Whatever Russia does in the Ukraine, we know that Britain isn’t going to do much more than say ‘dear, dear’, something that was accidentally revealed when a British official was photographed bringing a document to Downing St stating as much.

We’re not going to help for a number of reasons, one of which is that Ukraine is incredibly complicated and historically and psychologically is sort of a part of Russia, or at least the eastern half is. As for the Crimea, Russia certainly has as much right to that province as the Albanians have to Kosovo.

Russia is a great power with legitimate claims to that region, and unlike Iraq, they really do have weapons of mass destruction. So pourquoi mourir pour Donetsk?

The US could possibly bluff the Russians into submission, but why would they, with such huge risks? What would it prove? The idea that allowing the Russians to hold onto the Crimea suggests some huge decline in American power is strange, considering that a quarter of a century ago the United States’ power reached as far as Bavaria, and it now surrounds Russia on almost all sides.

I’m not sure the European Union can have such an excuse, and if any good comes of this I hope it is that people start to consider what Europe means. Ukraine is a European country whose people, at least its western half, wish to be part of the European Union, and whose territory is now occupied by another state. If the EU can’t do anything about that, then what is the point of the EU?

It can’t, and the reason is this – there isn’t one man on earth who would be prepared to lay down his life for the European Union. Not one. It’s a nation for people who don’t like nations. In contrast I bet a lot of Russians would die for Russia; despite the oppression they invariably suffer at the hands of every one of their rulers, they love their country.

The EU is a post-national, universalist dream based on an idea of indiscriminate altruism. A great idea, so long as everyone else on earth practises it, but unfortunately in the real world no one else does. Not Russia, not China, not the states of the Middle East. And soft power only works so long as it is backed up by an army and an economy to fund it, something that the Europeans, cosseted for two generations by American military protection, have forgotten.

The irony is that lots of people love Europe, but it is a Europe that the Commission finds repulsive; the real Europe, that of Greece, Rome and, most of all, Christendom, not a post-national world without borders but one that has always identified itself by its separation from the lands of Islam and to a lesser extent the Asiatic empire of Moscow.

But that would sound too much like exclusive patriotism, the very thing that the European project was supposed to replace, and by doing so ending war on the continent. Brussels, as the saying goes, you had one job.

Tags: EU, Europe, patriotism, Russia, Ukraine, US, Vladimir Putin