March 2nd, 2014
01:44 PM ET

How U.S. should respond to Russia

By Fareed Zakaria

In a strange act of historical coincidence, it is 60 years ago this week that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed the Crimea over to the Ukraine. It might not have seemed a big deal in those days – everyone was part of one big, unhappy Soviet Union. But that act has created today’s geopolitical crisis.

Russia has now made its move. It has essentially detached Crimea from the Ukrainian government’s control. What remains unclear is what Vladimir Putin wants to do with it. Incorporate it into Russia? Use it as leverage to negotiate a deal with Ukraine? Both?

In any event, Washington’s response should be clear and forceful. Russia has violated all kinds of laws and norms, including most crucially, a treaty that it signed with Ukraine guaranteeing that country’s borders, in return for which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons.

For Washington, for Americans, for people around the world, it would be a terrible precedent to allow issues like this to be resolved not through diplomacy, but by force. If Russia could detach parts of neighboring countries with impunity, won’t other great powers like China decide that they too can act in such ways?

So what can be done? Well, for starters President Obama should cancel entirely his attendenace at the G-8 summit to be held in Sochi in June. He should try to persuade the other major powers to follow suit. Russia’s membership in the G-8 should be suspended. Remember,  the G-8 was created to recognize that post-Soviet Russia was behaving like an honorable member of the international community, not a rogue state . If the behavior has changed, Russia’s status should also change.

Militarily there is less that can be done. After all, Russia’s military budget is about 18 times that of Ukraine. But NATO should restart talks on providing assurances to countries like Poland – including perhaps building the missile defense system that was abandoned.

In economic terms, Washington and the EU should consider the only sanctions that would be effective: ones targeted specifically at individuals who could be held responsible for these acts of aggression against Ukraine.

Washington cannot do much to stop Vladimir Putin as he creates facts on the ground in Crimea. But step back and consider what a strategic disaster this is for him. Ukraine has slipped out of his orbit and most of the population there is going to be hostile to Russia for generations. Countries like Poland that had eased up relations with Moscow will now view it with great suspicion. All European countries will put their relations with Russia under review. Even China will surely oppose the brazen violation of national sovereignty, something Beijing is always concerned about. Within Russia people have seen that Putin is terrified of a democracy movement and will brutally oppose it, not really the image he wants to present.

So Putin gets Crimea, which is only 60 percent Russian. Parts of it will be deeply hostile to this Russian takeover – including the population of Crimean Tartars, who are Muslim and getting radicalized. Remember, Crimea is in the Northern Caucasus, the area where Russia has been battling a ferocious Muslim insurgency.

So even as he lines up one more piece – or half piece – on his chessboard, Putin will find that the price he has paid for it will be quite high.

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take • Russia • Ukraine

soundoff (1,638 Responses)
  1. Mayday

    CNN behaves as owner of the arms factory. Or wants to harm the U.S.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  2. Jonny Zuhalter

    What Zakaria noticeably omits are the billions and billions of dollars worth of Russian investments in the EU and its stranglehold of natural gas exported to western Europe. Zakaria likes to boil everything down to psychological games of politics, but this is mostly about leverage of resources. As much as Europe may despise and distrust Russia after this, it will not matter because it will end up working to Putin's advantage. In the end, the EU and the rest of Europe, will do nothing. Russia has rapidly become to the EU, what China is becoming to the U.S. What we know of as "Russia" today, is a mere re-branding and restructuring of the old Soviet Union, and it's time has now come.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  3. Gary

    Oh my, I am so convinced that all of you idiot Americans need to have your head examined. One attacks the Conservatives, one attacks the Liberals and what do you achieve, sweet bugger all. You haven't the foggiest notion of the rest of the world, only yourselves. You can't fix stupid.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  4. David Metz

    While reading this article I stumbled across this phrase "...Crimea is in the Northern Caucasus, the area where Russia has been battling a ferocious Muslim insurgency…", and that was enough for me.

