...on the topic of the Ukraine and possible guarantees of sovereignty or independence:
The tone is coined by my stance that defence policy is about defence, not about playing games in distant places.
Feel free to compare this tone and mindset with all the voices which are inevitably going to be raised about possible guarantees or interventions in the Ukraine.
The difference is a fundamentally different approach.
My approach is to protect one's own country, which is best done in a sufficiently strong alliance - and this means "defence" is widened in its meaning to collective defence of the alliance.
Troubles such as those in the Ukraine, or earlier in Georgia, are better handled through institutions and global culture. Interventionists erode the role of institutions (UN etc.) and peaceful culture with aggression, hypocrisy and disrespect. Both are unpleasant obstacles to their own gaming, but merely useful tools to bash others (hence hypocrisy).
We were globally better than that when the UN was founded and aggressions ostracised.
A world with interventionist great powers is a worse world than one in which even great powers could face the Apartheid regimes' fate of exclusion. Regrettably, the design of the UNSC and the economic integration of Western economies make this extremely difficult for the time being.
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By the way;I suppose they only see nails and will call for the hammer.
the best a better lever against the apparent current Crimea policy of Putin is likely not military power, but taking the wealth of Russian oligarchs that's being stored abroad hostage. This in turn is reminiscent of what I wrote about strategic air warfare.* Let's see if the usual (warmonger) suspects get that idea, too. ;)
*: (I don't have nearly as many ideas as blog posts, that's for sure.)