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With apologies to God, Voltaire, and the Ukrainians, I must point out that if Ukraine did not exist, it would not be necessary to invent it. It has no resources the world cannot do without, and it is not a “vital strategic interest” to anybody except the Ukrainians themselves. Not even to the Russians, although they are acting differently at the moment.

Bosnia is nobody’s vital strategic interest either, and it wasn’t a hundred years ago. But Bismarck warned in 1898 that if there was ever another major war in Europe, it would come out of “some damned silly thing in the Balkans,” and an assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 fulfilled his prophecy to the letter.

Some things have changed since then, however. The next world war will not come out of Ukraine (just northeast of the Balkans), no matter what happens in the next few months. Russia might invade Ukraine, there might even be a new Cold War for a while, but there will be no fighting in Europe beyond Ukraine’s borders.

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