Maths | History

The grandmaster aiming to checkmate Putin

Is Kasparov right? In recent years he has been an isolated voice warning of impending disaster. Suddenly he seems prescient – and his tweets about Ukraine are shaping the debate.  Garry Kasparov is not a man you want to face in a battle of wits. In 1985 he became the youngest ever World Chess Champion. After that, he became the world’s number one chess player for a record 255 months. He retired from chess in 2005. Since then, he has focussed on politics. Kasparov is known for organising the opposition to Vladimir Putin.  In 2013, he was forced to flee the country. A year later, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Kasparov spoke out. He said other countries should be firmer with Russia. He thought if Putin was not stopped, he would do it again.  Now, it seems Kasparov was right. More people are turning to him to hear what he says about the war.  His message is harsh. If the West does not stop Putin, the risk of conflict will only get higher. Kasparov thinks the West should make it clear that it sees Ukraine as an independent country. It should give Ukraine aid and send the weapons it needs to fight off the invaders.  Others agree that there is a danger other countries might think they can behave in a similar way and get away with it. We might be returning to a time where sovereignty could be destroyed with just a hint of violence.  But others think the world never really changed. After all, the USA has not respected the sovereignty of Iraq and Venezuela. The only difference now is that other countries are no longer respecting the rules. Is Kasparov right? Stalemate Yes: Kasparov warned us in 2014 that Russia would be back for more. If Putin gets away with it again, there will be more provocations in future, ultimately leading to the war we all want to avoid. No: We no longer live in a world with only one superpower. We have to face the reality: Russia is too powerful to be constrained militarily by the West.  Or... Ukraine is already giving Putin a bloody nose, partly thanks to Western aid. We should have more faith in our sanctions and condemnations: the current strategy against Russia is working.   KeywordsSovereignty - The authority of a state to govern itself, or sometimes another state.

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