Like Dr Alf, I worry too.
Wesley Clarke was the man who could have triggered World War 3 in the Balkans by accident; he was stopped by General Mike Jackson, who retired from the British Army and refused to challenge the Russian troops.
The analysis by General Clarke is right but putting too much effort on containment via a strengthened NATO is just going to wind Vladimir Putin up into a frenzy of more weapons building and finding new ways to punch holes in whatever missile shield we develop.
This is just like Sir Basil Zeharoff and Krupp the Illuminized Freemason, in the book “Arms of Krupp”. Krupp would develop armor piercing shells and sell those to country A,then he would develop armor plate capable of resisting the shells to country B . That process made them rich beyond the dreams of avarice but other than armaments workers and the owners and investors in those Krupp factories people in those countries did not benefit from the activity.
Vladimir Putin has to be checked but the best person to do that is Mrs Merkel who speaks Russian probably better than he speaks German.
Putin cannot stand David Cameron or Obama and knows that Hollande and Barosso are lame ducks.
A deal is there to be made based on a federated Ukraine, pulling back the missile shield in the Baltics, moving the Iskander missiles back from Kaliningrad, restraining the rebel forces and the Ukrainian Neo Nazis and splitting the cost of fixing the Ukraine financially between Germany and Russia who have to give up Czarist pretensions vis-a-vis Novirussia or re expansion of the old Soviet Union.
Swords into Plowshares is a good philosophy in which China could play its part by assisting with Ukraine’s and Russia’s economic growth. Rapprochement and realpolitik must rule our approach to Vladimir Putin who is not a man who bluffs or blinks easily.