    Please, please – before writing your next blurp on international topics look at the map, and see where Crimea and Northern Caucasus are.
    No wander that CNN is loosing credibility – some people cannot even read the map!!! What a shame CNN, and you want us to take this clown seriously.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  5. Challenger

    In my opinion guys, I know the truth. First of all, like the Earth turns around the Sun the whole world revolves around wealth and money. There are a lot of natural resources in huge and powerful Russia. Second, nor EU(actually EU is nothing without USA in military aspect against Russia) neither US want the existence of Russia because Russia and USSR were and is the other side of the bipolar world. I think, that it is not good when one country tries to judge on its own and dictate its interests everywere in the world even if it is the USA (it's could be a backlash, and it happened in Irak and other countries, where US invaded by using its army; the threat of the terrorism from Middle East became even more after that). It is clear for me, that Russia prevents the USA to take control over the world. In 1991 USSR collapsed, but Russia remained, and it is still the richest and the biggest country in the world. I am not stating that US need Russian natural resources, but US and EU want to divide Russia, and Russia resists. In 1992 Georgia sent troops in Abkhazia, and lot of people were killed there. Russia "lost" Georgia, and because of fact that Georgia tried to take control over South Osetia using military force, in 2008 Russia sent troops in Abkhazia and South Osetia to protect its citizens. Majority of people who lived there asked for help to Russia. These still are unstable zones because of the confrontation beetween West and Russia. Same thing is happening now in Ukraine. Russia is loosing Ukraine, but keeps control over strategic region. Russia tries to protect its nation and people. Today, everything that has place to be in Ukraine is a provocation which comes from the USA and the West because USA wants to be a sole ruler in the world and get all benefits. Presidents, prime ministers of powerful countries dispose of our destinies and lives and do not pay attention on our wants and needs. We, peaceful citizens do not want war and want to live in a peaceful world. Why don't USA and Russia become friends (they were friends and fought against fashism). If so, it would be easier to unite the entire world and live under peaceful sky.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • John MCDoo

      South Osetia and Abhasia belonged to Georgia. Georgia sent the troops to prevent the take over of that region by Russians. According to your thinking, we should wait until Russia will try to help its Russian natives living in Alaska? It's not far off. On the other hand, lots of Russian regions bordering China have a heavy Chinese presence. Perhaps, we should wait until Chinese will try to liberate that part of Russia? Oh, and there are about 1 million of former Russians living in Israel. Is it OK for Russia to take over Israel under the same pretense? Think, before you say another word.

      March 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • Challenger

        First of all, Abkhazia was a separate country before USSR. Stalin(native Georgian) gave Abkhazia to Georgia as an autonomy. Second, Georgia cannot protect nor itself, neither someone else. Third, you ought to read more and think more and then you'll know that no Russians(majority of) live in Alaska, nor in China or Israel, and Georgia and Ukraine were part of USSR, Russian empire. Fourth, do not mix up everything.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • MyBiz

        The point is: Stalin gave it to Georgia. Period. Khruschev gave Crimea to Ukraine. Period. And, the point that was being made... You only need a precedent, and even just one person living in a particular contry to stake a claim that you are protecting someone. Just invade and conquer. By the way, I have been to Alaska a number of times. There are Russians living there too, descendants of those who lived on that land when it belonged to tsarist Russia. There are also some of those that emigrated before USSR split up and after. Some still have Russian citizenship, along with the American one.The po

        March 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
  6. William

    THE U.S. SHOULD STAY OUT OF IT, PERIOD.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  7. Thomas Stone

    How should the US respond? I don't know, how about the same way the world has responded to "us" the US when we invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, parts of Pakistan, Libya, etc!!! How about the way we are based in MANY countries around the world? I totally can't wait for the older generations to get a clue or go away peacefully into the night.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Bill Northrop

      In a symbolic sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian People, President Obama took the unusual initiative to rolled up his shirt sleeves and ask other members of his senior staff and Congress to do the same.

      Sources close to former President Bush said his response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have been to ask all members of Nato and all The European Union leaders to shed theirs ties and pins for a week.

      In other parts of the world Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now feels he has the green light to again use gas against the rebels .... and the people of Taiwan are counting the days till China takes over their country.

      Meanwhile people in the finical markets are talking about the expensive dresses being worn at the Academy Awards last night and how the program impacted Twitter.

