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.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Russia • Ukraine

soundoff (1,638 Responses)
  1. cstahnke

    Back in the day I and others warned that if the U.S. violates international law with impunity (as it did particularly after 9/11 but before in other military and covert ops adentures) other countries would follow suit. To put it another way, there is no international law other than what comes out of the barrel of a gun–thanks, in part, to the Bush administration. Read sometime what Bush had to say about international law.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:41 am | Reply
  2. lagarto

    Didn't the U.S. set a precedence for this back in the 90's by bombing Serbia and forcing it to divest itself of Kosovo, which had historically been an integral part of Serbia for centuries.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • RIKI

      srbija je u hladnjačama odvozila ubijene albance u beograd,taj je pokolj trajao 10 godina, netko je morao stati na kraj tom boljševičkom instiktu za ubijanje, isto je bilo i sa muslimanima i hrvatima, srbi i rusi imaju ubilački gen

      March 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  3. Guest

    Does anyone else remember when Obama replied to Romney's statement that Russia was our biggest foreign policy concern by quipping, "The 1980s called and they want their foreign policy back."? It wasn't just lucky guessing by Romney. Honestly, Obama lemmings, it wasn't. Obama has proven too inept to follow through in Libya, sorry Stevens family. Obama is too cowardly to make any stand regarding Syria, a yellow-belly shouldn't draw red lines. And now, after Putin himself told Obama to be quiet and sit down regarding Syria, Russia feels completely at ease exacting its own foreign policy in Europe. Obama might very well be wetting the bed by now. It sucked having a moron like Bush in the White House and it sucks having a coward there too.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:41 am | Reply
  4. MK54

    It seems the Cold War isn't completely resolved yet; more diplomatic work needs to be done. Territorial disputes involving nuclear powers need to be settled peacefully. Forceful occupation must be opposed and the principal of self determination of people needs to be championed. Russian withdrawal, followed by a democratic vote by Crimean people is a viable solution. If Crimea wants to be Russian, then Russia should compensate Ukraine appropriately and cede the territory. Ukraine would be better able to move forward without the need to drag an unwilling district along, and Russia's legitimate strategic concern would be addressed.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:47 am | Reply
  5. sly

    Obviously the US should use diplomacy and avoid military action at all costs.

    There is not a single American who believes in using military force againest Russia.

    There are of course, many TeaKKKlan that ALWAYS like to use force (See: Bush Sr Iraq. See: Bush Jr Iraq).

    All real Americans recognize the failure of US military action in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and know the terrible costs it imposed on our country.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  6. Hypothetical Situation

    Hypothetical situation:
    Suppose Cuba is Mexican teritory with 60% americans living there, 24% mexicans and 12% venezuelans. Guantanamo would be the base for 4th Fleet. A small pro-russian revolution (with fascist overtones) overthrows the fairly elected pro-american Mexican government in Mexico City and the first law they pass says everyone should speak only spanish in Cuba.
    What would US do?

    March 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • littlepeaks

      Hypothetical answer: Implement sanctions against Mexico. That's the only thing we know how to do these days, even though it makes absolutely no difference.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Matt in ATL

      I don't think we'd usurp Mexican sovereignty and send in our forces. That wasn't a great example. A better example would be this:

      After the US constructed, operated, and controlled the Panama Canal for 75 years, it turned the Canal over to Panama in 2000. In the 12 months that followed, A Chinese company purchased exclusive operational rights to the harbors that contained the openings to both ends of the Canal. Bilateral trade between Panama and China reached almost $7 Billion in 2013. Mandarin is now the third most common language spoken in Panama (behind Spanish and English). American's make up the 3rd largest ethnic group in Panama at 10%.

      Does the US send in US forces to defend our financial interests, protect ethnic Americans from Chinese influence, or generally enforce the dictates of the Madison Doctrine. Errr... no.

