February 28th, 2014
06:32 PM ET

Zakaria: Russia unlikely to invade Crimea region

CNN speaks with Fareed about the latest developments in Ukraine, why the Crimea region matters to Russia, and whether Russia might consider invading. This is an edited version of the transcript. For more on this issue, watch GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN when Fareed will be speaking with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Before we get into the bigger picture questions, what is your reaction to the news about armed troops, maybe they are Russian, in two airports in the Crimea region? And also, as one correspondent was saying, even surrounding peacefully a TV station?

It seems very unlikely that Russia has no hand in this “border patrol.” It's possible they are not Russian, actual Russian official troops. They may be some kind of paramilitary. Remember the Ukrainian army tends to be drawn from the region it's from. There may be Ukrainian army forces that are more loyal to the Crimean area than they are to Kiev, which is a very pro-Western anti- Russian part of Russia.

But the Russian intelligence services have been active in Ukraine ever since the breakup between of the Soviet Union and the independence of Ukraine. You have to assume that what they are trying to do is create facts on the ground – take over the key areas, which are the airport and government buildings. And then you have some kind of autonomous local government that is trying to act in a way that creates facts on the ground that Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, cannot do very much about.

It was Sergei Lavrov, foreign minister of Russia, who told John Kerry that Russia respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Is Russia just saying one thing? It’s a big if, but what would be in it for Russia to invade? And what are the options for responses from the U.S.?

Well, first, I very much doubt they will invade because...

You doubt it?

Yes, because what the strategy and the path is more likely to be if they were to do anything is to have, as you said, control of the Crimea in a way that the Ukrainian government forces cannot take it back. Then they would secede.  Remember, Crimea has historically been part of Russia. It was only given to Ukraine in 1954. This was part of an attempt to show during the days of the Soviet Union that we're all pals. We trust you. Ukraine is so much a part of the Soviet Union that we, the Russians, will give you a crucial part of it.

It allowed Russia to locate its Black Sea Fleet in the area, which is why this is so geostrategically important. So, Crimea secedes or aligns itself with Russia. The Ukrainian government can't do much about it. No Russian troops have crossed into Crimea. That's the more likely scenario.

You talk about geostrategy. Let’s talk about the gas lines, specifically from Russia through Ukraine into the West. And we talk about politics, geopolitics, but also economics. How might that be at play in this whole sort of proxy tug-of-war between the West and Russia?

There are two ways. As you say, Ukraine is crisscrossed by Russian gas pipelines. That's one of the key ways that Russia delivers gas both in Europe and actually south as well. They will make sure, if there is any kind of deal here, there is no interruption of Russian gas supply.

The other piece of it is Russia delivers gas to Ukraine at massively subsidized prices. The areas to look at are probably not the old-fashioned Russian invasion. What Russia will try to do is create facts on the ground in Crimea, probably have the Crimeans ask for some kind of autonomy or even secession.

And the second part is the Russians will say to the Ukrainians, fine, you want to be independent, you don't want to have any association with us, we subsidize your national gas to the tune of $3 billion to $5 billion a year. That subsidy ends today.

If they were to do that, the Ukrainian economy could collapse. It's already near collapse. That's why if you look at the administration in Washington, they are playing a careful game. You need to deter Russia. You can't have Russian troops enter. You want to make sure Russia doesn't try to reconquer Ukraine in some way, even though Russia lives right next door. They provide Ukraine with a lot of cash, with a lot of subsidies, and there are a lot of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. So, they are going to have to be involved.

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Topics: Russia • Ukraine

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Rachel

    Asking because I would genuinely like to understand the rationale–why doesn't the Ukraine just allow Crimea to go to Russia? From what I've read, the people seem to identify with Russia in every way, and it was Russian until khrushchev gave it to Ukraine as a gift in 1957. If the people want to be Russian, why not let them be Russian?

    February 28, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • Jere

      Maybe because it belongs to Ukraine? The only reason that it as a Russian majority is because of the Russian Implants due the navel base? And by the way, the Crimea was apart of Ukraine long before Russia so wonderfully allowed Ukraine to rule over its own territory. Are you a Puty vodka loyalist?

      March 1, 2014 at 12:49 am | Reply
      • Rachel

        No, not at all. I'm genuinely curious because I can't find any elaboration as to why the strategy is to remain unified. I just hope for the most peaceful solution to this problem so the country can heal and move forward.
        Thank you for your input. I welcome any additional opinions others might have.

