Op-eds

Below are links to some of the op-eds and political comment pieces that I have written over the past 15 years:

  1. Threat inflation in a time of peace and stability’, in C2C Journal, 30 November 2014. Republished in The National Post, 8 December 2014.
  2. Is Canada’s foreign policy making the country any safer’, The Spectator, 24 October 2014.
  3. Putin’s fight flank’, The American Conservative, 21 August 2014.
  4. Explaining Ukraine’s defeat’, Vanguard, October/November 2014.
  5. How to stop the killing in Ukraine’, Ottawa Citizen, 19 July 2014.
  6. How Russia might have stopped World War I’, The American Conservative, 4 February 2014.
  7. There is no “sacred duty” to Canada’s veterans’, Times Colonist, 7 August 2013 (Republished from the Ottawa Citizen).
  8. Canada First military spending a surrender to bad policy’, Globe and Mail, 14 February 2013.
  9. Who will be accountable for military technology?’, Slate.com, 15 November 2012.
  10. Putin’s philosophy’, The American Conservative, 28 March 2012.
  11. Off to war with nary a word about its horrors’, Globe and Mail, 25 March 2011.
  12. The generals must share the blame’, The Spectator, 17 October 2009.
  13. Russian lessons’, The American Conservative, 1 August 2009.
  14. The warrior ethos in public life’, Ottawa Citizen, 26 August 2008.
  15. Those Tories are so liberal’, Ottawa Citizen, 31 March 2008.
  16. Honor killing’, The American Conservative, 28 January 2008.
  17. No end in sight’, Ottawa Citizen, 23 January 2008.
  18. The surge that failed’, The American Conservative, 30 July 2007.
  19. A sense of proportion’, The Spectator, 12 August 2006.
  20. Putin plays the market’, The Spectator, 7 January 2006.
  21. The return of White Russia’, The Spectator, 29 October 2005.
  22. Are we wasting money on defence?’, The Spectator, 9 July 2005.
  23. The good news about terrorism’, The Spectator, 2 April 2005.
  24. Thought police’, The Spectator, 2 October 2004.
  25. Putin`s might is White’, The Spectator, 10 January 2004.
  26. Identity Crisis’, The Spectator, 15 November 2003.
  27. Will the UN and EU triumph over the US?’, The Spectator, 18 October 2003.
  28. Code comfort’, The Spectator, 27 September 2003.
  29. Sword of honour’, The Spectator, 26 July 2003.
  30. Land of the free’, The Spectator, 31 May 2003.
  31. The people must decide their fate’, The Spectator, 26 April 2003.
  32. A dodgy constitution’, The Spectator, 8 February 2003.
  33. A war for fools and cowards’, The Spectator, 14 December 2002.

 

10 thoughts on “Op-eds”

  1. Dear mr. Robinson,

    I juste heard your speech ( Toronto, 22 febr.) on InformationClearingHouse.
    I am Dutch and thinkof translating it in Dutch.
    Would you have the written out text of your speech available?

    Could you mail it to me, or canI find it somewhere on the internet?

    I am a private person who is afraid that we may get a bigger war in Ukraine, and try to do everything to spread what Iconsider the truth.

    Thans in advance.

    Johan Vermeulen

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  2. I too have come here because of the ICH posting of your speech.

    I have too much time on my hands, and spent it studying the Ukrainian civil war 8 to 10 hours a day. I am possibly the world’s leading authority on Igor Girkin, by default. I don’t read Russian but I am becoming fluent in Yandex. I thought listening to you that you too did not read Russian, but when I read your job description it was clear that you must. I thought that because in most of the places where our analyses differ, my sources were Russian not available in translation, like Girkin’s Bosnian Diary, interviews in Zavtra with Strelkov and Borodai, and Kurginyan.

    Most significantly, I believe the issue is ethnic cleansing. All else is peripheral. It first appeared in Putin’s pronouncements after Zakharchenko went to Moscow in October.