      That being said, I sort of get what Russia is doing. It's just dumb. George Kennan laid out a world view that the Soviets acted in the Soviet self interest. Not inherently Anti-western, just Pro-Soviet. This move, when really looked at, is so against the Russian self interest that it's ridiculous. They just made a HUGE enemy out of the Ukraine. Sure, they may end up "taking" what they gave them in '52, but the cost to them is going to be so much greater than the reward that it's beyond belief that anyone over there gave this any sort of serious though. Putin's jingoism really just set their economy back 20 years. And what's the economy in Russia doing right now? Well, it's sort of going nuts, isn't it.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        Yes, let's destroy the economy of the world's largest nuclear power, let's back them into a corner and give them no option but to launch, such a great strategy...

        March 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • Matt in ATL

        to Moper: No one has done anything yet. It's economy was faltering, and the added instability is pushing it over the edge. In short, they're doing it to themselves! Which goes to my original premise.. It was a STUPID jingoistic action.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • Matt in ATL

        Hope it's ok to link Rueters:

        Since trading opened Monday morning, their equivalent to the Stock Market is down by 10%, their "Fed" almost doubled interest rates to protect their currency, and they had to pump about $10 billion into reserves to "try" to stabilize the economy.

        What do you think will happen on Tuesday if Ukraine doesn't pull troops out of the region like they've been told to do, and Russians open fire on the 3 military bases? A complete collapse of the Russian Economy.

        See what I mean? The west hasn't done a thing yet, and it's crumbling. The question remains, did Putin give ANY though to this at all??? I don't think he did.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • Roger

        Thank you for some insightful commentary. On an internet message board no less!!!

        March 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Andrey

      CNN does not want to report the truth about what is going on inside Ukraine, like other news agencies do. For example BBC published its own report on Ukrainian Nazi controlling Kiev and being a part of the new Ukrainian regime that US and EU support:
      So why would anybody trust whatever CNN is saying: they keep driving their anti-Russian agenda for months now, and they have zero credibility!

      March 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Reply
      • Cam

        Totally agree. CNN and other media trying to present everything as black and white. One party is being wronged and innocent and another is a "rogue state". No mention of Neo-Nazis taking control of Kiev; Ukraine is presented as one uniform country that wants the same. And that "same" is being against Russia and being pro-Nazi? CNN has to do a much better job describing the current situation and groups of people and their interests fighting on both side. Mr. Zakaria's report is simply laughable as it was written by a high-schooler who just "googled" history of Ukraine and Soviet Union

        March 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • MyBiz

        BBC just copied the report from Channel One Russia – which is also known as Putin's own channel. If you are naive, then you may believe that Ukraine is ovverun by Neo-Nazis... In true reality, if you followed the history a bit, the footage came from Russian own demonstrations of Neo-Nazis, but was conveniently used to persuade people like you that it happened just recently in Ukraine. KGB's work at its best!

        March 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mike the Veteran

      Ukraine is a sovereign country. Russia straight up invaded Ukraine under the pretense of "protecting our people". That is like Mexico instead invading one of the southern states in guise of protecting its people. Would that be right? Don't think so.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Reply
      • My2Cents

        I think, Putin have had enough with West's arm twisting and has finally shown some spine to protect Russia's legitimate interest in Crimea region. All the better for a multi-polar world, where Russia, China, and ilk can put a damper on US and EU bent to bully rest of the world on one pretext or another all in the name of freedom and democracy.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • Mirian

        May I simply say what a cmfoort to find an individual who truly understands what they are discussing online. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular because you surely possess the gift.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
      • Wallace

        I do agree with all of the ideas you've presented in your post. They're rellay convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

        July 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • Laticia

        Thanks for intorducing a little rationality into this debate.

