The Crimea crisis is yet another illustration of what is probably the single most important lesson human beings could learn from their own history: when different peoples live in the same land, under the same government, bad things happen. In other words, nationalism constitutes the best organising principle for the world. When the principle of nationalism is violated, trouble begins. History is largely the chronicle of the troubles that come from the principle of nationalism being violated.
What do we have in the Ukraine? Two different peoples - Russians and Ukrainians - living in the same land, under the same government. The frontiers of government do not correspond to the frontiers of peoplehood. Our genetic tendency to empathise with our kind being what it is, in any ethnically divided land you would expect to see political sympathies break along ethnic lines. This is what happened. On the question of whether Ukraine should join the EU, the Russians tended towards no; the Ukrainians tended towards yes. The Nos prevailed, democratically. But the ethnic Ukrainians didn't accept the legitimacy of that verdict. This, too, tends to happen in multi-ethnic societies. One ethnic faction simply does not accept the moral legitimacy of the other ethnic faction, nor does it trust the other faction to deal fairly with it if it achieves power at the ballot box. The same thing happened in Central Africa, where French troops are now deployed to try and stem the chaos of civil war.
The Ukrainians have essentially mounted a violent coup d'etat to overthrow the country's democracy. It is hardly surprising that the Russians should now say, "Well, to hell with this. We're off." They are absolutely right to do that. Crimea should re-integrate with Russia. The fact that it came to be considered part of the Ukraine is simply the result of an administrative decision made over 15 minutes in Soviet political session a few decades ago. It is staggering to contemplate the amount of misery that has been caused by drawing political boundaries in such a way that they do not correspond to the natural frontiers of peoplehood.
The solution to the problems caused by the violation of the principle of nationalism is to re-affirm the principle of nationalism. That is true in Crimea. It is true in Britain. It is true in France. Peoples should live in their own lands, with ethnically homogeneous populations, under their governmental authority. If the world was organised along those lines, a large chunk of the world's problems would disappear overnight. That the ruling elites of the western world have embraced exactly the opposite ideal - in the belief that multiculturalism and diversity are good things - bodes future catastrophe for us all.
In the case of the Crimea, restoring the principle of nationalism is relatively easy. The province just has to detach from the Ukraine and re-integrate with Russia. Elsewhere, re-affirming the principle will require mass expulsions and population exchanges, perhaps even massacres and extermination. However unpleasant this may seem, the future unpleasantness it averts will be far greater.