'Where, precisely is NATO in all of this?' asks Juliet Samuel in today's Telegraph. Vladimir Putin's interpretation of historic Russian lands will ultimately be determined by those who may (or may not) be prepared to stand up to him. Is the Western Alliance prepared to do so?
"Here’s the stomach-churning fact for everyone else east of Berlin: there is an awful lot of land in Europe that a Russian imperialist might define as being “historically Russia”. How much of it will Mr Putin generously decide to reunite with the motherland?
The answer surely depends on NATO: Mr Putin’s territorial demands ultimately only end at the point where Nato countries are willing to make them end. That is the logic of his angry address to Russia and the world on Monday."
Taken to its logical conclusion, Putin's territorial demands amount to "a truly breath-taking territorial shopping list. At a minimum, all three Baltic states, Finland and much of Poland, Moldova and Georgia can wave goodbye to sovereignty. Some parts of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia are surely on the table. Eastwards, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan might all need to reassess their national maps. Hell, why not even throw in Alaska? It was once “historically Russia” too.
Our ultimate problem is that we have spent too many years saying things we don’t mean, and Moscow is calling our bluff. After all, Ukraine was never a Nato member, but it still supposedly enjoyed a Western guarantee of its territorial integrity.
Let’s instead focus on two things: delivering the “severe” sanctions our governments have talked so much about and then working out what Nato’s new red line really is and how the alliance will declare what it is and credibly defend it."
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:
Jens Stoltenberg - Secretary General of NATO