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. Rich Dix

    This should be entirely An E.U. problem. They have been doing nothing but slapping the USA in the face telling us to keep our nose out of everyone's business. Well this is the right time to stay out, even when the Russian tanks are crossing the Thames at Westminster Bridge. Let them yell for "Uncle Sam" and remind them we are not your uncle!!!!

    March 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  2. Jose Roman

    Why does our media skip the fact that Nuland-Pyatt call was basically them planning a post coup government. The NGO's there are funneling cash to Neo-Nazi Groups that violently attack the government authorities. I am not saying the govt. of Ukraine was not corrupt but you cannot get upset when you fund a revolution and then Russia says nope not in my backyard. Our country has no moral high ground in this battle.

    March 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  3. John

    Mr. Zakaria is right. This makes people remember Stalin and it costs Russia big-time in international trust, whole decades of hope that Russia had evolved. After Georgia in 2008, this foray into Ukraine nails any hope they could change for a new long time to come. Bad, bad move, Mr. Putin. Not at all adequately matched to the danger you say you were addressing. Now you're gonna have to kill a few Ukranian Russians so you have something to blame on the Ukranians to prove you were right.. Already you are running for cover, saying the ousted President asked for these troops. Who do you think outside the Kremlin cares about that even if he did?

    March 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  4. Ram

    USA should stop international policing. World would be whole lot peaceful place if USA does that. USA can't solve all the problems in world.

    March 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  5. Retired US Soldier

    Ukraine is a basket case. It is the new Greece. The US is deeply involved in several nasty engagements, the military is about to get cut down, and tensions can flare into war with China at any moment. We do not need to start a shooting war with Russia. The US has been lost in the sauce on a lot of foreign policy issues recently, it sure seems. Like that invasion of Libya that destabilized northern Africa. The US track record in invading places and leaving them to fall into chaos does not make us look very good. Iraq is a bloodbath these days and it is a national disgrace that we caused it. And fighting and dying for no reason does not the happy soldier or Marine make. On Russia, I doubt that Obama has anyone who really understands Russia or knows how to deal with her well. Insulting Putin did not work, and threatening him will not work either. Would threatening us work? Obama is really faltering here and showing how inept he really is. McCain and those looney-tunes would have us start WW III. Let's not do that. Economic pressure and de-escalation are the right course.

    March 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  6. Ted

    Putin will annex Crimea, install pro-Kremlin government in South-Eastern and Northern Ukraine, and then sabotage the economic recovery of the Western Ukraine in hopes that they come begging for money. The time will come when he will swallow Belarus whole.

    March 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  7. Peter Shapiro

    What is being ignored here is the fact that Russia's only warm water naval base is in the Crimea. I don't think this was an easy choice on their part, once the revolution succeeded in Kiev, but it could have been foretold. They couldn't realistically have been expected to put such a strategic asset in the control of an untested foreign government. We have a similar situation in Hawaii with large military bases in what was originally a foreign country. If a revolution were to occur there, with a government which had stated openly that it was separating from the USA, wouldn't our government step in to safeguard the bases, under the guise of protecting sympathetic citizens? This isn't to say that what they did was legal, but it was certainly understandable. I believe that they have no interest in taking over the rest of Ukraine and will be satisfied with Crimea. There is very little the US can do about that, other than let the economic repercussions take their inevitable effect on the Russian economy. I'm sure Putin was aware of that eventuality, but felt that the alternative (lose Russia's only ice-free naval base) would have been far worse.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Reply
    • Jack

      Maybe Alaska is a better example, after all it was in Russian hands once. But with Sarah Palin keeping her eyes on Putin (literally), I'm sure that won't happen.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Reply
      • mark

        Stupid cheap shot...

        March 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
      • SteveC

        Hey Jack,
        You do realize it was Tina Fey on a stupid SNL skit and NOT Sarah Palin who said that? Still busy rewriting history huh?

