The more that I think of the Stand-Off in Ukraine, between Russia and the West–Europe and the U. S.–I am reminded of the modern-day novel, by Ken Kessey–about the Inmates taking over the Asylum. Namely, it seems that none of the Main Participants really wants to win. Perhaps they just cannot bring themselves to deliver that final blow.
America cannot win by itself; because, any strong sanctions will not hurt Russia unless the European Union joins in. Otherwise, it would just give-up Trade to European Corporations. Besides, since America terminated its Space Shuttle Program, NASA cannot transport Astronauts to or from the international Space Station without the help of Russia’s Soyuz Fleet.
The E. U. has invited many of the Former Soviet Republics in Eastern Europe to join it and/or NATO. But, besides not wanting to break with a major Trade Partner, Europe has allowed itself to be extremely dependent upon Russia for its Gas Imports. In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte committed the ultimate Strategic blunder–following the Russian Army so far into its Homeland that he could not re-supply his Army. By depending on its opponent for a major Commodity, like Gas, Europe has repeated Napoleon’s same major blunder.
And Russia, for its part, is dependent upon the West for Hard Currency which can be used to purchase the Imported Goods which it requires, especially Agricultural Products from Ukraine. Moscow’s own economy is a basket case and Crimea is showing the difficulty any Region would have in switching from one operational system to another.
So, if Russia is having trouble enough in paying its own bills, then just where would it get the additional resources to support Crimea? So, it really cannot afford to take-on more responsibility; because, it has already bitten-off more than it can chew.
So far, Vladimir Putin has stopped short of endorsing the Eastern Regions from voting to break-away from Ukraine. If Putin did remain engaged with those Regions, Russia might strengthen the resolve of Europe to stand-together with the U. S. in opposing his actions–perhaps across Eastern Europe.
I suggest that Russia do nothing whatsoever. It should avoid any further involvement with the break-away Regions, which Putin apparently instigated. Let them fend for themselves. Hopefully, let’s hope that there is not a civil war before the break-away republics either find a solution of their own, or seek to re-join Ukraine.