It might seem premature to discuss what to do when the current crisis in Ukraine is over, but it would be shortsighted not to do so. In a Policy Brief for the Clingendael Institute (Lessons of the MH17 disaster, September 2014) Barend ter Haar suggested some lessons to be drawn from this tragedy, in this column the pitfalls to be avoided in the aftermath of the current crisis.
It was in July and August a century ago that the pacts of honour and depths of ignorance weaving together the governments of Europe hurried everyone into war. Any moment on a cable news channel last week, the onlooker might have undergone the feeling of inner liquidity that goes with the thought that it could all be happening again.
This summer’s headlines have been exhaustingly tragic. From the violent blitzkrieg and beheadings carried out by the Islamic State, to the shocking recklessness of militants in Donetsk and police in Ferguson, insecurity has taken an unsettlingly high civilian toll these past months.