NATO, EU face acid test
If the West cannot convince Russia to leave Ukraine, it will be the end of NATO as a military force and the EU as a political one.
One of the iconic photographic images of recent decades was the film of a young Chinese man standing in front of the lead tank of an armored column on its way to crush the pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The tank driver apparently had a conscience and refused to run over the protestor.
It is reported that the people of Mariupol, Ukraine, are forming a human shield to protect their city from the oncoming Russian troops and armored vehicles. If this is so, it will be seen if the columns stop or if they continue on through the unarmed civilians. In any case, Russia is now in open violation not only of its own pledges to respect Ukrainian territorial integrity in the Budapest Agreement of 1994, but of every tenet of international law concerning armed conflict between states. Of course, it has been in violation of such agreements and tenets since it occupied the Crimean peninsula in June, but that conquest at least was bloodless.