        July 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
    • yll

      your hypothetical situation is a bit stretched considering i can't think of any place in the world outside the US that is more than 50% american. largely because "american" isn't an ethnic group, but rather a geopolitical affiliation.

      however, if you ignore that fact, and rather than pretend it was an mexican colony let it be itself, you can still draw a fairly useful comparison. the narrative doesn't parallel quite as closely, but the concepts are the same as your proposed situation, namely "what would the US do if a nation housing an american military base was undergoing revolution and political turmoil".

      the answer then, lies conveniently in history, when you consider the us took control of guantanamo bay in 1903, reinforced in 1934. after which point, during the late 1950s/early 1960s cuba underwent revolution. i'll leave you to wikipedia the US's response

      March 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      Why everybody forgers what US is doing in Iraq, Afganistan, Bahrain and Egypt???? Millions of people are suffering... May be US is setting a great example to Pr Putin? Why do we forget Kosovo when NATO jets made it separate from Serbia? In what way was it different from Crimea? And that was in 2008, the same century.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  7. CYRUS


    March 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • sly

      Intelligent response, likely close to what our military and international political experts, are considering.

      We have excellant military expertise, and a strong, wise President, and American's should once again be glad we have the right people in the right places to deal with international events, such as the Syrian war and the Russian threats.

      Business as usual in the world of geopolitics. Instead of the US, this time it's Russia.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
      • David

        sly, our president is largely to blame for this, as Johnson was when we encouraged Czechoslovakia during Prague spring and had no means to support them. And polls show Mr. Obama is the least rusted president among our allies in modern history.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
      • papercat

        a wise president?

        March 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • sly

        President Obama is responsible for Russia invading Ukraine?

        And he is responsible for Syria using chemical weapons?

        And President Obama is responsible for China occupying Tibet?

        As I mentioned earlier, we need our wise President, not Gomer Pyle, to analyse geopolitical events. You need intelligence. Most of you simply don't have it.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
      • Jack Dawson

        Where do you live? Surely you cannot refer to our current POTUS as strong and wise. Putin is doing this because he knows there will be no meaningful response. There will be an uproar for a while, then people will want Russian oil and natural gas and Russia will go back to business as usual. We no longer walk softly and carry a big stick. We prattle on in the UN and other worthless forums while carrying a Twizler to lay down as a red line. Our perceive weakness is as responsible for the situation as is Putin.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • Freddie

      Sounds good. How about Russia places nukes in Cuba and Venezuala? Or parks nuclear submarines off California? Or sends ships to place long range missiles in Syria? Or distributes millions of weapons, shoulder fired missiles to Russian Ukrainians and launches guerrilla war in Ukraine? Perhaps the US should just butt out and let Kiev radicals solve the mess it created.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply
      • MI Snow

        You need a history lesson... google "this is my last territorial demand."

        March 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • Mike the Veteran

        Freddie, where have you been.. Soviet subs etc has been patrolling of both US Coast in "International Waters"..

        March 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • Nicole Langlois

      What about the USA invasion of Irak without the ok of ONU ??? Bush did'nt care about the rest of the world, just like Putin.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
      • uncleric

        Iraq invaded Kuwait.
        Ukraine didn't invade any body.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • charles

        Thats because bush was an idiot

        March 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • David

      Boycott Turkey for invasion and continued occupation of Cyprus? Freeze all Turkish assets in the EU and US? All your suggestions against Turkey? How about against Israel as well? Or dare one say, against the US, which has invaded more countries than anyone?

      March 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Reply
      • hus

        Wise man, David! One friendly advice: Both you and I are arguing with POLITICALLY CORRECT ZOMBIES AND MORONS WHO HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY.
        We should rather read their comments and in our amazement realize what bunch of IDIOTS are justifying one more agresion of Americans guided by British behind the curtains. Something like Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster. So obvious and so absurd.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • Nicholas Kordinas

        Well said David. It's amazing how a nation can invade another nation, violating all of the U.N's laws and resolutions, taking part in unthinkable atrocities by its military towards unarmed civilians, occupying 30% of its territory till the present by force, and the international community not doing a thing about such an injustice and violation of a nations souverengnity. The interests of the worlds powers mean more than the international rule of law. It is no wonder why theres so much chaos and war in todays world. There is no one out there to punish such atrocities, and that is why war chaos and mass killings will unfor.tunitely be part of the human race for decades to come until we eradicate one another

        March 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • He>I

      Our forces have been put on alert. "Start looking for new jobs." "Oh and by the way, in an economy where there are no jobs!"

