In a Time of Grave Crisis Where is the West’s Winston Churchill?

As the West cowers & reacts timidly after the fact to Putin’s aggression who of the West’s leaders will stand up to him?

Peter Winn-Brown
4 min readFeb 24, 2022
What the West needs now is bulldog spirit; but where will it come from?

In the middle of the night last night Vladimir Putin began his long predicted invasion of Ukraine. Such an outcome now shows that all Putin’s rhetoric re-a diplomatic solution for this crisis has been shown to be nothing more than a publicity stunt. The full extent of his aggressive intentions, which the vast majority of people — politicians, diplomats and analysts included— in the West have struggled to understand and have ultimately misinterpreted is yet to become clear. Where will he stop? When he will stop? No-one knows.

All attempts by the West to deter this singularly determined autocrat have fallen way short, and the question must be asked; if Putin moves beyond the Donbas, who in the West will be strong enough to stand up to him?

Thus far, Western leaders — and I mean all of them — have exhibited weak, reactionary responses to Putin’s unjustified aggression. Biden, Johnson, Macron, Sholz, Stoltenberg, all of them and more, have vastly underestimated Putin’s ambitions and have been left floundering, fighting back with weak, indecisive and inadequate words and sanctions while Putin faces them down with arms and naked aggression.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning (Thursday 24th February) former Defence Minister and MP Tobias Ellwood blasted the West’s response as weak and falling way short of what was required, not just to have deterred Putin in the first place, but to limit the extent of his malintents and future aggressive actions.

The piecemeal sanctions thrown at Russia in this drip, drip and ineffective manner have served to only highlight the West’s inability to counter Putin’s tough rhetoric. Any continuation of this approach will have little or no effect and will only amuse Putin further.

When Hitler was rattling his sabres back in 1939 world leaders couldn’t envisage the extent of his madness and the limits of his ambitions. I hesitate to say that Putin today has similar global ambitions, but the depth of my hesitation in this respect is paper thin.

The diplomatic appeasement and reactionary, after the event, sanctions and words from Western leaders will only strengthen Putin and show him that the West is weak, leaderless and is unable to stand up to Russia’s military might.

In 1939 thankfully one man stood up and said No! Enough is enough! Ambivalence and appeasement will not stop Hitler. Only strength and fortitude will face him down.

That man was Winston Churchill.

He of the bulldog spirit. He of the famed V-sign. He who would not lie down when Hitler’s rabid dogs were at the gates of freedom.

Today the West sorely needs a leader of similar stature to stand in Putin’s road and face him down. But there is no sign that any such leader is out there. NATO has fallen way short of what is required to defend the West against tyranny.

The US is broken, divided and once again stuck in an insular, small-minded mode that only urges Putin to further acts of naked aggression.

European nations are too worried about their incomes and ability to heat their homes to even consider that Putin’s ambitions may yet encompass much more of Europe than has so far been discussed.

Macron is just playing to the home gallery in an election year. Scholz is to timid and weak. And Johnson is unwilling to close down Londongrad fully for fears of the effect on the British post-Covid economy.

And the West’s reluctance to shut down the Swift payment system to Russia leaves a gaping hole in any sanctions package and reduces the effectiveness and will only serve to lengthen the time other sanctions will take to bite.

This is the perfect storm Putin has stirred up and there is no doubt that it must be causing open ripples of laughter in China as they see Western leaders shuffling 3’s, 4’s and 5’s whilst Putin sits at the table holding all the aces.

Who in the West is strong enough to kick the table over?

If the West continues to dither, putting a band-aid on a severed artery hoping to save the life of the Liberal Word Order, then it won’t just be Putin the West will be confronted by.

The people of Taiwan, Poland, Lithuania and elsewhere are watching fearfully at the inaction and belaboured, pathetic Western responses and must be wondering if they are next.

For everyone’s sake, leaders everywhere need to stand up and be counted. Before it’s too late.



Peter Winn-Brown

The past can illuminate the present if we shine the light of inquiry openly, truthfully, with attention to detail & care for the salient facts.