on “diversity”.

It emerged last night that the RAF has effectively stopped recruiting white men.

That is because it has to meet “impossible” diversity quota targets.

And this idiocy comes from the very top.

The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, is pushing quotas.

And last year, in his first public speech as head of the Armed Forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin stressed the importance of “diversity”.

As a result, the Ministry of Defence is trying to reach some simply mad targets.

For instance it is demanding that the number of women in the Armed Forces more than doubles this decade, going from around 12 per cent to 30 per cent by 2030.

The ethnic minority quota also has to double this decade.

There are people speaking out against this. Indeed the head of recruitment for the RAF – a woman – has just resigned in protest at the targets.

She has rightly said this diversity obsession undermines our fighting capability.

Of course it does. If you go to the doctor it doesn’t matter what colour their skin is or what sex they are.

It only matters how good they are at their job.

But it is most serious of all with the Armed Forces.

No opponent will be put off attacking us because we do not have a high enough female or ethnic minority quota in our services.

They will only be deterred by how tough we are.

People like Wigston and Radakin should be ashamed – and replaced.

They are clearly clever little politicians, mouthing all the “correct” sentiments. But they are woeful military leaders.

It’s top of the swots

FAREWELL, Jeremy Paxman, stepping down from University Challenge after an amazing 28-year run.

The legendary broadcaster, who took the baton from Bamber Gascoigne, said that meeting “some of the swottier brains in the country . . . gives me hope for the future.”

Original host Bamber Gascoigne


Original host Bamber GascoigneCredit: Rex

I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I have watched the programme I have marvelled at how much these students know.

And not just on one subject but on a whole range of things.

Still, there has been some dumbing down in recent years, which is a shame for a programme that has held such amazing standards.

I suspect that the BBC will use Paxman’s departure to further this trend.

They will complain that the programme is “elitist” or the like.

And then they will probably feel that they have to adapt to the current generation of woke students.

If I was the quizmaster I think I would deliberately plant questions I knew the students wouldn’t dare answer.

For instance: “Your starter for ten. What is a woman?”

And then watch as none of them dared to press the button.

Mother Russia

PUTIN has just announced a new Russian state award.

People given the title “Hero-mother” will be rewarded with a million rubles (about £13,500).

Putin has announced the 'Hero-mother' award


Putin has announced the ‘Hero-mother’ awardCredit: Getty

To qualify, a Russian mother must have ten children.

They will be given the money after the tenth child is one year old.

But as ever, there is a catch.

All nine other children have to still be alive.

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As Putin wages his pointless wars that might not be so easy.

Always read the small print.

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