      March 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
      • hus

        I What
        Whole Ukraina including KRIM was and is Russia.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Buckn

      I guarantee that if anyone did that to the U.S., we would spit in their eye.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • hus

      Whole Ukraina including KRIM was and is Russia. What are you mumbling about alien lands like politicaly correct parrot.?

      March 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Reply
      • John MCDoo

        A good part of Russia was once Ottoman Empire.... and what about the time of Tatar-Mongols? It WAS, but IS no longer.

        March 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
  8. cooper

    CNN's headline a couple of days ago "World on high alert over Russia threat"

    Who is being paid to write these stories?

    "America it's them bad Russians.
    Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
    The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take
    our cars from out our garages..." - Allen Ginsberg

    March 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  9. Leftcoastrocky

    The problem is that Germany is not taking a hard line approach, worrying more about their short term interest in cheap natural gas from Russia. Shame on you Merkel!

    March 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • pooh

      Germany knows the cost of wars and lousy foreign policies. Unlike US, Germany is not geographically isolated from neighbors and has to consider "what if" more carefully. That's why they did not take part in supporting extremists at Maidan and got Nuland so upset that she uses profanities. Roll over – good dog, have another opinion – bad dog.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Or maybe Angela Merkel doesn't want to start WW III.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  10. Blake

    hahaha Fareed. You make me laugh. Yes the West must respond when one Country breaks all kinds of international
    laws and violates anther Country's sovereignty. How about the USA attacking....Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria etc etc etc etc throughout the years? Everyone's got an excuse. Russian and the USA are just two large Oligarchs jockeying for position to control resources.
    Like Alien versus Predator...we ordinary people get caught in the middle.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • Leftcoastrocky

      Is the U.S. annexing any of the countries you listed or portions thereof? No.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Reply
      • Nicole Langlois

        Did Irak was part of USA before? No, contrary of Crimée.

        March 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • DukeaJuke

        Russia isn't going to annex Crimea.. And while the US doesn't official make each country it invades into an additional state, it does install pro-US governments (in most cases). This is exactly what Russia is doing in Crimea. Unfortunately we no longer have the high ground anymore when it comes to respecting other nations sovereignty. Where we need to stand firm, is the fact that we have signed a treaty with Ukraine promising to defend their borders in exchange for their nukes. We must uphold this treaty or our word means shat. And if Ukraine still had it's nukes, do you think Putin would be invading it right now???

        March 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
    • pooh

      You are absolutely right. You probably also know the answer: balanced, nuanced views are too complex for consumption. "Russia is wrong, but we are to blame for setting the stage" would not sell very well. As would not "We were actively instigating events in Ukraine" – with $$ and presence. While Yanukovich is a crook – good riddance for Ukrainians – US meddling foreign policy backfired here. Again.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • thejackelscolumn

      I agree on the Iraq issue, but Afghanistan was a justified war the moment they hit the twin towers.. Libyia I'm on the fence with.. However, you are using a two wrongs make a right fallacy to which is a dangerous position to try and take simply because using that fallacy means we should never do anything.. Hence under that argument we should have let Germany take over the world, or Iraq take Kuwait ect.. And a little history lesson about letting a country take over another is that the aggressor won't be satisfied with just one.. Russia will seek to take Poland and other regional countries if she can. At this time, we ought to be threatening Russia with war, and give the Ukrainians back their nuclear weapons. Russia wouldn't even consider doing this BS if the Ukrainians did not give up their nukes.