        March 1, 2014 at 12:55 am |
      • Friedrich

        How was it ever a part of the Ukraine? The Ukraine never existed until recently. Ukrainians were just one of dozens of ehtnicities living under Russian rule for centuries.

        Crimea used to be Tatar, until Russians expelled them in 19444-45

        March 2, 2014 at 8:03 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Crimea was part of the Ottoman Empire until Catherine the Great annexed it in 1783. A thousand years ago Kiev was the centre of the Kiev Rus, "Mother of all Russian cities" and the Russians had had control over the territory on and off in history, while the Poles and the Austrian Habsburg emperors had also ruled over Ukraine.
        The conflict in Ukraine can be characterised by the surge of Ukrainian nationalism versus secessionism harboured by ethnic Russians in the East and South. What is dangerous about it is that it has become a tug of war between Russia and the West.

        March 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • igor fedotov

        Jere, here is some historical info. for you regarding Crimea. Not for discussion, it is just FYI only
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Crimea

        March 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jim from BC

      The Crimea was Russian territory for a long time, but has never really been an integral part of russia. Until the end of WWII, the crimea was mostly inhabited by the tatars, a mostly-muslim ethnic minority. After the war they were ethnically cleansed and forcibly moved to central asia and the island was resettled with russians. The only reason the crimea is "russian" today is as a result of genocide.

      March 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Reply
      • Rachel

        Be that as it may, the people who live there now, today,. are Russian. Wouldn't it be the most peaceful solution to allow them to secede?

        March 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
      • caaps02

        This is in reply to Rachel: the 2001 census showed the ethnic russian pop. of Crimea to be just over 58%. The rest of the pop. was mainly ukrainian and tatar. But given russian death rates and tatar birth rates, and the passage of 13 years, I suspect that the current russian majority is closer to 50% than to 60%.

        There is no doubt that there is a vociforously pro-Russian population in Sevastopol. Sevastopol was one of the nicest (if not THE nicest) places to live in the USSR. "Propiski" for Sevastopol were given out to the most loyal servants of the USSR after the ethnic cleansing of the tatars (hence the portraits of Stalin that may be seen at some of the pro-russian demonstrations). What the rest of the peninsula might think is anybody's guess (although the tatars have made their allegiances pretty clear). Since the fall of the USSR, Crimea, like much of eastern Ukraine (and Russia) has been run sort of like a mafia fiefdom- dissent not welcome or allowed.

        March 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Danro

    Russian troops are already on the ground, last time I read there was going to be a bill in the Duma that would speed up the expansion of Russian territory and Putin will not put on all of this show just to back off. What I believe will happen in Crimea will be that the Crimean local government ( it is an autonomous region within Ukriane now) will declare independence from Ukraine. Then it will ask to join Russia and of course Putin in his great kindness (sarcasm) will allow the Crimea to join mother Russia.
    The real worry for me is how far will Putin push his luck. Will he go for western Ukraine as well? There is also the unfinished matter of Transdnestr next door in Moldova. Moldova being the poorest country in Europe, would be an easy win.
    Also just to play devils's advocate here a little. What's so bad in losing the Crimea? If Russia annexes the Crimea, Ukraine will be pushed further in the west. Svestapol will no longer be a hinderence for Ukraine to join NATO. Additionally for Russia this could be a big miscalculation in that it will send a message to the other countries bordering Russia. Other countries such as Khazakstan and Azerbaijan will see despite being "brothers" Russia will still do what is in the best interests of Russia including annexing land from neighbors. So this loss for Ukraine could actually be a big loss for Russia in the long run. I think we should not help Putin build the means by which he will topple himself. We should stay out of this and let the Ukranians and Russia sort it out because in the end the Russia is playing a losing game.

    February 28, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • Rachel

      Exactly! I don't understand why the West and the interim PM keep saying the secession is a non-starter.

      February 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Reply
      • Danro

        Because any country would want to keep whatever land they have. Also the Budapest Memorandum, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570335/Former-British-Ambassador-Moscow-warns-Russia-invaded-Ukraine-difficult-avoid-going-war.html, means Russia and US is committed to keeping the integrity of Ukraine.

        March 1, 2014 at 7:45 am |
    • Roma

      You are disinfo garbage. All Soviet people are friends. Stop brainwashing the public.

