Some in the media condemn the west’s weakness for not make military moves over Ukraine. I for one am glad the west is not threatening military action. Just because the UK saw the Crimea as an area of concern at the height of our imperial power, does not mean that today the future of the Crimea is worth the lives of British soldiers. The UK has to accept it does not have the military might sufficient to take on Russia, so it should not attempt some modern equivalent of the charge of the Light Brigade.
It is true that Mr Obama’s refusal to make warlike noises may well encourage Mr Putin to intervene by proxy in the Crimea. Mr Putin sees the Crimea as a crucial interest, close to home, once part of the Soviet empire, and important to his Black Sea fleet. Mr Obama has a simple choice to make. Does he wish to threaten Russia, saying he will strike against any Russian troops deployed? If he did this how could he be sure they were just Russian troops he hit? What if they are fully supported by the local Russian speaking population? How could he confine the military battles to local troops concentrations in the Ukraine without extending it into a fight against the whole might of the Soviet military? Any threat or intervention is fraught with difficulty.
Mr Obama as always on military matters is gripped by indecision. A stronger President may well have threatened Russia with the full might of the US military machine. A credible President would by this means have deterred a Russian advance. Mr Obama does not have that stature or image in the world, so he has to accept that Russia will push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour more.
As for the EU, it is all talk and no might. May it stay without might, but will it learn to speak accordingly? I have no wish to be dragged into a war about who governs the Crimea thanks to membership of the EU. I do not see the Kiev government as some new saviour of democracy and upholder of my values, any more than I like the people who have taken some power in the Crimea.