If we could imagine the instruments in a nation’s diplomatic kit as a set of keys, we’d find that some, like masters, fit a range of locks, while others must be cut to order. Before determining which type a given lock requires, we need to acknowledge that a lock exists at all.

When it comes to a lock at the heart of the conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine, that’s yet to happen.

The Ukraine crisis is a gate beyond which loom global dangers so defining, one might expect that cooperation between Russia and the West would be an urgent priority. Right now, that gate has a lock on it — one that the Western diplomatic establishment has yet to acknowledge, let alone forge a key to fit.

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