The effective occupation of the Crimea by Russia has this morning been hailed as one of the most dangerous moments of the 21st century and follows an all too well historically established route.
For EU countries this should not just be about defending a far-off small country on NATO’s Eastern Border.
This is the middle game period in an already well developed Russian strategy to regain territory that the Russian people and importantly President Putin believes are Russian by right, historically linguistically and culturally.
To look at the build up to Crimea is to see a disturbing similarity eighty years before.
Since 2008, the Georgian government has lost control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both effectively annexed by Russia.
Though they are still unrecognised as separate countries by almost all of the world, the two territories have effectively become Russian.
The international community’s response?
UN talks to try to resolve the dispute have got nowhere and Russian appeasement has been rife in case of retaliation by Gazprom, the Russian State owned Gas company, for whom most of Europe depend for a large amount of their Gas supplies .
Given that the international community has done nothing to stop Russia, now Crimea has effectively been annexed and still the international community is relying on “harsh words” diplomacy, leaving the fledgling, democratically elected, Ukrainian government to sabre rattle on their own.
Let’s look back 80 years at another country that believed it’s People historically, linguistically and culturally extended beyond their own borders.
In 1935 a majority of Germanic population allowed Germany to take back control of the Saar.
Then in 1936 in violation of an international treaty the Germans re-militarized the Rhineland.
During the period they were arming and providing military aid to Franco in Spain, then in 1938 with the Anschluss Austria became a part of Germany.
The Germans, not being stopped by the international community with anything other than words, only continued demanding first the Sudetenland and then eventually taking the whole of Czechoslovakia.
Only with the invasion and annexation of Poland in 1939 were other countries finally willing to act.
What will be Poland this time round….?
Can we afford to wait and find out?