When the man, who was famous for carrying an umbrella, stepped back onto British soil, he called out, waving the paper with the deal on it, “peace in our time…Now I recommend you go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.”
Of course, it didn’t work. It never really seems to. It was a bit like the ancient Incas and company giving the Spanish Conquistadors gold, hoping they would leave South America forever. Instead they stayed so long everyone there now speaks Spanish.
As everybody now knows, Russia has taken Crimea from Ukraine, in their great chess game. Nobody stopped them, and there were some small steps, possibly, of attempted appeasement. And now, if the reports that are coming now are true, Russia has given up pretenses of wanting no new territory, and Vladimir Putin has ordered his tanks forward again.
It may not lead to a new war, although of course it always could, but it is certain that Vladimir Putin is certainly, as a former political adviser and consultant told me recently, “the shrewdest man in a long time” in the geographical area.
For a while, it seemed as if the Ukrainians might be able to take their country back, with only a few strongholds still remaining to the rebels. They elected a new president, and seemed to be getting back on track. But now, all that is thrown in doubt, while Russia advances. It certainly is not a time to sleep quietly in our beds.
Andrew C. Abbott