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Putin's asymmetrical war on the West

Putin and May meet in 2016. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Sir Francis Richards, the former chief GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA), compares the "new Cold War" to the last one in a fascinating interview on the Economist Radio podcast:

“I think ‘war’ is … almost an obsolete word, in that war tends to imply that you have peace and then someone presents a bit of paper and then you’re the other side of a line. We’re in a perpetual conflict… it has rules that bind us but none that bind the aggressors.”

Why it matters: A Russian-manufactured chemical weapon was deployed in a British town, evidently at the behest of the Kremlin. In response, Theresa May expelled Russian diplomats. Now Vladimir Putin is preparing to expel Brits, all while claiming the West is acting hysterically and has no evidence. No western country seems to know how to fight on these terms.