What to do with the Russians? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? They are on an imperialistic high right now and all the threats in the world mean nothing to them at all. Short of a shooting war, we can’t get their serious attention, and war is the last thing most Americans want, anyway.
Economic sanctions from the US and its European allies against the Russian nation and, more specifically, President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, only got sneers from Russian lawmakers. Our lawmakers did the same sneering when they ended up on a Russian sanction list.
Isolating Russia economically will cause some hardship to its citizens but realistically they can weather it. They have oil and gas and many of their European neighbors depend on those commodities. European nations will go just so far until their economies are also negatively impacted, then they’ll start to lose their resolve. We’ll see how economic sanctions pan out, but I don’t put much hope in them affecting the thinking of President Putin.
Probably the best we can do is draw a line in the sand and say to Putin, since all those Russian-speaking Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine, you can have it.
But no more, at least not under the threat of arms as you’ve done in Crimea. Secession is not always bad, but it needs to be determined by those within the affected country, peacefully if possible.
Land-grabbing is not new. The Israelis have done it for years with their West Bank settlements. When a nationality of people become the majority in an adjoining land, they eventually seek sovereignty or a union with their mother country; but ideally without an occupying army dictating the outcome.
It’s almost amusing how Vladimir Putin could be the perfect host during the Sochi Winter Olympics, showing off Russia in all its glory, and then a month later become the pariah of the international community by invading another country. And it doesn’t seem to phase him in the least.
Ukraine is certainly undecided on its political future with its split Russian/European populations leaning in two different directions. Recent demonstrations by pro-western Ukrainians led to riots, which led to bloodshed, which led to an ousted pro-Russian president. The volatile atmosphere was making the Russians nervous, especially with their Black Sea naval fleet based in Crimea. So they invaded under the guise of protecting Ukrainian Russians from harm. Will they stop there or “protect” Ukrainian Russians in the rest of Ukraine, and other bordering countries as well?
Putin’s actions are suspicious, like he wants the new Russian Federation to be the old Soviet Union. If that’s the case, it’s back to the arms race.