Ok. It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong. And it won’t be the last. I figured Putin would be satisfied with world leaders gathering at his exceptionally long, almost comically so, table and bending the knee. But he wasn’t, and this is no laughing matter.
Now our papers are completely covered in the horrors unfolding in Ukraine. The first war in Europe since WW2. Its almost surreal. I look to the Baltic states and my stomach turns. Gulp. These are all former Soviet Republics, freshly out from under the Soviet thumb. We know people in Spain from the region. It was unthinkable that Russia would invade these small EU republics. But now? Not so much.
It seem Putin is hell bent on getting the Soviet band back together. Although, keeping it together would be another thing entirely. The populous, especially those born after 1990, know what freedom and prosperity tastes like. They won’t easily bend over for autocracy.
Locally here, bars and restaurants are ceremoniously pouring our their Russian vodka in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. There is not much else shop owners and farmers can do. Jeff and I are not big drinkers ourselves, although you’d never know it with our giant stash of alcohol. Jeff’s company sends us booze for nearly every occasion and holiday. Why? We have no idea. But we never drink it unless we have guests to offer it to. I looked through and none is of Russian origin. So no pouring ceremony. It will be my starter kit for the food truck. Peregrinos can drink it.
We are far away from the conflict in Ukraine. As far away as you can get in Europe. But if history has taught us anything, World Wars are called that for a reason. And they can be kicked off by stupid things. Appeasement will not work – as Neville Chamberlain learned with the Nazis. Strongmen and autocrats require shows of strength or they just keep going. That said, it will lead to a conflict most of us have never known. And for those of us living in Europe that conflict isn’t on our front doorstep, it’s inside the house. I fear this is the start of very, very dark times ahead in Europe.