      Bill

      March 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Patricia

      The world reacted very differently to the US when we "invaded" Afghanistan, as opposed to Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan, many other nations joined the US in sending troops in recognition of the fact that Al-Qaeda used Afghanistan as it's training ground. That was our initial reason, and the reason that many other nations joined us in sending troops to Afghanistan.

      Iraq was a different story. Only the British supported the U.S. contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the US and other nations. In the end, Tony Blair was ousted as Prime Minister because of his support of the war in Iraq. The entire United Nations was against the United States, with the exception of the British, and, of course, we have since learned that the so called intelligence that supported the war in Iraq was cherry picked and fed to us by our then Vice President, Dick Cheney.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • Victor

      So far there is no indication of Russian invasion to Crimea what so ever, as well as no so called "ultimatum to Ukrainian fleet" Ukraine keeps talking about 6000 soldiers in the area for about a week, they are not uniformed and speak Russian which is old news and nothing happened since. To get a parliament’s permission does not mean to use it right away. That situation reminds the novel of Jack London when a Mexican boy fought against a champion and started to bit him up, the champion's corner and a corrupted referee decided to fake a "hit below the belt" the Mexican boy over heard their whisper and just imitated the body punch, immediately the opposite corner shouted "below the belt, below the belt!!!!!" as there was not any punch at all, the audience figured out every thing and started to laugh and whistle. So the US government should wait for the “punch” and than act accordingly, other wise it put itself to the position of that “opposite corner”.

      March 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  8. Alex Miadelets

    Crimea is in the Northern Caucasus??? Fareed – you should really have had a look at a MAP before you wrote this article...

    March 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • M.

      I think he meant The Causasus, as in the region, not the mountain range.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Reply
      • Mr. Roach

        No one in the history of the world has described Crimea as part of the Caucuses until now.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • Ken Currie

        Even that would be incorrect, unless you want to consider Ukraine part of the Caucasus, and no one has ever asserted that. The Ukrainians have never claimed that and are quite specific in terms of what they include in the Caucasus, and that doesn't include Crimea. Sounds like some of us need to brush up on our geography.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  9. recon54

    We should press the reset button. Oh wait.

    I know!

    We should now exercise the post-election flexibility that we now have. Oh wait.

    I got nothin'.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  10. drew

    Stay out, Let's let the EU stand-up for once. They want us out of EU business. let them stand-up spend money and work it out. Russia has leased land till 2046. The US will stand by our close friend Romania.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • Elena

      " The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine." ////////Ukraine. Memorandum on Security Assurances//// http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ukraine._Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances

      March 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • SnakePlissken

      Problem is – the only European nation with money and military enough to do anything is .... Germany.
      Can't have Russia vs. Germany again, now can we?

      March 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Reflecto

        Maybe this time they'll remember to bring winter clothing and to cut off the oil fields before heading to Moscow.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
  11. george hamilton

    We hear a lot of bravado out of the White House and very little thinking. OK, Russia puts troops in Crimea. They have a significant number of assets there in the form of Naval and other military bases. The concern they have is that like the break up of the old Soviet Union they will lose those assets. But the way they are doing it is clearly wrong
    But, Mr. President, think before you talk. So far your lines in the sand, your economic sanctions, your allies who never really step up to the plate, and your international diplomacy is shameful. You can threaten someone with a big stick, but if they know you will never use it, then it means nothing. And the big stick other countries say they will use are nothing more than talk. Few if any put their men and women in harms way or pay the bills for military action.
    And, think about the space station. The only way up there is on Russian rockets. Yes, you cut the funds to NASA so that we are left with no way up there in the forseeable future. How did that work out?
    Sec of State Kerry is clueless in handling this situation. Sure, fly to Kiev and talk talk talk. But if that talk is nothing more than threatening Putin or name calling it just makes the situation worse. Putin has the upper hand, for now. He knows we and our so called allies will not use military force, and the economic sanctions are hard to enforce. Even our so-called allies have skirted around economic sanctions with Iran and North Korea. Money talks and BS walks.
    What if Cuba decided to take back Guantanomo? Would we not send troops to protect it from take-over? Or how about our bases in the Mideast ? I am not saying Russia did the right thing, but that area was all part of the USSR and the bases that are in Crimea were theirs and still are by treaty and lease. With such a large part of the Black Sea fleet there, it is no wonder they are worried about the outster of the leader and no clear cut government. Fear of the unknown is a driving force to use force.
    But, stick our nose in every conflict, rebellion, or take-over is wrong. We are not the world's policeman. It is about time our allies step up to the plate to lead not follow. Match our forces, or sanctions, and our bravado man for man and then things will happen. But we all know how the EU has never done so in full force.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  12. Finn

