by Paul R. Gregory
April 14, 2014
The U.S. response to Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and his amassing of troops on the border with Eastern Ukraine has been tepid, at best. Although the Obama-Kerry sanctions bit a little more deeply than Europe’s, Putin can shrug sanctions off as a minor inconvenience. Pundits explain the apparent U.S. indifference to Russia’s destabilization and threatened dismemberment of Ukraine in terms of war fatigue and geography. This reasoning explains President Obama’s embarrassing refusal to supply military equipment to the Ukrainian army. We do not understand that we stand on the threshold of choosing between two visions of the world. In the first scenario, Russia remains a “regional power.” In the second, Putin succeeds in taking southeastern Ukraine, the other states of the former Soviet Union are annexed, and Russia is elevated to a world power. This represents a fundamental security threat to the United States and to the world.