        March 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
      • Ralph

        Go back under your bridge. You are drawing flies again.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
      • jack

        Putin knows he is safe from U.S. interference with Obama at the helm.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • Chris

        To SteveC:

        Actually, get your facts right. Tina Fey was making fun of this quote by Sarah Palin in 2008 when she was "touting" her foreign policy credentials....“They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”. People like Palin are God's gift to comedians. Anyways, nice try... but nope, Sarah Palin really is that unbelievable.

        March 3, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • NewYawkBoy

      How the U.S. should "Respond?" I think the BEST scenario would be for Obama to RESIGN and to be replaced with someone who has true integrity and who is COMPETENT. That one act could bring a huge amount of TRUE (rather than FAKE) Hope and Change to America....

      March 3, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        So tell us, what would you have Obama do exactly? Start WW III and end all life on Earth?

        March 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
      • Shawn

        Let me guess that "someone who has true integrity and who is COMPETENT" is Republican? What a joke. You people and your silly political parties you are all the same.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
      • necrosis56

        NewYawk.....are you sure your post was intended for this article? It's just that is seems grossly misplaced.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • E. Richardson

        Yank, it's your turn to cry. The President was re-elected by a majority of voting Americans.

        March 3, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
      • Mike Wiggins

        C'mon, NewYawkBoy, answer the question. You say the solution is to replace Obama with someone else. Ok then, in your opinion, what should this "someone else" DO? THAT is what the question was! If you had said that we should engage in global thermonuclear war, then at least you would have contributed to the conversation. Instead all you have done is engage in puerile antics that do nothing in the end.

        My opinion: The US really can not do anything other that the diplomatic shuffle. We really can't threaten them economically or militarily. We CAN make their diplomatic lives miserable, but the Russians are better chess players than we are. Example: "You want to evacuate your trucks and tanks and troops, etc. from Afghanistan when you pull out? If you give us trouble, we'll revoke your overflight privileges." That would be disastrous for the US.

        I'm not siding with Russia. They seem to want to have a nice warm cozy family of SSRs (Soviet Socialist Republics) again when, in fact, they agreed for Ukraine and the others to form their own countries. What they are doing is wrong, but it is still a family fight. All we can do, as the "neighbors", is to offer to mediate.

        March 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • James

      Peter that is an excellent point. I am unfamiliar with their treaty agreements concerning their navy bases in the Crimea. However, sending troops outside those bases is an act of war plain and simple. If an Hawaii island were to secede and China sent troops to Pearl Harbor would that mean it would be fine to abandon it? Diplomacy is the correct response for the Russians to use in regards to the international stage. Putin needs to realize that eventually heavy handed tactics have severe consequences.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • JJ

      That's absurd. You don't invade an entire area of a country just because you are concerned about a base.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Reply
      • Paul

        you might if you are russia, it has limited ports for its navy.. most of the year its ports are covered in ice.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • Chris

        You might if you're the U.S. and you want a base in Saudi Arabia.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
      • Putin

        You may if you are US and want to expand and get California, New Mexico, etc...

        March 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • dale

      What if Obama has actually made a masterful move and in fact checkmated Putin. A few days ago, the Russians stated in various media that no troops would be sent to Ukraine. They sounded believable and sincere.

      Then Obama and Kerry go on a rampage threatening Putin with serious consequences if he sends trooops in. What happens next? Putin the megalomaniac sends in the troops.

      Obama had to know that Putin would respond this way to the U.S. threats. Putin is not going to be threatened by anyone, definitely not his number one enemy. So Putin sends in the troops. No one makes me look like a punk, in your face Obama, go f__k yourself.

      In doing so, Putin has now isolated himself and Russia from the western world. Russia will be kicked out of the G8. Today their market was done 13%, and their ruble dropped to its lowest levels EVER! Further sanctions and asset freezes will destroy Russia's leaders and its economy. It's an economical, and political disaster for Putin and Russia.

