Make no mistake - the Cold War is back. As with the first Cold War the main task is to ensure that it does not turn hot. Paradoxically, the way to achieve that is for NATO, with all the clarity it can muster, to tell Putin that a move against the Baltic states would be met by military retaliation. It is the message that should come out of the crisis summit which president Obama has called for next week. It's scary, but Putin, like so many of his predecessors, understands all too well the language of force.
It could hardly be worse. The system of press regulation cobbled together by the Coalition and opposition in the wee small hours on Monday is, to borrow the Leveson jargon, neither voluntary, nor independent, nor self-regulation... to the eternal shame of parliament, we have ended up with a political concoction based on a single judge's recommendations, which may lead to the courts telling editors what to put in their publications. That noise you hear is the applause of dictators around the world.
But, what about the internet, I hear you cry? Kate's topless photos have shot around the world. Doesn't this make an utter nonsense of press regulation, statutory or non-statutory? And isn't it unfair to put newspapers, already in a dodgy financial state, at a commercial disadvantage by not being able to publish content widely available online? There are no easy answers. But, unless you want to dispense with regulation altogether, to give newspapers an automatic right to reproduce anything they fancy from the internet surely cannot be justified.
Our economic troubles have been going on for almost half a decade, with no end in sight. They are the worst crisis to hit Britain since the Second World War. Then we suspended party politics and created a government of national unity. Is it too much to ask that our politicians might do the same today? Is it too much to ask that they should practise what they preach, allow themselves to be suffused with the Olympic spirit, and come together to pull the nation out of its slough of economic despond?
Politics provides one of the most vivid and telling measures of how wide the Atlantic really is. It is not just that the point of gravity in America is so much further to the right, such that David Cameron would be considered by many Americans as 'socialistic' just for his support of the National Health Service. It is that ideas and beliefs that would be thought daft in Britain are part of mainstream discourse in the US.