Putin’s misadventure could actually deliver precisely the opposite of what he wants – a united Europe with Britain back in it

To actually use the words “Regime change” (as Matthew Parris does in The Times today) as if it is, or has ever been, a reason for military intervention is baffling. The only regime change that actually worked was the Cold War. The Soviet Union wasn’t brought down militarily (though American military expenditure, if not action, helped). The long list of failed military “regime change” initiatives – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. etc. should make us very wary of thinking that Western superior weaponry could ever do that job.

We are very close to having an authentic United States of Europe (Churchill’s nomenclature) thanks to Putin. The Germans, Swedes and even the Swiss are re-arming. The move to a European Defence Force seems unstoppable. Europe will choose to defend itself also negotiating bilateral alliances (e.g. with the US and Turkey) as NATO fades away. And for the first time Europe’s multinational defence capability will be democratically accountable (to the European Parliament).

And where will Britain be as all this happens ? Rocks and hard places spring to mind. How amusing that Putin’s determination to divide Europe (by opposing NATO enlargement and supporting Brexit for example) will actually lead to something more powerfully united across the continent. And pragmatically (if we haven’t forgotten how to be pragmatic) Britain will join in and clamber back on to the European train. Hooray.

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