The Sunday Telegraph today has a front page article warning of the temperature rising between Europe and Russia about the Ukraine and more than hinting (presumably to sell more copies of the paper) at war.
History was never my chosen subject at school and such history lessons as I enjoyed, dwelt on the Aztecs and the Incas or the slightly more recent Great Siege of Malta in 1565 well before WWII.
None the less the publicity this year and last commemorating those who fell in WWI and the considerable bravery of so many of our forebears, has caused a little learning about its causes and background to seep through from which I conclude that this country really only had to join the Great War because of the German invasion of our neighbour, neutral Belgium.
What may be occurring in the Ukraine is terrible and of course tragic for many innocent families.
However unlike Belgium the Ukraine is not a British neighbour. The USSR to the best of my recollection did not become involved at least overtly in the British internal fighting about Northern Ireland nor indeed with the many tragic killings there nor earlier when the Irish Republic was created.
Likewise during the Falklands crisis which led to a short UK war with Argentina, the USSR were not overtly involved. The UK is not a policeman of the world nor is it a country which should be. We cannot join every battle even where injustice exists on one side or the other.
Maybe we should have become involved in Zimbabwe where we had a responsibility prior to Rhodesia declaring UDI and maybe Afghanistan can be justified on the grounds of the Taliban's attempts to subject its female population although sadly we did not become involved with the former and my understanding is that the repression of women is not the reason for our involvement in the latter.
Maybe too Libya which armed the IRA was a country we could retaliate against though I doubt that but surely the lesson to be learned from Iraq were we became involved yet to what end, is that different peoples in different parts of the world must be left to develop at their own pace and in their own way. We should not interfere simply because a far away people's or country's development is slower or different from our own even where dreadful tragedies are occurring, unless they threaten humanity itself.
However if the Taliban or ISIS invade Belgium then we would in my view then be right to act but not before.