In response to an FT article by Roman Olearchyk and Jeevan Vasagar on 23rd August 2014, entitled 'Germany urges Ukraine to look for a federal solution'
"In the strongest comments yet by Germany to push for a federal solution, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, said in a newspaper interview that a federal structure in Ukraine was the only option to resolve the crisis. He added that Berlin’s priority was to prevent direct conflict between Russia and its southern neighbour"
Personally, I think all this talk about getting tough and 'appeasement' is missing the point.
We always seem to be fighting the last war, responding to the last crisis. Mr Putin is not Adolf Hitler, Angela Merkel is not Neville Chamberlain, and the West does not need Winston Churchill to save us, which is just as well because the current crop of 'statesmen' we have in the West are a bunch of empty suits and hairdos.
If you want to understand what Mr Putin fears and wants, look to the relationship he is attempting to build with China, the one he is already has with Germany, the moves afoot in the BRICS to create their own version of the IMF, the currency swap deals he is setting up to trade outside the dollar system, and his rapid accumulation of gold reserves to name a few.
None of us have a crystal ball, but these don't strike me as the actions of a guy who wants to roll tanks into Poland. They strike me as the actions of a guy who fears being surrounded by NATO bases yes, but more importantly a guy who wants to establish Russia as an economic power, independent from the US. I believe that Russia, along with China, views the US as an ailing economic power, propped up by owning the global reserve currency. A currency that is increasingly viewed as an accident waiting to happen.
I think Mr Putin sees a future made of a trading block that consists of Russia, China and Germany. I don't think a war is his preferred game plan! Personally, there are some neocons in the Pentagon who give me more sleepless nights than Mr Putin.
That's my rational take on the situation. Emotionally?... I want to know what that black box of MH17 says. I hope the people who seem dead keen to kick Mr Putin's posterior want to know too. It wouldn't be the first time, and it won't be the last, that a piece of evidence that bears an inconvenient truth goes mysteriously vague or missing.