In my opinion - "an ill-favoured thing, Sir, but mine own" - one of the very best commentators around at the moment is Peter Hitchens, brother of the late Christopher Hitchens. Unsurprisingly, they share an ability to espouse surprising opinions which at first glance are something of a shock. Even so, Peter is well worth reading (which you can do every Sunday in The Mail) because his knowledge and literary eloquence will give you pause before your long-cherished likes or dislikes.
Take Russia, for example. There are a number of places which I would pay good money to avoid and Russia is one of them. It's not that I dislike the Russian people because the fact is that I have never met any of them except very much at second-hand via the plays of Anton Chekhov. Mind you, that's enough to set the alarm bells ringing! And it's not just because they have perpetrated massive crimes against others, as well as themselves, after all most great nations, including our own, have blood dripping from their escutcheons. Even so, in my mind's eye, the whole wretched country reeks of death and blood and misery with not much in the way of mitigating virtues.
But that was before I read Peter Hitchens at his very best in an essay at what appears to be a Christian site called First Things. He does not blink at nor evade the horror that is Russia but he does set it in an historical context. Even more important, he corrects the impression of Russia as being a sort of USSR Mk. II. He reminds us that in fact Russia has shrunk considerably. He does not attempt to paint Putin as anything other than a thug but reminds us that in global terms he is somewhat puny.
It is obvious from his eloquence that he has an enormous liking, bordering on love, for the Russian people. I'm not sure he has totally convinced me but he has certainly given me pause. I urge you all to read the entire article.
ADDITIONAL: Sorry, sorry, sorry - my bad! And grateful thanks to Bob (see below) for pointing out my error in providing you all with the wrong link above which only provides background to a detail in Hitchens' article but this is the proper link to his essay which I would urge you to read: