What seems like a pointless dispute to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is not pointless to the Russians, who fear that the traditional buffer of the Ukraine is being used to expand NATO up to their Western border.
They have a fear of encirclement, which is why they have strengthened their Black Sea fleet and put Iskander missiles into Kaliningrad.
Sanctions that the West applies are only effective if the West can isolate itself from the effects of counter sanctions and only if we have all the money.
What started as what appears to be a terrible accident, involving the shooting down of a passenger plane in an area riven by civil war, has now become an exercise in recapturing Sevastopol as the Russian warm weather port and perhaps an attempt to expand Russia into the boundaries of the old Soviet Union which broke up many years ago.
The solution is to step back and let Chancellor Merkel’s plan take root, unless we really want to provoke a World War, which is going to benefit nobody. This would involve a more flexible style of governance for the Ukraine, along the lines of devolved Governance in say Wales, some reassurance for the Russians, who would then not have any pretext for invading a place where the West has no strategic interest and has no firm treaty to defend.
The sanctions from us are in danger of hurting us ( in the UK), just as we come out of recession. and they will not bring the passengers of the downed passenger plane back to life.
The UK has run its Tri Forces down to just 83,000 men and woman, has aircraft carriers with no planes on them, no scalar weapons and no space based weapons. We have just 17 escort vessels for our shipping and no coastal protection vessel. Admiral West has commented on the disgrace of our lack of escort vessels, given that we need more as an island to protect our shipping. On top of that, we are not self-sufficient in food and have less than 3% spare generating capacity which means a hard winter would push us into blackouts.
We are in no position to throw our weight around or mobilise, nor are we in a position to be able to risk damaging London because without London the City would not be able to keep the country afloat. In the end, we will make symbolic gestures, whilst Angela Merkel, the real mover and shaker in Europe, negotiates a messy but practical compromise.
America may not think it needs to worry about Russia very much because as Obama said “They don’t make anything”, similarly he thinks that he has to be firm with the Chinese who he imagines he can contain forever. Obama is not going to be there forever and time is more on the side of the Chinese than it is on his.
Putin will not be there forever so we should be talking to those that will or are likely to succeed him. as well as dealing with him.
The rest of Europe needs Vladimir Putin’s gas and is still effectively bankrupt,
which is why there is no stomach for sanctions.