I have little time this morning because I'm off 'up country' to lunch with 'SoD'. However, I just wanted to mention that I distinctly heard the ice creaking as the pressure grows in the Ukraine/Crimea. These remarks of mine are not deeply considered, more like random re-action grunts - I will try and think deeper on the journey.
The Crimea is lost. No harm there because, following Stalin's malignant policies in the past, the vast majority of the people are Russian and I am prepared to accept that Russia has a genuine national interest in the area, not just for ethnic reasons but for sound defence reasons in the Black Sea.
However, the remainder of Ukraine is a different case. It's not that we ( for shorthand purposes - USA/EU) have any particular interests in the place but we do have an interest in not allowing Putin to believe that he and his gangster regime can just waltz into any of the old Soviet territories they fancy. That will definitely lead to real war eventually so it must be faced now.
It is necessary, not to paint Obama's futile red lines but to place physical red lines which Putin will have to think long and hard before he marches over them. At this point, of course, we reach our own almost insurmountable difficuly - we, the USA/EU, are totally disunited. Our leaders could look out of the window and disagree on the weather! For a start, the EU can do nothing without American backing. Today, we have the most aloof, disinterested POTUS of recent history. Obama simply does not think in global terms. He is only concerned with his golf handicap and internal American politicswhich means ensuring that the Democrat party win the next election. Outside of that he remains the most disinterested of distant observers. Mittel Europ might as well be on the moon as far as he is concerned. I should add that I am not totally unsympathetic to that stance, it is long over due for European governments to stop bribing their electorates with more and more 'goodies' and start thinking hard about how to defend themselves against a renascent Russia.
However, there is one simple act that Obama could take which would bring Putin & Co. to an abrupt halt in their ambitions, and that is to sign one of those 'executive orders' he loves so much and allow America to export gas/oil. That would bring the international cost down with a crash and Putin and his Russian zillionaires - to say nothing of the Russian people - would suddenly feel a very Siberian breeze! But of course, Obama is in thrall to all his Democrat Greenies who hate fossil fuels so the chances of him doing that are minimal.
Anyway, no more time, 'she who must be obeyed' is indicating that my time is up! If you have any thoughts, please put them in the comment thread adn I will return to the subject later on today.
(Apologies for the higher-than-normal typo count!)