      Obama will keep playing it just as he is, building this enormous coalition of nations. Russia will be left on its own, its economy destroyed. The rich Western coalition of nations with the U.S. as its leader will eventually take over Russia and become the largest empire in history, with only China left to neutralize.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
      • jack

        Hahaha – the mighty Obama. Nice fantasy, I guess all the left has left.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
      • 6Cobra

        I *highly* doubt that Putin/Russia's actions in this situation are based mostly on what Obama says and does. Quite the exact opposite, in fact – I bet Putin and his cronies are barely aware of the yapping US leadership, because they know they can ignore them with almost no consequences while they focus on more pressing matters in Ukraine.

        March 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • chris

      Hawaii is a poor example as it is still the sovereign U.S.. However, the Philippines was under U.S. control until the mid 20th century. When a popular revolution overthrew Marcos in the 1980's, the U.S. Navy was asked to leave it's large and vital base. We honored that request, and somehow, the sky did not fall. Russia's aggression breaks a treaty it signed a couple of decades ago. No comparison.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Reply
      • Vlad

        That war would not be supported by the american public only 10 years after Vietnam. I think a more comparable event would be trying to remove the US base at Guantanamo.

        March 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • unhanon

        Response to Vlad – don't forget that the Russians were fighting 30 years ago in Afghanistan (as the Soviet Union), and more recently have been fighting insurrections in Georgia, several in Chechnya, and now this. (I may be missing one or two, and if so I apologize) Putin has been increasingly unpopular at the home front, I would suggest that this is an attempt to satisfy his "creds" at home, and hope that the Russian people see him for what he is and rise up and kick him out.

        March 3, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • Eric

      That might be where their only warm water naval base is, but Russia has several hundred miles of coastline along the Black Sea just east of there that could be developed into a base. The US managed to move out of Subic Bay.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • philip y, killien

      Peter, good effort, but in reality it does sell. The existing Russian Navy is a shell of the Soviet days glory. Most of it
      is rusting old Soviet Junk. What you are missing, is the obvious fact that there is obviously no way, even it is good
      and modern, they can get out. Don't forget that in 1915, Turk mines, the never ending death weapon in naval war,
      and shore batteries kept the Brits from breaking the Dardanelles, and they are just a bit of the block out of Turkey. US
      could within two weeks put several hundred anti ship cruise missiles in the eastern Med.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Reply
      • Creek

        What Soviet Navy glory days? The Soviets/Russians have never been a naval power compared to the USA and NATO.

        March 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • CDude

      Comparing Hawaii to Ukraine is not an apples to apples comparison. Hawaii is a state of the US. Ukraine is an independent country. It sends a team to the olympics. Hawaii does not.

      A more similar comparison would be if the Mexican government was overthrown via some kind of uprising. The question would then be if the US would go in take over Mexico. I could see it if Drug Lords were behind it but could not if there was a popular uprising of the people behind it. Mexico is very corrupt so it would not surprise me to see that happen in our lifetime.

      Lets see what Russia does – the book is still out. Will they hold on to Crimea? Or will they stabilize the country and turn it back over to Ukranian people? I think their excuse to go in was pretty lame already so I suspect the former. Time will tell.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Reply
      • jack

        If Mexico were overtaken by China or Russia or any other power, Obama would do nothing. If a Republican were in the White House, no country would consider the act to begin with. Same with Crimea/Ukraine. It is possible but unlikely the U.S. would intervene unless the conflagration spread, even with a Republican administration. Obama will do nothing as his administration will do nothing when China reclaims Taiwan.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • Chris

      Base aside, I don't really have an issue with it. Crimea just happened to be gift-wrapped from Kruschev. If this whole business splits Ukraine in two, so be it, because they're split anyway. Even the western side is factionalized, and we don't know what kind of government is really going to take power. That the revolution "succeeded" with the help of a bunch of Neo-Nazi thugs doesn't seem to bother a lot of people, including the networks. We get a lot more of our cheap goods from Taiwan than the Crimea.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • jack

      They have a base in Syria as well. I think Crimea is a staging area that can be defended. Putin has no intention of letting Ukraine out of the Russian imperial orbit. He knows with some certainty Obama represents no threat. Same with China. It is a virtual certainty China will reclaim Taiwan before Obama leaves office so it may do so unhindered.

