Nothing of substance has occurred. The Russians have increased their control over the Crimea and many countries seem unaware as to the seriousness of this situation and seem to think that belligerent language is what is needed now. It is not. Hans Morgenthau’s work on power tells us that influence is not empty rhetoric, it has to be backed up. I know of no force in the region that will expel Russian troops from the Crimea. The fact of how integrated the EU, especially Germany, is to Russia means that while the verbiage is high, cooler heads must prevail. It is in the best interests of both economic blocs. Angela Merkel is, according to this article, quietly working behind the scenes recognizing that increased tensions would cause Germany’s economy to falter. The EU would have even more difficulties than it already does now if this were to unfold. The interesting question for me is whether or not Merkel can come to a reasonable accommodation with Putin negating intervention by the USA.
Update: A thoughtful opinion piece here by Neil Macdonald on the CBC website highlighting that there is enough hypocrisy and hyperbole on both sides of this issue already. If we were to use the same arguments on other countries as we are doing here, many countries would face international sanctions, letting alone some recent spurious historical assertions that Putin is Hitler and this is a replay of Czechoslovakia. Hint: it’s not. I always wonder if this is sheer ignorance and laziness on behalf of the media or something more sinister. Probably the former, the latter would entail some intelligence that seems to be in rather short supply of late.
Another update: Crimean MPs will vote on whether or not to join Russia on Thursday. The West really bungled this entire situation. It is quite clear to me that the people who are engaged in this affair are clearly out of their depth. In the lead up to 1914 the Foreign Offices of many European countries were staffed by connected people whose only expertise was their ability to choose their parents, it appears that those in political positions today are chosen due to their ability to raise capital for politicians or as rewards for political service. These are not the “experts” who should be in charge and many more will suffer due to arrogance, myopia, and ineptitude.