But in order to understand properly the age in which we live, we must stop making bad analogies. This is not a return to the 19th century, when Russian actions would have been standard operating procedure for a great power. In fact, only 50 years ago Britain and France clung to their empires - in Algeria, Vietnam, Kenya, Cyprus - with more determination and violence than Moscow. This is the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union that Moscow has sent troops into a neighbouring country (a country that it had ruled since 1801). Its actions are deplorable but the reaction to them - worldwide - is a sign of how much the rules have changed.
The countries bordering Russia all condemned the move and rallied around Nato, the European Union, and the US. Even Belarus is making some friendly gestures westward.
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