      March 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
      • Nathalie K

        Roma , what the heck are you talking about? all soviets people are friends... we were forced "to be friends" with russians since 1917... lenin and his sick russian communist empire annexed slowly everyone and everything... baltic lands, West Ukraine , cut off from Poland , Romania... peace by peace... all nations and all kind of minorities were forced in school years and generations to learn russian language , which makes me vomit now when i hear it while i see what they do in Ukraine... and Crimea was not russian , it belong to turks and tatars ... learn the history ... ! Ukrainian people dont want to be with russia, never wanted ... and if you see that "majority" of people in Crimea say: we want to be with russia – thats paid russian extremists ... they have no live TV, they dont see what world says about putin, and results of his actions...they hate gay people and put them in jail just cuz they are gay ... they have once channel there Crimean TV, that is controlled by putins' friends – russian oligarchs ... and i am very disappointed with Fareed inviting only experts on Russain history , not Ukrainian history ... russians always made and will make history they want to present to the world ... Secondly : there will be no fare referendum , everything is already decided... just wait when putin will knock on your door and say: Alaska was Russian before ! what the hell will you say then ! or maybe you will sell it to russia to cover the debts you owe russians... US and EU has to stop this devil putin, he can notto do what he wants !

        March 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
  3. Dr. Malcolm Davis

    As much as I have respect for Mr. Zakaria, I think that the facts are evident...the Russians are already in the Crimea and controlling key sites – the airports, the ports, government buildings, etc. There are Russian APCs on the streets. There are Russian landing ships in the harbour. There are Russian fighters patrolling the borders. There are Russian land forces conducting large-scale exercises just across the border – so convenient for when they do decide to move into Ukraine. Russia is overtly encouraging separatism. Its a fait accompli – the sooner the West wakes up to what's really happening, the sooner we can get down to analysing the 'so what' issues – how will this affect relations with the West. That to me is the key issue which no one is really grappling with because we are wasting time with the spin coming out of Moscow that Russia has no plans to intervene, along with the equivocating from the West about whether Russian men in army uniforms carrying Russian military weapons are in fact Russian soldiers. Its happening now...no maybes...now!

    February 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Reply
    • CountMackula

      Regardless, the majority of the people living in Crimea are Russian
      even without anyone landing. They're either Russian citizens working/living or Crimeans with Russian ancestors that are proud of their Russian lineage.

      So it's not like Russia really needs to send a whole lot over there, they already love Russia there.

      Many of the Crimean politicians apparently, according to some reports, are pro Russia too and they are autonomous, so, where's there really a need to take over the government building?

      The people in the streets, where there actually IS protesting are holding Russian flags already.

      So why would Russia really need to send much more than the minimum necessary to protect military installations or at most help keep large rogue militant groups (if there even are any, who knows) from running around the region causing stirs..?

      Not saying Im right, I just enjoy debating and trying to throw ideas out to get people to consider multiple perspective and also I've been to Crimea even if only a small amount of times, there's some good people and culture there.

      As for the border exercises, if HYPOTHETICALLY some beef was goin down in Mexico right near the border with risk of spilling over or in some country the U.S. has some base in, don't you think the U.S. or any country for that matter would put their guys "on alert" and maybe run some exercises to make sure the machine is oiled and prepared?
      Seems like any country would do that and reasonable tactic of a military, why is it different because of Russia or the history?

      Just playin devil's advocate. I won't be offended by a rebuttal.

      March 1, 2014 at 12:37 am | Reply
  4. CountMackula

    Crimea is full of farmable land, beauty, luxury vacationing and as mentioned, strategically located for Black Sea naval.

    You just don't hand that over if you can help it.. if the new Govt was smart they'd "sell" Crimea to Russia for $35 billion which is their exact debt.. or more if it's worth more to actually have some revenue to work with.. since the region basically is highly Russian already..seems like it would work out somewhat reasonably

    Maybe set up an autonomy deal where Ukranians can still vacation there with ease or no visa if they want

    the fighting to me is a distraction to the financial problems they're facing.

    My 2 cents:
    I've been to Crimea. Simferopol twice and Yalta once. There are a lot of great, interesting people so I can understand why Ukraine doesn't want to lose that culture

    March 1, 2014 at 12:14 am | Reply
  5. Anon

    Already happening you liberal idiots.