    It IS NOT our business, so bo should butt out before he screws up something else and costs more lives.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      If we allow Russia to merely take over territories in countries that have sovereignty, it sets a very bad precedent. Sooner or later, it would become our business, whether or not we like it.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Reply
      • Rembrant

        If "WE" allow... WE? Who are we to say what is allowed and not allowed? This is the problem with America: we are so arrogant to think WE should do something about everything that happens around the globe. WE have nothing to do with any of this. WE are not the world's policeman.

        March 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  13. john

    The USA (order wise known as The World Police), UK and France are putting the blame on Russia invading Ukraine; I think it's not fair to put all the blame on Russia because if the truth being told, it was actually the US and some Western Countries that provoke Russia to intervene in Ukraine. I hear how the US and some western countries still trying to provoke Russia by treating Economy sanctions and to vote them out from G8, but the Russians don't care. The Soviet don't talk, they put their words in actions and like the USA, UK and France .
    If they continue to provoke Russia, by trying to destroying the Russia Economy, it may sound like a joke, but the result may lead to A 3rd World War which the world is not ready for, Russia are not those smaller countries you treating, they are also A World Power with Nuclear Weapon
    when will the whole stop the United State from trying to control the World, the US does not respect the sovereignty of any country, Only them has the Right to go into any country and kill, change Government using the CIA and their embassies round the world. Let the USA, UK and France step back and let the brilliant Government resolve this matter, like the Germans.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      "the US does not respect the sovereignty of any country"

      Ironically, this is the opposite case. In this case, it is Russia who is not respecting the sovereignty of the Ukraine, not the US.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Really?

      Maybe you should fix your grammar and punctuation problems, then start worrying about geopolitical issues.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      • Really?

        What are you an English teacher? Read for content,, Obviously English is this persons second language.. I appreciate other people’s perspectives.

        I believe the USA has an agenda in other countries that involves controlling oil field contracts and corporate/economic interests not human rights. At the core of our foreign policy that is our strategy, human rights barely even ranks in American interests.. There are obscene human rights violations going on all over the world that the US doesn’t give a second thought.

        March 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Dave in IL

    Doesn't Obama have to draw a red line first?

    March 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  15. Inna

    First of all, Mr. Zakaria needs to learn Geography (same applies to majority of US and European leaders): Crimea IS NOT the Northern Caucasus – it is a peninsula separated from Russian land by the Kerch golf !
    And second: what Mr. Zakaria told above could be true (at some point, though..) if current Ukrainian government will be legitimate. But it gained power through the upraising, so why Western leaders didn't condemned that fact ?!

    March 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • Perez

      Kerch golf? That was Kerch soccer actually!

      March 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • gliderbee

      Don't you love all these Russians posting here, pretending to speak good English? And why all the flack about the North Caucasus. If you LOOK at a map, Crimea is just to the west of what they call the North Caucasus. It could still be considered in that area. I would think Fareed knows a bit more than all of you about history, geography, and international affairs. After all, where's your CNN show?

      March 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • Marina

        No need to insult people...... Unless you have nothing better to say. At least they attempt to speak other languages. And why you think they pretending to speak good English???? Nonsense...

        March 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
      • Challenger

        Speaking good English has nothing to do with this issue. If you want to speak good English, then move to London and learn British.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
  16. sly

    President Obama stood up to Syria, Russia and the Republicans, and forced the end of chemical warfare in Syria.
    He stood up to Iran, and ended their nuclear program.

    Every move this President has made has been a success – just ask the Republicans who went to battle with him and were decimated, eliminating their party for 20-30 years. They've lost EVERY SINGLE battle (health care, gay marriage, deficit reduction).

