Klaus Joachim Herrmann on the foreign ministers’ meeting on Ukraine.

The second crucial participant in the Ukraine crisis was not expected at the foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin. Washington is staying out of it because it would rather arm itself from a distance against Russia. No decision will be made on the issue without the guidance of U.S. leaders, or CIA and other advisers. President Poroshenko often phones his boss Obama overseas, Obama’s vice president, or even the secretary of state many times a day. Even the disgusting show of bureaucracy regarding the Russian aid convoy required conversation.

The conflict, in which large cities in the middle of Europe are being bombarded by an army armed with rockets and artillery and citizens are being driven out by the hundreds of thousands, is at its core geostrategic. The U.S. and NATO want to move forward in the post-Soviet world, and Russia wants to prevent that exact thing from happening. Both sides are avoiding a direct confrontation. But the situation is becoming similar to how things once were in Vietnam: Forces are being mobilized, armed and sent into the fire.

In the meantime, Europe is helplessly dithering and trying to avert any further damage. European leaders will not be able to do that without considering their own interests and putting pressure on both intensely quarreling superpowers; without the direct participation of Moscow and Washington in negotiations, there is no peace.