    March 1, 2014 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Billybob

      "liberal idiots." Redundancy!!

      March 1, 2014 at 2:51 am | Reply
  6. Ferhat Balkan

    It's funny how people argue about who the majority is and who the lands should belong to.. Crimea was annexed to Russia back in 1783, before then it belong to the Tatars which was a sovereign state. The Russians deported the Tatars in 1944 to Central Asia during which more than 35% of those being deported died en-route. Their places were taken by Russian immigrants. And now, because Crimea is inhabited by mostly Russian speaking people it belongs to Russia? You have to be joking! Russia has a long history of ethnic cleansing. One often wonders why so many of the local Muslim population hates the Russians... Ask the Chechens, the Abkhazians, the Dagestanis or the Circassians. Look up "The Sochi Massacre". If the Ukrainians are smart, they'll hold on to Crimea and never give it to the Russians.

    March 1, 2014 at 2:04 am | Reply
    • Ivan

      So, by your logic it belongs to Tatars, not the Ukrainians either.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • Martian

        Yes, Ivan(John) Its belong to Tatars plus some Brits ...

        March 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
  7. Jack

    Can someone inform Fareed and CNN that the invasion has already commenced!!

    March 1, 2014 at 2:11 am | Reply
    • Billybob

      HA! HA! HA! this screed was posted at 6:30 PM the 28th, the Russians were already bedding down for the night in their new Crimean B&Bs by that time!

      March 1, 2014 at 2:49 am | Reply
  8. Matt

    Loom at the positive if it was 25 years ago and Russia just invaded Europe (Ukraine is part of Europe and Crimea is part of Ukraine) we would all be dead by now. The beget vs the 125mm decision maker. Yeah EU you can manage your own affairs.

    March 1, 2014 at 2:37 am | Reply
  9. Billybob

    "Well, first, I very much doubt they will invade because..".It's not Fareed's fault he didn't know that when he was saying this Russians were swarming all over the Crimea and had been for hours with video posted all of the internet of it happening! It is the fault of the idiot that Fareed Zakaria happened to be plagiarizing at that moment!!!!!!

    CNN as an organization as sunk just about as low as they can go, I'll bet Ted Turner get's sick every time he sees it as he's going through and airport!

    March 1, 2014 at 2:47 am | Reply
  10. No Mr.Obama

    No, now Mr.Obama cannot tell Russia what to do, because of US involvment in the Middle East and 'US-S.Korea military collaboration'.

    March 1, 2014 at 8:18 am | Reply
  11. Rachel

    Does the US still have war ships in the Black Sea? Remember, they were dispatched (at least publicly) in case American athletes needed to be evacuated from Sochi. I'm curious as to whether those assets are still there.

    March 1, 2014 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Danro

      Hi Rachel, I guess can provide a response. I don't know but it really is not that important because the exit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean is through the Bospherous (Istanbul) and Dardenelles which is controlled by Turkey with is a NATO member along with Bulgaria and Romania which are on the Black Sea. So the US has a lock down on that area.

      March 1, 2014 at 11:54 am | Reply
  12. BobRoss

    Looks like Zakaria needs to reevaluate his predictions..

    March 1, 2014 at 11:56 am | Reply
  13. Ruby

    Well Mr. Zakaria, it seems that when you are not suspended for plagerizing, you must be looking for advice from Jimmy Carter.

    March 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Reply
    • caaps02

      Yep. I find that 90% of these talking heads (always the same suspects) who go on and on with their "fearless forecasts" do not know what they are talking about.

      March 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  14. der

    I don't believe there is much any country can do anymore to stop another. We could create another Korean war by occupying Kiev, but that would quickly escalate to WW lll. We all lose. This could be serious – no facebook.

    March 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  15. george

    I can understand the USA desire to hold on whole Ukraine and not allowing Crimea to become independent . What I can not understand is why USA doesn't apply the same principles with Kosovo, Jugoslavija, Libya , Syria, Jemen etc etc ? Either you have principles or you don't have them that is how I have been brought up

    March 1, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • Rachel

      Because no solution is one-size-fits-all. All of these countries had different populations, different political environments, and in many cases, all of the world leaders were different as well. You can't generalize and say that what worked in one country will work in all countries. Yes, we often base our actions in the present on precedents set in the past, but we also learn from mistakes and errors and hope to do better in future crises based on lessons learned.