    Our President will make the right move here: use sanctions and diplomacy with Russia's business partners to force a peaceful solution. The days of "BombEmBush" foreign policy is ancient history, thank you Lord Jesus!

    March 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • BeechFlyGuy

      Talk about drinking the kool aid! As they say, you are three sheets to the wind!

      March 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • seattlelibtard

      Really? Really? This has to be a sarcastic comment. Has to be.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Donoughe

      I'm stunned at your lack of insight on how the Obama administration has performed to date. They have wasted the advantage we had in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran is closer than ever to developing a nuclear bomb, and 130,000 have died in Syria as this administration wonders what to do. This administration's foreign policy has been a disaster from every angle that it is looked at.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • sly

      Always nice to hear from the "BombEmBush" crowd.

      I really missed y'all – since the TeaKKKlan meltdown, no Republicans have dared show their faces in America. Way to stand up for your ideals ... wait, I notice, like always, you have absolutely no ideas to offer, just criticism... Sounds like the ol Bush days ... (before y'all had shrunken down to 9% popularity in the polls).

      March 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Reply
      • savoy6

        sly, you can't keep blaming Bush... when does Obama get to assume responsibility for his disastrous administration?

        March 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • skarphace

        savoy6: disastrous? Tell me this: where is that depression you Teapublicans keep warning us is going to happen? Our recovery may not be as strong as previous recoveries, but it is a recovery nonetheless. And this is actually quite good considering the leaders of the Republican party stood up before Obama was even sworn in and said "Make Our President Fail."

        March 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • AdamSmith11

      Wow, you must be from Colorado cuz you are as high as a kite. Keep drinlkin the koolaid, my friend.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  17. CRG

    We can not risk nuclear war over Ukraine, but we and our allies need to put maximum pressure on Putin to find an equitable solution over the issue of Ukraine and the Crimea. Crimea is extremely important to the Russians for obvious reasons. It is in the best interests of the Russians and Ukrainians to reach common ground. As far as Kerry's comment about Russia invading another nation without provocation, he seems to forget that we did the same thing in Iraq. There is far too much saber rattling these days. One would think that we should have evolved beyond that by now.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Donoughe

      Actually we were provoked in Iraq. Saddam violated the terms of the cease fire from the gulf war continually. That negated the treaty and should have put the world back at war with Iraq. The Russians signed a treaty with Ukraine gaurenteeing their borders and have now violated them.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  18. jimvsmij

    If Russia negotiated with Ukraine that they would respect their borders in return for Ukraine giving up their nukes then why don't we just give them nukes again since Russia has broken the treaty?

    March 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • CRG

      I hope you're joking.

      March 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
      • Fritzzler

        I think he is right. The only reason we have not seen WWIII is mutually assured destruction.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
    • Marina

      You have to understand that the Treaty was signed with a legitimate government. Here, we are dealing with a group of usurps.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Reply
      • jimvsmij

        It still is a legitimate government. The President fled due to his crimes and the remaining government were forced to keep the government going.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
  19. Earl

    Taking the concentrated Russian population out of the Ukraine may be a blessing in disguise. That
    may make non-Russians the majority at the voting booth.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      However, the economic impact of losing the Crimea region would be a huge blow to the Ukraine as the eastern region is where most of the oil and gas profits come from. It would be like the US losing Texas.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  20. Robert

    So incompetent staff on CNN ? Funny.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • Marina

      Agree. Fareed is talking about Ukrainian government as it is actually a legitimate government, not a group of people who just overthrew a legitimate president and the government, and decided between each-other who is going to be a minister of what. And expect the rest of Ukraine to recognize them. Moreover, they absolutely ignore an agreement signed with Ukrainian President in front of representatives from Germany, France, and Russia.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • skarphace

        "a group of people who just overthrew a legitimate president and the government, and decided between each-other who is going to be a minister of what."

