One of Winston Churchill's much quoted aphorisms is: 'I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.' But then he went on to add: 'but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interests.'
Indeed it is. The UK Defence Forum has posted (pdf here) an admirably succinct analysis of how Russia perceives its national interest. It underlines that Western triumphalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union was a truly horrendous geostrategic error.
Or was it? I can foresee a not-too-distant time when historians will judge that the Russian perception of US diplomacy after 1992 is correct: it is perfectly legitimate to perceive it as a global drive to extend the boundaries of the US informal empire, the 'New World Order' prematurely announced by President George Bush Sr.
The question for us is whether the European remoras should remain attached to the US shark. Maybe not.