      Obama should make this the Cuban crisis 2.0, and even send in a few aircraft carriers ect. Russia's Airforce is fleeting at best in terms of numbers and could not handle the sheer number of aircraft we can deploy from our carriers. The Russians have good fighter jets, but they simply don't have enough of them.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  11. Leftcoastrocky

    What is Turkey's position on this invasion of its neighbor. Would be nice if it closed the Bosphorus to Russian ships.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • ELMO

      Thats the only intelligent counter measure I have heard so far. Unfortunately most people are geographically challenged and don't know the location of the Bosporus.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
      • David

        And you are both geopolitically challenged not to know that the US has long opposed closing the straights because we are a naval power and oppose any closing of any chokepoint for own our self interest.

        Not to mention Turkey is currently occupying another country and created a break away country there only that only Ankara recognizes, and are opposed to ANY and ALL multilateral sanctions actions against anyone

        March 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • Joe

      Turkeys position? Turkey cannot have any say in such matters. They have been occupying northern Cyprus for the last 40 years even though the UN has repeatedly asked them to remove their troops from Cyprus. Turkey violated and continues to violate the territorial integrity of an independant country. And by the way, the USA has not forced Turkey to leave Cyprus because Turkey is its ally. So the USA also is behaving hypocriticially and looking only after its own interests. It would be ok for the USA to ask Russia to leave Crimea if it first asks Turkey to leave Cyprus.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  12. Paul Blyumkin

    one correction: crimea is not located in north Caucasus nor I don't think there is evidence (or at least I have not heard of) that Crimean tatars are being radicalized.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • Khagaraj Sommu

      If they are not already radicalized,Mr.Zakaria would suggest that we radicalize them urgently somewhat like what we did with the wahabized Syrian Sunnis in Homs.i

      March 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply
      • diego

        or the mujaedins in Afghanistan......

        March 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  13. Khagaraj Sommu

    " 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 the Crimean Tatars,who are Muslim and getting radicalized " So,Mr.Zakaria,Putin would be no happier in Crimea than we are in Libya.You seem to have overlooked saying this.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  14. tokalosh0

    Why does this propagandist pinhead writer have to behave like an editor of Pravda? He cites just the right half of the whole picture to spin it for the US Government. Once Ukraine joins NATO, the Crimea is going to be crawling with CIA and US military wearing NATO uniforms. Then you are talking about masked insignias. When Russia set up military facilities in our back yard in Cuba, we didn't hold back. Why would Russia? Russia's seizure of Crimea will be Ukraine's price for bringing NATO/US military intervention. Russia has no less right of a self defense than any other country. They will take back what is historically their's. To that, they have every right regardless of how the US chooses to spin treaties of recent years.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • sly

      "Russia has no less right of a self defense than any other country."
      As does Ukraine. It is their nation.

      Crimea is a valuable piece of property, which belongs to Ukraine. America, and Europe, will have to negotiate with Russia to restore stability.

      Obviously use of force would not bring stability.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
      • tokalosh0

        No, the Crimea isn't just simply historically Ukraine's. The world must accept that a NATO-membered with foreign forces in Ukraine with a Ukraine-held Crimea is NOT going to happen. So just start preparing yourself for that inevitability.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • Ed

      Those Russian rubles you just got paid to write that post aren't worth as much today as they were yesterday, and they'll be worth half as much in a couple months after Russia reverts to full Soviet mode.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  15. David

    Suspend Russian banks from international payments system – especially in London and NY. They will capitulate in days if they can not process payments.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • jboh

      I agree. Cut off the cleptocrats ilgotten gains.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  16. IpseCogita

    If the G8 serves any purpose at all then not going would counterproductive. If we can skip it over not liking what Russia is doing then perhaps we don't need to be part of it at all.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  17. David

    There is no mention of population in Crimea, "pro-Russia" in this article. Why ? It's not so strange, because hypocrisy is something increasingly more power in the Western Countries !!!

