WAR IN EUROPE
Eyewear has been watching developments closely in Crimea, and as we predicted in earlier posts, the Russians have taken a hard line, and today it is reported they have effectively taken control of Crimea with their troops. This is huge. This is war in Europe - Russia has invaded a sovereign nation. Consider Germany (in 2014) occupying a part of Austria - unthinkable. Uncivilised. Unwelcome. And, unlikely to be stopped. The West seems powerless to do more than threaten to cancel meetings (though Obama sounds tough). Ukraine may fight back. They have an army of one million reservists and a rusty but large air force, with a lot of their own tanks. If Crimea becomes a firefight, it will be all about containment - keeping the conflict local, if possible. We have begun a new cold war, as many papers report today - but if the Russia-Ukraine war spreads to the main part of Ukraine, then all bets are off, and NATO would be expected to threaten to intervene. Given one of these nations has atomic weapons, the whole scenario playing out at the moment is quite monstrous. I feel very sorry for the Sochi athletes and Olympic organisers - all that hard-won goodwill wasted in less than a fortnight. Russia has shown itself unwilling to join the West as an ally, but prefers to present itself as a solitary second world power, the pivot between the West and China, to establish a three-way split for world domination. This is a pity. They could have come in from the cold.