Just back from the launch of the second, paperback, edition of Edward Lucas's "The New Cold War". Mr Lucas is always worth listening to and he gave a very spirited analysis of what is happening in Russia and, especially, the many mistakes the West, particularly Western Europe has made.
In the past, Mr Lucas has expressed the opinion that the only way to deal with Russia is for the EU to stand together and stand up to the Bear. As our readers know, I have always doubted the usefulness of that course of action.
This evening I asked Mr Lucas whether, in view of developments in the last few weeks and, particularly, President Sarkozy's behaviour, he still thought that the EU was going to be the one to fight Russia. Or even to challenge it. Mr Lucas admitted that he was very disappointed in the European Union and said that, perhaps, he had been a little too optimistic.
NATO, on the other hand, or, to be quite precise, the Americans have been making it quite clear that Russia is not going to start invading various former Soviet republics. Indeed, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said recently, that in response to Russia's invasion of Georgia, "the United States and NATO are updating plans for defending allies neighboring Russia and will consider increasing the number of military exercises with the Baltic states".
My own view is that Russia has not exactly gained much from its Georgian adventure. A couple more South Caucasian republics is hardly a clear benefit.
However, it is good to hear that Edward Lucas feels "disappointed" with the EU. He might see the light quite soon.