    The fear of ethnic cleansing is what moved the Crimeans and Novorussians. When the killings began, with the eight buses returning to Crimea from the anti-Maidan, it confirmed every fear that arose in Russian-Ukrainian minds when they saw the Swastika on the Maidan. They say “homeland” now, picking it up from Zakharchenko, but if you look at early interviews, they say Odessa more than anything else.

    Zakharchenko is a clam (except when being interviewed by beautiful journalists from the Expert). I don’t even know what his call sign is. So I think you have not picked up on the extent of his role. I believe you called Girkin the military commander. He was that, self-declared, for only four days. The DNR Council appointed Zakharchenko military commander of the DNR on May 16th, 2014. Girkin was Minister of Defense, in which role he designed battalion insignia and vetoed Zakharchenko’s plans to go on offense. Zakharchenko ran up a dazzling record in the field which no one ever mentions and formed a ruling triumvirate with Boroday and Girkin.

    The overthrow of Girkin in August was a mutiny of the field commanders, led by Zakharchenko, backed by, most significantly, Khodakovsky and Besler, who had both refused orders from Girkin to surrender. Along with general unfitness for command, Zakh accused Girkin of being a sadist. Are you aware that Girkin had no military education, no military training, and no combat experience beyond raiding isolated farms with an assault rifle with an underslung grenade launcher? He was in Chechnya seconded from FSB in a security capacity, not as a combatant. He disappeared people. The Russians backed Zakharchenko by threatening to close the borders so that civilians sending aid could no longer deliver it.

    You overlook the role of Russian civilians in arming the resistance. Kurginyan says his NGO Essence of Time supplied most of the materiel in Slavyansk. It’s well known that during the 90s Russian military equipment was abandoned. There was a panic over the security of nuclear weapons and that was remedied. The rest is scattered around the country obsolete and unguarded. Also, there were many mass defections by Donbass residents in the UAF, who took their weaponsj with them when they went home.

    You seem to ignore the degree to which Russian political outgroups are trying to use the Donbass for Moscow ends aimed at Putin, especially the Tsarists. There line is Putin betrayed the Donbass. The pro-Putin crowd pushes the line that Russia is arming the resistance and sent in troops in August. Zakharchenko says he was reinforced by 1200 recruits who had been sent into Russia to be trained. The “evidence” of Russian intervention is mainly a different level of competence observed. Why not training not ethnicity? In the latest offensive, there were certainly some guaranteed home-grown spetznaz groups who performed very well.

    Another major omission is Konstantin Malofeev, the Russian oligarch who financed Girkin and Boroday on their expedition. All three are radical Orthodox and Tsarist. I think Boris Rozhin, a Crimean newspaper editor blogging as Colonel Cassad, may have been a fourth, setting up Girkin’s propaganda network.

    Maybe we should talk?

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      1. I’ve read both Cass’s comments as well as yours, and am myself quite aware of both the Russian blogs or reports and the numerous articles on this civil war. I was pleased and surprised to find that I agree with your stand shown on the Toronto conference and evaluation of the situation for 90% (I am a European trained Canadian linguist specialised in Russia, turned development worker turned part expat businessman over the last 25 years). Cass’s opinions are interesting in that he has amassed an additional volume on Strelkov, and I agree with his view of Zakharchenko, who is – for me – possibly the main unusual quality-leadership find of this war. I find your assessment especially interesting in the area of potential direct Russian involvement in Ilovaysk but also agree with Cass that I don’t see anything but a suddenly increased level of competency as actual evidentiary flow. Your data or links here to substantiate direct Russian incursions would be quite helpful.
        What I found most interesting within Russian society during this entire war is the astonishing rapid growth of a volunteer citizen involvement within Russia, a movement which galvanized to the right of Putin and which he appears to have been able to assimilate or somewhat align with Zakharchenko and Plotniyski over Strelkov.
        In any case, I greatly commend your work and communication. Unfortunately, yours and others’ lone voices in Canada are not heeded by opportunistic Canadian politicians, whether they are in government or opposition.

