They must be having a right laugh

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Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
7 Jul 2010
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One would imagine that as Russia retreats, as they have been doing since Glasnost, then the need for NATO would diminish. The USA got the message after Cuba Cuban Missile CrisisUSA seems world leading belligerent currently, with massive expenditure on arms and numbers of lives lost 'War rarely goes as planned': New report tallies trillions US spent in Afghanistan, Iraq. Also massive under cover intrusion into foreign affairs, particularly in South America. They are currently presiding over the collapse of Afghanistan, where they should be dropping aid as enthusiastically as they dropped bombs.

Terry - Somerset

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22 Dec 2012
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Normal folk in Ukraine and Afghanistan are minor players in a much larger game. They don't count.

Afghan funds the Taliban may have access to would be spent on that which the Taliban regard as a priority - likely to include arms, bribes and "sweeteners" for their senior leadership.

Food supplies healthcare, power supplies, clean water are likely to be a lower priority and controlled by the Taliban to reinforce Taliban control.

The west (UK, US etc) protest they will do all they can to avert a humanitarian crisis. The reality is they can do close to nothing. They assumed the Afghans could hold the Taliban at bay as they left a sinking ship - they either anticipated the outcome and left anyway, or their intelligence was abysmal.

Ukraine - a cursory look at a map of Europe shows that the once Soviet controlled "buffer" states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria are now NATO members. The major buffers are now just Belarus and Ukraine.

For Russians of a certain age this is a major threat. That we consider their concerns ill founded does not alter their perceptions. The West will not agree to exclude Ukraine from possible future membership of NATO - therefore the Russians cannot discount it as a risk.

The result - Russians threaten and know they could take Ukraine unopposed. The West will not put troops on the ground - it is a path to uncertain escalation. The West postures and threatens sanctions - although I struggle to think of a single instance where sanctions have been effective.

Neither Ukraine or Afghanistan demonstrate the supremacy of decency over political and practical realities. Western leaders need to satisfy their electorate with a veneer of concern - it's good for votes and righteous. The Russians have no similar constraints - one could easily regard them as more honest.