      March 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • mickflanigan

      Maybe this is our opportunity to annex Canada.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Reply
  8. scott cisney

    I don't know why we ever thought the cold war was over. Wishful thinking? Let's deploy the missile shield in the Ukraine. Give them something to worry about. We'll remove it when they back out of Crimea...

    March 3, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      The "missile shield" system has failed every test it's ever been given, not to mention the fact that even if we could shoot down 3/4 of their ICBM's, what gets through will still kill all life on the planet.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  9. DistantEarlyWarning

    Gee Whiz people... All Putin wants is some "Lebensraum" for ethnic Russians in the Ukraine, wel maybe Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Georgia, etc. as well. Lets just accommodate his wishes, we will avoid conflict... after all Obama can go and get a signed paper and then proclaim peace in our time.. Putin is just restoring the historic "spheres of influence" ceded Russia by Roosevelt at the Yalta conference, what's wrong with that? Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. Or if it helps "The 1930s taught us a clear lesson; aggressive conduct unchecked and unchallenged ultimately leads to war... JFK"

    March 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • Chris Bordeman

      Good idea, Neville.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      The response needs to be unequivocal and escalate weekly until they withdraw. Freeze all Russian assets and Civilian Russian owned assets. Close borders with Russia and prevent ships, aircraft visiting Russian ports from landing or docking in western ports. Ukraine needs to cut the gas pipelines now. (Russia makes 380 Billion out of petrochemical exports.) Install defense shield. Give Ukraine tactical Nuclear weapons to replace those removed in 1994.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        You don't seem to understand the scope of things, we really don't want a war with Russia, they have a larger stockpile of nuclear weapons than any other country on Earth, and the ability to destroy the U.S. just as easily as the U.S. could destroy them.

        March 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
      • Steve

        Sorry, but your response is wrong on multiple levels. Let me spell it out:
        – given that Russia is a nuclear power the last thing you want to do is escalate (remember the Cuban missile crisis???)
        – sure you could try to freeze assets, but there would be repercussions (see below)
        – who would 'close borders'? There are currently 150000 Russian troops conducting military exercise in the region, it would be pretty tough to offset that overnight
        – 'preventing ships and aircraft to visit Russian ports/airports' would require an International effort which will likely not happen for reasons below
        – Ukraine can't 'cut' the gas pipelines, however, Russia can cut the supply of natural gas and oil which would hurt Ukraine (and by extension most of the EU) more than the loss of revenue would hurt Russia
        – 'tactical nukes': first off, the EU probably wouldn't stomach that; and second, the US wouldn't approve it because of the chance that it would lead to an escalation that no one in the region (or in the world for that matter) needs.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • canada54

        please,go back to your medication. whould ya?

        March 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
    • Chris

      Yeah, like nukes in Turkey (that JFK had to yank).

      March 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  10. BOO....


    March 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    • Saad

      America gave back Iraq to Iraqis after bombing it, stealing his resources & putting a dummy government in place.
      That's a joke.

      March 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  11. TomGI

    "Washington’s response should be clear and forceful"

    How forceful? Easy to say, impossible to do.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  12. DrewinMD

    Mr. Zakaria's analysis is perceptive, his recommendations appropriate. What is puzzling is that Putin, a clever politician with an experienced foreign policy advisor in Sergei Lavrov, has made such a blunder. His moves in Crimea are foolish and will almost certainly prove counterproductive for Russia and Russian interests, with repercussions that could last for a generation. An astonishing miscalculation with few potential benefits, but very significant costs.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Reply
    • Chris Bordeman

      I wish Zakaria was president, not the incompetent moron we have now.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        Hint: Bush left office in 2008. We've got a much better President now.

        March 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
  13. Steve

    The lack of US response, sends to the world a message. If you really want to protect yourself; keep or either develop Nuclear weapons as Ukraine should have in 1994.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Reply
    • Chris Bordeman

      I hope they do develop nuclear weapons now. After all, Russia has broken the treaty.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        Do you really think a nuclear war would be a good idea?

