Back to the Ukraine, the media is still reporting Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine as "pro-Russian activists". There are pro-Russian activists in the east, and they look like this, or like this. Note the mix-n-match clothing, with some hunting-type camouflage, civilian jackets, etc. None of them are carrying any visible webbing or magazine pouches, the only visible ammunition they carry are two taped-together rifle magazings. Their AK-74s are older model, worn, with wooden furniture. They are also portly and many of the photos we've seen show a mix of men of all ages and fitness.
This is a very dangerous gamble because the fear behind it isn't so much Europe's (and global, price wise) dependence on the availability of Russian oil and gas, but the fact of Russian nuclear weapons.
Now, progressive peers will point to the West, Obama, and so on as myopic blame for events in the Ukraine, based on perceived motives behind NATO expansion. Whatever the merit to these arguments (and I think some border on paranoia), they pose no solution. This kind of assessment conveniently ignores the fact that Russia is militarily annexing a neighbouring state, taking advantage of internal political weakness, which it had a good hand in sowing through its support of Ukraine's former leader. If we're quick to condemn the US for Iraq and Afghanistan, it's just as bad when Russia does likewise. The realist in me says Russia can have Crimea, but if it does not withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine, that country is on a path to civil war, which the Russians will effectively win if the West does not step in.
If Russia's goal is to annex as much of Ukraine as it can, then anything it says otherwise at high-level international meetings that indicates otherwise is a delaying tactic.
IF this is the case, we have an incredibly serious problem.
We are 25 years from the end of the first Cold War. That's enough time for an entirely new generation of diplomants, thinkers, and military/intellegence people to come of age, and associated institutional culture changes and memory losses on all sides.
Once again, rearward facing views rooted in notions of cultural or ethnic purity that attempt to redress the past eventually lead to very ugly places.