Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 12:45 GMT

Anyone for a Fespa Sevastopol? No, thought not

Appeasing dictators didn’t work in the 1930s and it clearly doesn’t work today with Putin.

The president of Russia doesn’t have the checks and balances that leaders in the West have. He’s used to getting his own and if he doesn’t he simply sends in the boys. Or the armed forces. It’s no longer the way European countries behave towards each other—and Putin doesn’t understand that.

Annexing parts of another country just because they used to be yours is not how things are done in the 21st century—otherwise Angela Merkel would be within her rights to send the tanks across the border into Poland, France and Denmark, where there are large numbers of German speakers

The question is why should we be worried? Whatever your views are about the European Union there is little doubt as Britain’s largest trading partner the community of nations has brought with it 70 years of peace and economic stability. Annexing parts of another country just because they used to be yours is not how things are done in the 21st century—otherwise Angela Merkel would be within her rights to send the tanks across the border into Poland, France and Denmark, where there are large numbers of German speakers.

What Putin doesn’t get is that the ruthless sort of politics he indulges in at home doesn’t work internationally as the fall in the Russian stock market proves. It leads to massive economic uncertainty and collapse in business confidence. Nobody is going to be too interested in a Fespa Sevastopol or an Ipex Moscow for the foreseeable future.

As it is often said in Germany, what is in Germany’s national interest is not in Germany’s national interest. In other words Germany is better off trading with its neighbours rather than invading them. Something Putin is yet to learn. And if our Government appeases Putin then we all know where that led to in 1939.

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