        March 3, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
  14. Panchenko

    What about USA sending troops to Iraq, interfering into Syria's business and so on? The situation within the Ukraine is very complex and neither EU nor US understands it, or well, wants to understand it, they have their own financial interest in mind. EU and US should back off.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • Chris Bordeman

      The U.S. gave Iraq back as a democracy, and never had the slightest intention of doing anything but removing a brutal, dangerous dictator.

      But don't let facts get in the way of your ignorant anti-American idiocy.

      March 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Reply
      • Mopery

        You're the ignorant one here Chris, or did you forget that we didn't present our case at the UN as a need to "bring democracy" to Iraq? Remember that we first stated there was an Al Qaeda presence in Iraq, and that Saddam funded 9/11. Never happened, Saddam hated Al Qaeda as much as we do, they were a threat to his power. Then we stated that we had concrete evidence that Iraq was building WMD's, remember the "mobile bio-warfare labs"? They never existed, we never found a single one or it would have made headlines around the world. The United States invaded a sovereign nation, unprovoked, unilaterally, and against the wishes of the UN.

        But don't let history get in the way of your patriotic delusions.

        March 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
      • Chris

        The Neocons themselves said straight out it was about the oil.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
      • canada54

        The U.S. gave Iraq back as a democracy -- is it new joke?

        who needs your under bombs democracy?

        March 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
  15. Toosliq

    Time to go get Cuba.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  16. MaxR

    It is a Nazi Ukraine right now. Pro-Nazi solders are patrolling the streets of Kiev, Ukraine.BBC news correspondent interviewed them:
    Russians have not invaded Ukraine yet. they have been in Crimea for more than 200 years!!! People of Crimea ASKED them to protect them from new Nazi Ukrainian government.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  17. brown

    The U.S.A and its allies have been busily surrounding Russia since the end of the Cold War.

    We need to tread very carefully in this part of the world.

    March 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  18. Douglas Le

    Perhaps the US should give the new Ukrainian government nuclear weapons (since the Russian broke the treaty) – all kind of Bay of Pigs scenarios here. Yes, Obama can do it. The problem is, does he have the guts to. Europe is too dependent on Russian gas to act with impunity. China is with Russia on this one.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  19. James

    How about some joint military exercises with either NATO or EU nations? Perhaps out of Italy. Send some F-22s and maybe the new stealth cruiser we spent all that money on.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Reply
    • canada54

      they shoot down "stealth cruiser" in yugoslavia in 1999 and they will do it again

      March 3, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  20. Al

    I think Vlad is still PO'd about losing the hockey game against U.S. Tell him we'll give him another shot against our women's team.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  21. dale

    What if Obama has actually made a masterful move and in fact checkmated Putin. A few days ago, the Russians stated in various media that no troops would be sent to Ukraine. They sounded believable and sincere.

    Then Obama and Kerry go on a rampage threatening Putin with serious consequences if he sends trooops in. What happens next? Putin the megalomaniac sends in the troops.

    Obama had to know that Putin would respond this way to the U.S. threats. Putin is not going to be threatened by anyone, definitely not his number one enemy. So Putin sends in the troops. No one makes me look like a punk, in your face Obama, go f__k yourself.

    In doing so, Putin has now isolated himself and Russia from the western world. Russia will be kicked out of the G8. Today their market was done 13%, and their ruble dropped to its lowest levels EVER! Further sanctions and asset freezes will destroy Russia's leaders and its economy. It's an economical, and political disaster for Putin and Russia.

    Obama will keep playing it just as he is, building this enormous coalition of nations. Russia will be left on its own, its economy destroyed. The rich Western coalition of nations with the U.S. as its leader will eventually take over Russia and become the largest empire in history, with only China left to neutralize.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  22. Nico van Duyvenbode