      March 1, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • caaps02

      What are you talking about "the USA holding on to the whole of Ukraine". The USA is not "holding on" to any part of it.

      The US did, however, in 1994, sign an international agreement (together with the UK and ironically, Russia), agreeing to safeguard the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The US made this commitment in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. The US therefore has a legal obligation to at least protest the invasion of Ukraine by foreign troops.

      March 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  16. markjuliansmith

    Zakaria: Russia unlikely to invade Crimea region – Russia had invaded within hours of knowing their man was no longer in power.

    March 2, 2014 at 1:36 am | Reply
  17. Reddog07

    With the fall of Kiev last week and into the hands of the west, it's pure revenge by Russia. I live in Slovakia a former communist state and now E.U. member that borders on Ukraine. People are worried here... they know what can happen next.

    March 2, 2014 at 4:06 am | Reply
  18. Ainura

    Mr. Zakaria on CNN you mentioned that Crimea was once part of one big unhappy country? What is the source of such statement? Did you ever live in that unhappy country? NO, you NEVER did, We'll I did and I say your information given publicly is very much wrong! How can people trust you after such faulty statement

    March 2, 2014 at 10:19 am | Reply
  19. tula

    Why are you still using Steven Cohen as an "expert" on Ukraine. He is a pro-Russian, pro-Soviet shill who was against Ukrainian independence in 1991, and has continued spouting such vile disrespectful opinions about the Ukrainian nation.

    March 2, 2014 at 10:47 am | Reply
  20. Ainura

    Madam Albright , when asked by Mr. Zakaria about Kosovo parallel, you said that the situation in Crimea is absolutely different as this was due to disintegration of Yugoslavia, this is misleading statement, let me remind you history, Yugoslavia was federative state of which Serbia was one of six federative republics, while Kosovo was just part of Serbia, and yet NATO bombed independent country of Serbia in favor of minority in Kosovo without UN mandate, so in other words it was act of military aggression, then Kosovo proclaimed independence......

    The similarity is quite obvious, one need to be completely idiot not to understand, this is what ms. Albright want others to be.

    So mr Putin just exercises same scenario written 15 years ago, so why the NATO is so upset?!

    March 2, 2014 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Danro

      In Kosovo, the Kosovars,( Muslims) were being killed by the Serbians. The Serbs resented that there were Muslims living in what they considered one of their most sacred national site( a place were Serbs lost a battle against ottomans). NATO intervened to stop a massacre. In Crimea there is no war being waged by Ukranians against Russians. Yes, there are political parties that border on fascism and laws were passed and then repealed against Russian as a second language. But that is no reason to use the military, this can and should be resolved without war. There should be another way. Many people understand Crimea and its history and what it means to Russia, but I think the difference is that this issue can be solved other ways.

      March 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Reply
      • Ainura

        Darno do you want that blood spills before you understand the whole picture? Will it help you to see similarity?

        Mr Putin just showing to the world the double standards of the West

        Amnesty International released a report which stated that NATO forces had deliberately targeted a civilian object(NATO bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters), and had bombed targets at which civilians were certain to be killed.[121][122] The report was rejected by NATO as "baseless and ill-founded". A week before the report was released, Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had told the United Nations Security Council that her investigation into NATO actions found no basis for charging NATO or its leaders with war crimes.[123]

        March 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Ainura

        To be completely fair for both Ukrainians and Russians in whole Ukraine, referendum is needed In which East pro-Russian Ukraine will probably vote for integration with Russia, how about that ? Peaceful solution. Will democratic West accept this? What Is shown on BBC and CNN is not completely true, they don't show thousands people protest in the other big cities in eastern Ukraine against new neo nazi government in Kiev, quite for you – is it done deliberately or unknowingly ?

        March 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  21. Ivan

    Maybe, people should read this also:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26367786

    March 2, 2014 at 11:45 am | Reply
  22. Dr Rob Lee

    Game over Ukraine. Obama neutered the US to fulfill his America-hating father's dream of taking us down many notches as punishment for our past evil arrogance. He sat silently in tacit agreement as his reverend Wright preached after 9/11 that "America's chickens have finally come home to roost". He was awarded the Nobel "peace" medal way in advance by far-left Europe who were happy to see America finally cut down to size. We are no longer a superpower headed by a true leader or statesmen. Our military has just been cut to below WWII levels. Expect empty words from Obama & Kerry as they create a vacuum about to be filled by neo-Soviet dictator Putin, China, the ayatollahs & that lunatic in N. Korea. Our days of world leadership are far behind us. Our allies respect nor trust us nor do our enemies fear us. Haters of democracy, like Putin & the ayatollahs, laugh out loud & spit in our faces as we spew empty condemnations & threats. For lovers & believers in freedom here in America who sadly watch as your brief encounter with democracy disintegrates in the shadow of Russian guns we send you our condolences. We wanted change and we sure got it...Big Time.

