Let's see now . . . Vladimir Putin couldn't wait until May 25 for a scheduled referendum that probably would have paved a peaceful and fairly acceptable way for the
Peninsula to leave and
return to Mother Russia, its home for much of modern history. For reasons
unclear, Putin decided to strong arm his way in with a show of military force
to back a puppet Crimean Premier who obligingly rushed a vote with predictable
A solid majority of residents of
are ethnic Russians who speak Russian. Most of the minority Tatars and
Ukrainians refused to vote as a protest of the Russian power play. The vote was
overwhelmingly pro-Russia. Surprise! The process of incorporating the peninsula
has begun. Russian Federation
It is unlikely that
make any military response. Crimea has provided bases for Ukraine 's Black
Sea Fleet for Russia
Meanwhile, Barack Obama informed the world that if what has happened were to happen,
face "serious consequences." Lots of people, apparently including
Putin, aren't taking that message very seriously. So far, the consequences have
been freezing bank accounts of a few dozen individuals who promoted the Crimean
spectacle. The Russia
seized some assets, the European Union froze more. U.S.
What more-serious actions are likely to take place? Not many. The parties involved are entirely too much involved in the world of business to take a dive into the world of war. They depend on each other.
Nearly two thirds of Russian exports are gas and oil, and about half of that is sold to European Union countries.
has lucrative contracts to build Russian ships. Germans have some $22 billion
invested in assets within France .
British bankers profit handsomely by serving as a financial center away from
home for Russian billionaires. The
symbol, the Golden Arches, appears across the Russian landscape, as do other
American corporate logos. U.S.
It looks like a classic standoff. It probably will stay that way unless the few observers who think Putin has lost his mind are right. Could it be world leaders finally will act with wisdom rather than playground bravado that in the past has escalated into wars bringing misery to millions? Lets hope they continue to fire off sanctions, not missiles.