If the events in Ukraine are to appear as more than a series of disconnected events, you really must take the long view. So if you want to understand why it looked last night as though war was about to break out in the Crimea, perhaps take a look at this piece of analysis by Stratfor. It's a company that focuses on geography and history to explain what is happening in the world. Stratfor makes its money by signing up paying subscribers, but makes some of its work freely available. The book from which this is taken, The next hundred years, is also worth reading.
A diplomatic crisis has arisen which has the potential to make Euro 2012 as interesting for politics as for football, and to humiliate UEFA. It demonstrates - not for the first time - the naivety of imagining that sport and politics can be separated. The issue? In October 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine, was jailed for seven years following a trial that her supporters and many western diplomats condemn as politically motivated and luminously unfair.