    March 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Reply
    • Roma

      Ha-ha-ha-ha – neo-Soviet dictator Putin
      Ha-ha-ha-ha

      March 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  23. Warrenroosevelt

    Zakaria do you care to retract your prediction that Russia won't invade? Their forces are controlling the city? Wow

    March 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  24. David Johnson

    My take is that president Putin will want to annex the eastern part in the next several days.
    And all that follows will be a set back for the civilized world, as many have noted.
    However there is a way out. Allow the eastern Russian dominated regions of Ukraine
    to have a referendum, in 90 days. A referendum that would allow the majority to vote
    as to whether they want to be Russian or Ukraine. Internationally supervised.
    If some eastern regions were to choose to join Russia a compensation package could be
    developed. And those people that are left on the wrong side, could be provided with a means to
    situate in the alternate state. The Russians will have their way on this matter, we all know this
    and it is not worth world war III. I think not, remember it is one man and his group that has caused
    this crisis. There are bigger issues at stake. WE Collectively should find a way out of this situation,
    especially now that we know what we are dealing with in the form of a Russian leader.

    March 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  25. yves

    Fareed you are wrong this time, Russia has arguably a geo-strategic interest in annexing crimea and it is a defacto part of russia.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:14 am | Reply
  26. Erika

    Basically Fareed was incorrect in his forecast that Russian would not invade. At this point, with Putin so volatile the better questions we need to ask ourselves are: what isn't he willing to do at this stage to bring back the Iron Curtain down? He loathes the West and he really does have a Stalin-Napoleon-Rasputin-Adolf chip on his shoulder. Between Putin's grab for power and North Korea's missiles going off there are two very dangerous mad men in the world. It's a matter of time before one of them goes off the deep end and escalates the situation to gain a foothold in a perceived War against the West.

    March 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Reply
  27. Dan Cahalan

    Fareed Zakaria,
    You were a joke when you wrote that the only economic sanctions should be "ones targeted specifically at individuals who could be held responsible..." What might those be? Economic sanctions should have teeth. Moral countries should stop absolutely ALL economic dealings with Russia unless it stops military intervention.

    March 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  28. Ned

    Fareed Zakaria,
    You talk about territorial integrity but the problem you and the west have is this, its selective memory. Where was territorial integrity about about Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, everybody was for violating international law then. And if you could please answer one question. If the Albanians where able secede Kosovo from Yugoslavia, then in turn following the precedent that was set, the crimeans should be able to secede, I do not see a problem with self determination

    March 5, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Reply
  29. citizen

    The Ukraine should sell The Crimean Peninsula to Russia for the Ukrainian national debt. If they refuse the West should set in place Iran type santions against Russia.
    Let the Ukraine become a neutral state like Switzerland and park the extra 1000 tanks the US has built on its western border.

    March 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  30. David Johnson

    Russia could certainly make the case that their concerns were legitimate if the Crimea and the eastern regions
    voted to annex to Russia, but, and this is a important reservation, if the West does not view the elections
    and voting as impartial and representative, the Russian people will pay a price for generations to come!

    Out wish should be .. Please! Hold off on the Crimea voting next week, instead put together a larger
    regional referendum on the issues at hand, with safe guards and all the usual controls the I.C. has developed

    Russia can insist that the eastern regions are included, those with ones with provable large Russian
    populations and are near Russia proper. Both points of view must be honored, both have elements of truth.

    This only works if the voting is internationally supervised, and no 'monkey business' otherwise we can mark this
    period as the official beginning of the 'slippery slope' to World War III.

    An open and free vote by those concerned! If such a thing could be made to happen and if every one agreed to accept
    the results then and only then do we as a world community have a chance to put this behind us and try to move forward.

    David Johnson
    3/9/14

    March 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Reply
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