Many would have been circumspect in predicting another conflict in Europe. But as we wait and watch the ineptitude of far too many western decision-makers stumble to agree on a robust response, to at least try to get on the same page to rebut Putin's challenge - escalating conflict is looking frighteningly more possible.
Lessons from the past too quickly lost. Ego's and petty resentments fester with European and American politicians creating cracks that Putin masterfully takes advantage of.
He already got the signal when he marched into Crimea, and Eastern Ukraine and the Western Powers stuck their collective heads in the sand, telling him he was a bad person to have done that. Putin must have had a chuckle to himself.
Some in politics and power are now waking up to the fact that Putin is a very real threat to the world. We now have Russia and China to contend with. All this time, they have been playing the long game - an infinite view, whereas we in the West think we are playing a finite game. We think we can win. That is our mindset, and it is wrong. The West has been caught asleep at the wheel, and we have no answer. We called it the Great Game in Kipling's time, and we understood it was infinite. It was never-ending. Another lesson lost.
It is what happens and is the result of weak diplomacy. We are boxed in, and now we either show we are prepared to fight or relinquish Ukraine to Putin. It is that simple.
My guess is, and I do hope I am wrong, but we will end up throwing Ukraine under Putin's Bus. Biden doesn't have the stomach and, after his dismal performance in Afghanistan, the credibility to go up against Putin. Johnson is the one who might look to come to the rescue of Ukraine. He would aim to use the Ukrainian situation to distract attention from his present predicament. But that will be a fade - even if previous administrations hadn't decimated Britain's armed forces, the UK is now and was always unable to stand up to Russiam might alone. Germany is nearly on Putin's side because they need Russia's gas - France - who knows?
It is a pretty dismal outlook. And whilst this is going on - make no mistake, Jinping will be taking full advantage.
Having forgotten the lessons - hard-earned and bitterly costly at that - we in the West are going to suffer the consequences of our indolence and greed. We in the West - for all our crowing - have been negligent on so many levels. It will take people to wake-up very quickly and get our house in order if we want to avoid the upheaval and continue life as we know it - and even so, I am not convinced that is possible now.
Too many failures to make amends now - too many times when we refused to take the hard road, to take the medicine and the failure of our leaders to dish out the tough love we so desperately needed.
We have a very tough road ahead - our only hope now is that the opposition is also full of holes - but I wouldn't want to count on that.
Rick - Suffolk - Uk - 24th January - 2022