OH dear, it seems David Pratt has been drinking deeply of the Pentagon Kool-Aid. It’s the same old rhetoric and the same old tropes (It’s not the West’s prerogative to tell Ukraine to concede territory for peace, Jan 26). America and its noble European partners riding to the rescue in order to bring peace love and understanding to all, at the same time confronting an “evil mad man” and saving the world from tyranny.

Of course the reality is somewhat more complex to say the least. Great powers have always privileged their own economic and territorial interest above any notions of morality or principle, wielding their influence in malign and destructive invasions, wars, occupations etc. Anything that threatens the ambitions and the hegemony of these behemoths is ruthlessly suppressed. Rome and Britain were exemplars in the past, today we have America, China and Russia.

READ MORE: Russia may not have invaded Ukraine if it weren't for Brexit, top MEP claims

Pratt tells us that “the so-called peace talks known as the Minsk Process (of 2014)” were essentially a fraudulent ruse by Russia as “the Kremlin was playing a double-game, pretending to talk peace while building up for the military onslaught that culminated in February last year”. But something else happened in 2014 that Pratt did not mention. That something else was a CIA-engineered coup to get rid of the democratically elected pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. That coup was supported by Ukrainian far-right and neo-Nazi organisation such as the Azov movement, Right Sector, Svoboda and many others. A wee keek into the ideologies and actions of these organisations might make the righteous Western liberals who are so thoroughly up to speed with the dastardly deeds of the Russians blanch somewhat.

Pratt’s also refers to “the West’s response” in Ukraine. It’s not their “response”, it’s their game plan and from the US point of view – especially that of all the usual suspects in their vast military/industrial profit machine – it’s all going rather well. Not a single American body bag in sight.

READ MORE: Scottish taxpayers 'risk funding Russian war' with state help to firms, Greens say

He then goes on to envision a Russia which “is prepared to cast off its imperial designs and ambitions”. Pratt clearly believes we should get behind Uncle Sam in this endeavour. We have surely wandered into a somewhat grotesque Alice in Wonderland fantasy here. The US, which has bases all over the world, which has orchestrated countless coups for decade upon decade, financed death squads all over Central America, dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, terrorised Vietnam with napalm and Agent Orange, illegally invaded Iraq and has now left Afghanistan a devastated ruin? This is who needs our support in its selfless quest? Eh, no thank you.

For the avoidance of doubt, let me state clearly: this is an illegal invasion, the suffering of the Ukrainians is intolerable and it should be everyone’s hope that a way will be found to bring the conflict to an end. But simplistic bromides which ignore the harsh reality of how ALL the great powers operate serve no-one.

Name and address supplied

I DON’T normally get involved in football issues mainly because it becomes too partisan and serious for certain groups of people in this country, no matter what the topic is. However, after another football weekend riddled with more controversial referee decisions, I would like to ask your football columnists why they are not seriously debating this whole issue that has gradually unfolded since VAR was introduced in November 2022, during an active footie season rather than the beginning of it?

Many of the controversial incidents/referee calls are downright awful and highly questionable; they also appear to be arising on a weekly basis now. I’m regularly watching fundamental offences like players behaving like a goalkeeper and blatant handling being ignored by the match official and astoundingly, the VAR official who has the advantage of scrutinising an incident more closely. Then other “ping-pong” inadvertent handball decisions are awarded as penalties to confuse things even further!! Also certain footie teams in the Scottish Premier League appear to be bigger beneficiaries of these dodgy awards compared with others!

READ MORE: Scottish football may now have VAR, but the referees have not changed

It appears that many referees in this country do not know the revised laws of the game either, and when one observes, for example, a player deliberately handling the ball in his own pen box at Tannadice and rightly being penalised after a VAR review, well done in this case, BUT the offending player had already been booked and no straightforward second yellow card/red card was given to this player, Freeman of Dundee United. Why? This type of decision was a straightforward one at any level of football, never mind Scottish professional footie!

Last weekend there were other damning decisions that were not criticised enough either, and they should be called out to the point where the game is in disrepute and certain referees/VAR officials should be suspended and replaced by more competent/better officials.

Come on you National football reporters! It’s time to “grow a pair” and challenge the inadequacy of a ref system that is worthy of the criticism it is receiving from many quarters, with lots of fans being put off the game for life!

Bernie Japs