I read the NYT’s Editorial post this morning about the need for the US and Europe to impose their collective will against Russia (read as Putin) for their annexation of Crimea and the forgone conclusion of a referendum in the Ukraine this weekend. The Ed Board at the NYT are in such lala land that they must be dreaming.
Putin is not going to back off in the Ukraine. He will certainly get his way in Crimea; whether they become an independent state or choose to join Russia, “dosvedanya” to an independent Crimea. As for the rest of the Ukraine one’s point of view correlates closely with one’s perception of the new government.
Western, liberalized countries would state that the people have risen up and formed a new government with temporary but morally confirmed powers in the Ukraine, and there will be a democratic election shortly. Others would tell you there was a violent coup and those currently in power have no legal authority as they bypassed what has been the rule of law in the Ukraine. It is kind of like when the Western media call the Taliban “insurgents” in Afghanistan while the local population of Afghanistan call the US troops invaders. Point of view and semantics mean a lot.
Back to the issue at hand. Europe will not chance losing the 40% of their natural gas needs that flow from Russia through the Ukraine. And the UK and Switzerland will not chance losing the hundreds of billions in Russian deposits sitting in banks in those two countries. The US is certainly not going to get violent in a third region which has almost zero tactical significance to our military. And finally, nothing Obama has done while in office has scared Putin. Obama suggested we attack Syria for their human rights transgressions. Putin said nope, and it did not happen. Send us Snowden? Putin said no. Nationalize the multi-billion Chevron (a US corporation) oil refinery in Siberia? Putin gave the green light.
Putin does not fear the US, nor should he. We have not been able to stand up to him yet, and he knows we will not go to war over a “who cares” Eastern European country. So the NYT Editorial Board ought to wake up and stop dreaming. There will be no sanctions with any teeth imposed, and Russia will continue to do as they choose in the Ukraine.