It is hard to believe, given Nato's recent less-than-convincing performances in dealing with Libya and Syria, that Moscow will be in the least bit perturbed by the bold commitment made by Nato defence ministers to defend Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.There's something missing from Con Coughlin's grumpy harrumphing about our newfound wussiness in today's Telegraph.
I'll give you a clue what it is - it's in the Caucasus, it begins with a "G" and it ends with Vladimir Putin taking a huge, Russian bear-sized dump on the White House lawn.
I'm sure you remember it - short but nasty war between Georgia and Russia, caused in large part by the Georgian President's erroneous belief that his best buds in Washington would have his back whatever damnfool thing he did, not least because his best buds in Washington kept telling him that they'd have his back whatever he did.
Anyway, how did the rock-ribbed conservative warriors of yesteryear respond to Russian provocation?
Condemning as unacceptable what he called Russia’s “bullying and intimidation,” President Bush on Friday said Russia must withdraw its troops from all of Georgian territory and said the United States would stand with Georgia in the conflict. - NY Times, 16 August 2008Ah yes, I remember - the Republicans yelped and snarled about Putin being Hitler, and yapped and stood on their cute little hind legs and so on, then... Did absolutely nothing while the Russians walloped seven shades out of Georgia and gave Washington the finger. In other words, they behaved exactly in the manner that Con now worries their successors will.
I know that this all happened six years ago and thus might as well have been acted out with muskets in sepia tones as far as our attention-deficient punditry is concerned, but it's rather odd that Coughlin would fail to spot it.
Anyway, let's pause and consider who, exactly, a column called Don't expect Nato to save Ukraine from Russia is aimed at. Reader, do you expect Barack Obama to start waving nukes at the Kremlin? Have you been hoarding canned food and shotguns in anticipation of the outbreak of World War Three in a matter of weeks? Has anyone?
But plus ca change, because as in Georgia, I can imagine that a lot of Ukrainians might expect Nato to get into a pagger with Russia on their behalf.
Maybe it would do us more good to have a bit of a think about how anyone might have come to such a fantastical conclusion, than it does to take a huff over the unlikelihood of a war between Russia and the USA.
And once we're done with that, we can marvel that an actual adult human being appears to regard America not going to war with Russia as a bad thing.