        This is how revolutions are done, and how new legitimate governments are formed. Is that not what the US did in 1776? This revolution would have been successful, as well, if it wasn't for Russian intervention. Until Russian intervention, the old leader was on the run.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
      • Marina

        To skarphace; "This is how revolutions are done, and how new legitimate governments are formed. Is that not what the US did in 1776? This revolution would have been successful, as well, if it wasn't for Russian intervention. Until Russian intervention, the old leader was on the run."
        May be, except for in this case, 3/4 of Ukrainian population is against this revolution. Yes, they did no like their president, but they don't like what is going on in Kiev now even more.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  21. John

    I am not so sure China will have a problem if Russia annexes the Crimea. China in general places greater emphasis on historical and cultural claims over a territory than on the status quo. It will be interesting to see if the Crimea is annexed without military repercussion from NATO, enboldens China in any way on how it deals with "territories" in the South China Sea.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  22. skarphace

    If I were POTUS, I would have told Putin outright that if he puts the Ukrainian government into a position where it asks the US for military intervention, then I would accept such a plea under the condition that Ukraine give permission for a US military base to be established in western Ukraine.

    I would also make sure that Putin understands that by violating the treaty with Ukraine, then the Ukraine would no longer be constrained by the treaty, which included the condition that they have no nuclear weapons. Ukraine would now be legally allowed to purchase such weapons from the US and others, as well as set up a missile defense system.

    This would be done in a private conversation with Putin, but I would make it extremely clear that the US stands to gain as much or more from Russian hostility than Russia does. Hopefully, that would serve as a large deterrent. Otherwise, I could be starting WWIII, which is probably why I should never be POTUS, and why I trust Obama to take the best action.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Why on earth would you give Nuclear Weapons technology to anyone. We are working to reduce the number of nukes. Ukraine is 60% Russian Nationalist anyways.

      March 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • skarphace

        That is why I phrased it the way I did. I did not say that the US should sell nuclear technology to the Ukraine. I merely said that I would make sure that Putin was aware that the treaty, in its entirety, would no longer be valid.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  23. Steve

    Crimea is strategically important to Russia for several reasons, mainly because the Naval base at Sevastopol allows access to the Black Sea. Allowing Russia to maintain control of that port could be a devastating blow to US and EU forces. Human-rights and international law aside, this Naval base is the single most important factor determining our involvement.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • Marina

      Russian Military and Naval bases been stationed in Crimea for 220 years. And by the way, Ukranian Army is joining people of Crimea against Kiev, so may be no Russian involvement would be necessary.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Reply
      • skarphace

        If Russia intends to take over the whole of Ukraine, the West will probably get involved militarily. Hopefully, Putin is well aware of this. If not, then we had better start working on our bunkers again.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • MyBiz

        Marinochka, do you believe everything that Russian propaganda machine tells you? Most of the Ukranians are holed up in their military bases in Crimea awaiting the morning attack and if during the storm of these bases shots are fired and blood is spilled, Russians will claim that the Ukranians started it. This confirms time and time again: Russian mentality has blinders and they will always need a Tsar to tell the what is happening around them.

        March 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • Richard

      Steve is right; but also – this is the "ONLY" warm water port that Russia has for its Navy, which makes it far more strategic than anyone has said thus far.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
      • Marina

        Richard, take a look at the map, please!!!! There way more Russian ports in Black See, that Sevastopol.... Didn't you just watched the Olympics? Sochi is one of the Black See ports.....

        March 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • MyBiz

        Richard, please, don't listen to Marinochka. She conveniently forgot the fact that Sochi, at some point, used to be a part of Georgia... And, Marina... "See" should be spelled as "sea" in the context of what you are writing... Never mind other mistakes that you have made in the sentence. Do me a favor, pick up some other literature and listen to other media than Channel One Russia.

        March 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
  24. Nophah Kingweigh

    It is forbidden for others to act on the global stage in a manner similar to the imperial USA! When will everyone learn to do as we say, not as we do?

    March 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • skarphace

      Name me the last sovereign territory that the US took over and made part of the US. If you look back far enough, you might be able to make the case for Hawaii, but that is quite a bit back. Did we make parts of Afghanistan US territory? Iraq? Libya? What exactly are you referring to here?