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  3. Strelkov is almost the only source on Strelkov. His friends are virtual, or are more like acolytes, with the exception of Boroday, a fellow radical Orthodox/Tsarist, with whom he spent time in Transdniestria, Chechnya and Dagestan, wrote for when Boroday edited Zavtra, worked with for the oligarch Konstantin Malofeev and for Aksyonov in Crimea. At first he failed to get financing for his proposed adventure to seize power in the Donbass and may have brought Boroday in to change Malofeev’s mind, at which Boroday succeeded.

    The trick with Strelkov is figuring out when he is telling the truth. If there’s a camera around, he’s usually on script. Strelkov doesn’t have much of a life away from his computer, and most of it is spent as an amateur actor or writing fairy tales. He is a fantasist. When he is ON, a script runs in his head like Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel. (For those who go that far back, like Walter Mitty.) I see it, Boroday confirms it.

    But very oddly for an ex-FSB officer, perhaps because his knowledge of technology doesn’t extend very far into the 20th century, he seems to feel he’s in private when he’s in a chat room or a blog, using his cell phone, posting to the Secret Forum or emailing. Even in print, when he’s at the obscure ‘ultra’ weekly Zavtra getting an ego massage from co-religionist Prokhanov he relaxes, grows expansive, spills beans. This was where he claimed he personally was responsible for the war, gladdening many by seemingly confirming that Russia done it through secret agents.

    Strelkov has a polished script about his ouster that makes it his own idea and a heroic sacrifice, but the most common reason he gives us in multiple interviews is “to avoid a mutiny”, or a “division in the ranks.” He wasn’t clairvoyant: this means the mutiny was already happening. It began with a screaming hours-long fight with Zakharchenko the night he abandoned his position in Slavyansk against orders.

    He did not go from Slavyansk to Donetsk. He toured all the NAF-held strongholds, ordering them surrendered one by one: Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka, Artemosk. Bezler claims he possesses signed orders to abandon Gorlovka. Petrovsky says the same of Donetsk.

    (Too long on Streklov and I start getting called a Kiev troll by pro-Donbass forces, so let me interject here that I consider Zakharchenko to be a good and gifted man, possibly a great man, who will be better at nation-building than anything he’s done so far, which is high praise indeed. The people remind me of people a generation or two back in Newfoundland fishing villages in their capacity for work, their stoicism, their humour. AVZ, though, may have had a Yiddische grandma. When he spreads his hands and shrugs I expect to hear “Nu?”)

    Back in the mud. Boris Rozhin leaks from the Secret Forum and he revealed on his blog ‘Colonel Cassad’ that Strelkov had complained to the Secret Forum that he had been accused by the commanders of sadism. Several lower-ranking fighters have complained that he gave nonsensical and/or incomprehensible orders. This was part of Givi’s denunciation of Strelkov (not mentioned by name) in the video in which Givi says Zakharchenko is a great man and he will follow him to the end. (Givi was have intimations of mortality that month.)

    Strelkov admits this in his latest (I think) interview with Prokhanov. He believes he suffered for lack of a Chief of Staff, whose role would be to make the commander’s vision comprehensible to the field officers, who would then be responsible for figuring out how to make it happen.

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  4. Hello Paul, I heard your speech on Feb 22, 2015. I cannot say that I agree with everything you said, but I find your views quite balanced. I think that maybe you need to add to your sources for Russia another one – “Besogon TV” that belongs to Nikita Mikhalkov, famous film director, Oscar winner. His podcasts are quite interesting. I assume you understand spoken Russian.

    http://www.besogon.tv/

    All the best
    Lina

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  5. I only recently read your Spectator October 2005 article- thanks to David Habakkuk- and was wondering what else of yours was “out there”. So thanks for providing these links.

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Russia, the West, and the world

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