    Every citizen in every country has a vote and can stop aggression. Everyone can boycott Russian products and can persuade companies and governments to terminate contracts with Russians. We can persuade governments to freeze assets of all prominent supporters of Putin and prominent Russian businesses and businessmen who are condoning his regime and actions. History has shown that it takes all of us to stop aggressors. If all of us act together to not buy Russian goods, to persuade business to cancel contracts for the purchase of Russian goods and to return delivered ones, then all Russians will feel the pain as significant sources of foreign revenues and currency dry up and Russia will enter into a serious depression. It is the only effective way in today's world to stop a military aggressor. This Russian military aggression is not new and will continue until Putin is stopped. Only the Russian people, when they see the economic consequences of Putin's aggressions, can effectively stop Putin and the Oligarchs that keep him in power will not want to loose their billions.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  23. Rudy Haugeneder -- CANADA

    China supports Russia. While the G7 nations issued their condemnations of Russia’s military actions, China is reportedly siding with Russia.
    The two have been allies on other geopolitical issue – Syria, for example – and China’s no fan of popular overthrows.
    Reuters reported Monday the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers met Monday and, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two world powers are “in agreement.”
    “Both sides believe that the appropriate handling of the Ukraine crisis is very important to maintaining regional peace and stability.”
    That why Russia is in there like a dirty shirt.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  24. WestsacVoice

    We stood idle as he did the same with Georgia. We stand idle again we communicate that he can do the same for all other surrounding former soviet republics and warsaw pact allies. He's got us because we aren't willing to go to war with a major power, Iraq and Afghanistan is bad enough and those guys do not have the capability of the Russians.

    Face it, we have a population that is long as their comfort is not in danger, they aren't willing to support any other action that can escalate to a war. Even the Iraq and Afghanistan wars only impacted directly a small percent of the US population – the other 1%.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  25. Jon Samuel

    What is not mentioned here is that Putin is not concerned about what girlie-boy Obama will do or won't do. Obama just announced he is gutting the military and pulling out of Afghanistan after retreating from Iraq. Russia will do what it wants and no one will do anything about it and certainly not Obama.

    March 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • ARdude

      A weak opponent is more dangerous than a strong one. Especially if the weak one has the codes to nukes. Obama is going to be pressured into a strong stance on this, and before it's over, it could be another Bay of Pigs. This could get really bad, really quick.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • jack

      True – and next is China's reclaiming of Taiwan which will almost certainly happen while Obama is in office.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Reply
      • Mike Wiggins

        Facetiously speaking, I can't wait for THAT to happen!

        I believe that if the Chinese were to invade Taiwan, the US (at a minimum) would abrogate all of its defense treaties with Taiwan. Reason? All I have to say is "Made in China" and you get the idea. If we tried to defend Taiwan the Chinese would threaten to shut down every factory making products for the US market. And you KNOW what the level of screaming and gnashing of teeth there would be by all the US businesses who are currently there.

        Do I WANT to see it happen? Of course not. But when it comes to world politics, honor seems to be in short supply.

        March 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
  26. JCAP

    Perhaps the answer exists within Russian History which began in 862AD. History often contains the answers we seek today. One thing is for sure, they are a proud people. Their asset, the Naval Base in Crimea may be a starting point to walk the cat backwards as detectives say. There's a saying over there. The old sayings are quite interesting: "The mouse laughs at the cat, but from a distance!" Yes, the base and socio-economic status post 1992 are good places to start. All else? Well, speculation can go on and on. In the U.S., I have not forgotten about my heritage which runs lock step with my birthright of citizenship. I am a proud American, now four generations here. Imagine ethnic "pride". That should be in mind when walking the cat backwards, and it is Russian pride that must be understood. We expect ours be treated no less.

    March 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  27. sly

    Look at a map, study history, Crimea is one valuable property, and obviously should be independent. Neither Ukraine or Russia logically 'own' it, although by recent treaty it is Ukraine.

    By treaty, America is British.

    Draw your own conclusions – I recommend diplomacy, attempt to enforce Intl Law. Realize that something like 1776 Britain might happen, and someone could lose their 'nation', likely the Ukraine in this case.

    And don't get your damn balls all up in your panties over politics. God, what a bunch of morons we've raised in America. Think. Learn. Speak intelligently. Don't mention Birth Certificates or Political Parties. Please. Gag.

    March 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • JCAP

      Interesting and correct.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Reply
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