      March 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Reply
      • Marina

        Name me the last sovereign territory that the Russia took over and made part of the Russia???? Or you actually do look back?..... Who told, skarphace, that Russia is even going to take over Ukraine? Do you even know that more 150,000 people already crossed Russian border asking for help? Do you know that many of them were threatened and hurt?

        March 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
      • skarphace

        It seems to me that Russia is doing exactly that. They want all of Ukraine, at least with a puppet government that bows to them, but they will settle for Crimea. If I was placing a bet, I would bet that when the dust settles Crimea will be back in Russia's hands, but time will tell.

        March 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  25. Marina

    First of all, it is not 60, but 50 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Second, why Fareed is jumping ahead? As far as I know, Russian tanks are still in Russia. If Putin decides to go in, is only because the Government and people of Crimea asked him for that. Why Fareed is talking about two scenarios – Russia's taking over Crimea, and Russia's uses Crimea against Kiev...... Putin and the other Russian officials been telling that they are AGAINST Ukranian split. They all want for Ukraine to remain is it is now. Also, why there are double standards again? Why was it OK for NATO to go to Serbia, Irak, Afganistan, etc, but it is NOT OK for Russians to do the same? At least there is 2000 km boarder line between Russia and Ukrain, there are millions of Russians live in Ukraine, and people are racing Russian flags all over Ukraine. Moreover, Russia already involved in the conflict, as there are more than 150,000 refugees already crossed Russian border. I wonder who pays Fareed???

    March 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Actually it happened in 1954... Exactly 60 years ago. Check your facts Marina.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply
      • Marina

        Sorry, Steve, you are correct!

        March 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  26. NIN

    Zakaria should of wrote an article that lacks ideas. A better written article was written in Bloomberg in my point of view. What should we do? First exhaust all diplomatic/economic weapons we have at our disposal. Any kind of military action should be the last alternative, but I doubt it will go that far. I know a lot of us could care less of what happens in Ukraine and I agree it’s not our business, but we are the world only super power! As such we have the role to police the world when it serve our best interest. In this case Putin is not our friend nor will he play by the international rules. We need to punish him diplomatically/economically and isolate him from the world. If we don’t check him now he might take arms with other countries from the former USSR. US and EU have to take a hard stance on this issue and do all it must holding military action as last resort. War at this moment with US and EU economies under recovery would not be wise. And from reading comments about Palin or crazy nuts right wing lovers war should never be an option, I sure as hell would trust Palin’s finger over the red button. She might point to the wrong nation is asked where Ukraine was located, I’m sure she won’t be able to see it from Alaska.

    March 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Okoh

      NIN, if you think we (USA) is the world only military super power, think again or you are probably buying into the disinformation. There are now several great powers and Russia still remains a global super power militarily. It remains the only power at the moment that can militarily do damage to the US and its allies God forbid if that ever happens. We are not the only one with intercontinental ballistic missiles. Those calling for military action needs to be careful unless they are willing to be upfront first in the battle field. Read the words of Christopher Hill a well-respected U.S Diplomat and ambassador cautioning against trying to isolate a superpower (his words not mine). Great powers (including us) have always acted when it is in their best interest. Russia isn’t different in this case. Those trying to blame POTUS Obama should realize that under President Bush, Georgia lost parts of their territory too in a military action after we (US) “incited” them against Russia.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • MyBiz

        You have conveniently forgotten China. They have the largest military today and with 1.3 billions of population they are the biggest headache for Russia. Soon, Russia will be in the same boat, when China decides to help protect the rights of its natives, who had settled in the bordering towns on the Russian side of the far east. Chechoslovakia was taken over by Hitler just the same way. History does indeed repeat itself.

        March 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  27. Marina

    Russian Military and Naval bases been stationed in Crimea for 220 years. And by the way, Ukranian Army is joining people of Crimea against Kiev, so may be no Russian involvement would be necessary.

    March 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  28. Fritzzler

    They gave up their Nukes and this is the result. Take note Iran.

    March 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  29. bocajim

    EU will fold like a cheap deck of cards so perhaps getting kicked out of G8 will be the only punishment.

    March 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  30. savoy6

    Crimea is not in the Northern Caucasus, the Northern Caucuses are about 200 miles east of the Crimea..

    March 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Reply
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