    March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  18. Rich Gerhold

    Well, so I guess if the US and the EU all go along with this, we should expect Mexico to invade Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico sometime soon since they're also allowed to protect all the residents in those countries that are actually their people also....right?

    March 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Their invasion makes much more sense than our invasion of Iraq, they are protecting their military assets in the Black Sea, meanwhile we're showing the world what colossal hypocrites we Americans are.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  19. Tom Payne

    Fareed, it is the US that has set the example of lawlessness and military intervention in other countries. How can President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry lecture anybody about international law when they routinely launch drones, torture prisoners, spy on everyone and invade countries?

    March 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Reply

    This is great fodder for top of the news cycles in the foreseeable days, weeks and months to come. To be sure,cable news. national news, and local news will be analyzing this Crimea story inside out, upside down, and every which way you can until it becomes for many of us nauseating.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  21. papercat

    Obama is just as a joke as he has ever been. The issue is he made US look like a pushover just like himself. Show some guts, Obama.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • jboh

      Like Bush when Russia invaded Georgia? How about Ike when they invaded Hungary?

      March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
      • WillB

        Better example is when Sharon said the Bush was a coward hiding in the woods when he was in combat (right after Bushl threatened Israel to "get you asses out of Gazal by Friday, OR ELSE!"

        March 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mopery

      Yeah Obama, start WW III and give the human race what it deserves: extinction.

      March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  22. jboh

    Sounds like Hitler's justification for invading Poland, Cslovakia in WWII. The best way to deal with thug Putin is to replace Russia as primary natural gas provider for Germany. Stick it to Russia's pocketbook. Then the cleptocrats will turn on Putin, and he'll have to fight his own to stay in power. TEA/GOP attacks on President Obama are just more partisan hackery, and borders on treason.

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

    It seems that Vladimir Putin is using the George W. Bush strategerie...

    March 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  24. Banquo

    But why has Obama's foreign policy towards Putin been so weak in the past? If the US, the most powerful country in the world, is not prepared to oppose Putin, how can you expect Europe to act?

    March 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Three words: Mutually Assured Destruction

      March 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  25. WillB

    I must have missed the vote. When did we electl him to tell us what to do? When did we tell CNN to hire someone to tell us what to do? You know that answer.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  26. Karen

    Russia is trying to recoup money they spent on the olympics. War = profits

    March 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  27. parabolid71

    We should respond the same way as we responded to France invading 2 countries Mali and Central African Republic?
    Remind me Zakaria, how did we respond? I do not remember.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • befair

      Or when Turkey, our NATO ally, invaded and occupied (and still occupies) Cyprus

      March 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  28. parabolid71

    Let's see: We invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, briefly Pakistan, bombed Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, supported Saudia invasion of Bahrein, French invasion of Mali and Central African Republic, not to mention support for Al-Qaida rebels in Syria... Really, how should US respond, tell us, please Zakaria ?
    We could recognize independent Crimea like we did Kosovo, after bombing Serbia? That's an option.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • sly

      We bombed Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Grenada, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Lebenon as well, and if we want to go back 10 more years, America can add Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and another dozen countries as well.

      When it comes to invasion and bombing foreign nations, America is the Best! We rule! Russia is not a close 2nd – kinda like comparing the Houston Astro's with the SF Giants in recent world series.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • Cam

      Yes, it was ok for Obama administration to consider interfering in conflict with Syria to "protect its people". And for Russia it is not OK to protect their own people? This is such as blatant hypocrisy, the article is ridiculous.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  29. sly

    Yawn ... the Russians steal a page from American foreign policy (20 nations bombed in 35 years), and the TeaKKKlan wants to send Gomer Pyle in to negotiate.

    America does this every 2-3 years. Ain't nuttin' more ignorant than most Americans – no wonder we are 27th or something in the world in education.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Reply
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