Anybody else got this horrible feeling we're back in 1936? Hitler invaded the Rhineland, which had been taken away from Germany after WW1, and everybody stood by and did nothing. We all know what happened a few years later.
The Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when it became part of Ukraine. Putin is taking it back - and nobody does anything. Ukraine was part of the USSR until 1991, and the current clashes in Donetsk and Kharkiv involving pro-Russian demonstrators is likely to be used as a pretext for military intervention there - something that Putin has asserted he will do.
Tomorrow, Sunday 16th March, a vote will take place in the Crimea that will see it returned to Russian rule, in contravention of all international law.
Tomorrow, Sunday 16th March, the closing ceremony for the Winter Paralympic Games will take place in Sochi, 250 miles from the Crimea. It will also be the closing ceremony for the period of detente between East and West that started in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, it was a phoney peace in the Cold War, as demonstrated by Russia's attitude towards Syria.
In Syria, 9 million people have fled their home, 2½ million of whom have fled the country. Vladimir Putin continues to back president Assad to the hilt. If things had really changed since 1989, he would have brought pressure to bear on the Syrian leader to step down. Putin did not. He has continued the pre-1989 policy of spheres of influence for East and West, and seeks to return to Russia's sway all the former Soviet republics. When Yanukovich fled his country and his presidency, Ukraine fell from Russia's sphere of influence. Putin is moving to take it back. Some of the other former Soviet republics are ruled by Putin's henchmen, such as Lukashenko in Belarus, and Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan, both autocratic rulers.