Is there a country on Earth that the U.S. has not fucked with at some time or another? I don’t think so. That our government has the cojones to call out Putin as imperialistic is truly the stuff of a late-night comedy writer’s wet dream.
No one expected Putin to just stand down after the Ukrainian people rose up to toss out his personally-picked pool boy, Viktor Ynukovych, least of all, I suspect, the Ukrainians. He needed to save face and Crimea became his “pound of flesh.” If world leaders will check their testosterone levels at the door for a moment (Yes, I mean you, too, Angela Merkel), everyone may be able to save face.
Putin has nothing to gain by going into a full-fledged conflict with the west just to acquire the debt-ridden Ukraine. Russia’s own economy is in the toilet. But he just may do it anyway if we continue to challenge his penis size.
Two words describe Putin: Vanity and pride. The Ukrainians know this and have already backed off: “Okay. You win, man. Crimea is yours, you big, strong, peck-enhanced titan, you.” The people of Crimea themselves (mostly older, conservative Russians with strong ties to 'the motherland') have now voted to align themselves with Russia. That should be “game over” for us, but oh no.
Ever notice how we’re always pushing for democratically-elected governments around the world, then cry “foul” when the vote doesn’t go our way? After the great Florida debacle of 2000, we don’t exactly have the high ground when it comes to ballot box issues.
Meanwhile, the Republicans, their pockets filled with defense industry cash, urge that we “Go to war! Go to war!” And their poster gal, Sarah “why-the-hell-is-she-even-still-around” Palin spouts: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is with a good guy with a nuke.” Could someone please nuke her?
Okay, I know the Democrats’ pockets are just as tinged, but I don’t see anyone on the blue side advocating a missile-driven pissing match with Putin.
Putin has now signed the law officially absorbing Crimea into Russia. That horse has left the barn. We should focus our efforts on supporting and strengthening the new Ukraine/EU political and economic agreement, while continuing to expand our non-military options.
Let Putin enjoy his small victory in Crimea. Unlike the explosion of a bomb, economic sanctions take time to show results. Finesse and patience are not signs of weakness. They are signs of intelligence.
"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."