Any hopes the Paris atrocities would force the world’s leaders to put aside their differences over Syria’s devastating war and focus on wiping out Islamic State were dashed yesterday.
Make no mistake: the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to shoot a Russian fighter jet out of the sky for allegedly violating its airspace near the Syrian border are profoundly chilling.
This unprecedented act by Turkey — the first time in 50 years a Nato country has brought down a Russian jet — is extraordinarily provocative.
Vladimir Putin is furious, using decidedly undiplomatic language to accuse the Turkish leadership of stabbing his country ‘in the back’ and being ‘accomplices of terrorists’.
Small wonder leaders in Europe are frantically calling for diplomatic channels to be used to resolve tensions.
But rather than seeing cool heads prevail, in the coming days and weeks we are far more likely to witness dramatically escalating tensions between Russia and the Nato alliance, of which Turkey is a key member.
The seeds of this diplomatic disaster were sown long ago.