David Milliband is playing a dangerous game. His visit to Ukraine and his support for places close to the Russian border is a further incitement of Russia, without the force to back up the position he is setting out. He comes across as a boy cold warrior without weapons, playing with fire in a part of the world he understands but dimly. Maybe he is still planning his first cabinet, and too distracted by the slow collapse of the government he represents to do the homework he needs to do to understand the world of the Caucasus.
He has chosen the weakest and worst of all the possible responses to the ill judged Georgian adventure and the unacceptable Russian invasion. He has decided to talk tough and act weakly. What we need is a proper analysis of the problem, and longer term measures to rebuild the UKâ€™s strength â€“ and the strength of our Western allies â€“ before presuming to dictate to Russia things we cannot control. How does he think the UK can guarantee the independence of all the states clustered near the Russian frontier? Does he understand why the Westâ€™s actions in encouraging and recognising an independent Kosovo have been seen by Russia as a green light to supporting independent states out of Georgiaâ€™s regions?
How can he belong to a government which set up a Scottish Parliament which now wants a vote on Scottish independence, and yet argue that people should not be allowed to change their states if they wish? He is muddled on self determination and how you redraw Europeâ€™s borders. Apparently what is allowed in Kosovo is not allowed elsewhere. Time to do some reading and thinking, Mr Milliband, before putting your foot in it again.