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If Europe doesn't care, should the U.S.?

Of course, we are the indispensible nation! Even so.

As the White House struggles to calibrate sanctions against Russia, Europe hangs back. Some say if the U.S. leads, Europe will follow. President Obama argues, if U.S. companies stop selling gizmos to Russia, European companies will happily supply them. In the meantime, energy companies have rushed to reassure Russia, not to worry. They will keep on investing.

NYTimes headline: U.S. Weighs Harder Line on Russia Than European Allies

Here is the list of sanctions announced by Washington on Monday.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Isn't the real problem here that there isn't really a good solution to this problem.  Nobody is willing to stand up and say Stop! nor are they willing to force the issue because of that.  Other than a few real whacko Republicans, I can't think of anyone willing to go to war over Russian annexation of Eastern Ukraine.  And sanctions are a long term solution which need to be very strictly enforced to have an impact. To the extent they work at all.   Other than South Africa, I can't think of anyplace where they have been overly effective anyway.  And South Africa was in may respects a pretty unique situation.  And of course the extra complication here is that arguably, parts of eastern Ukraine, if not the who country, were for centuries allied with or part of the Russian empire, or the Soviet Union.  So there are historic ties. 

Agree! There is no good solution. You have to wonder if the War Battalion (McCain and Graham) aren't the Americans most interested in doing something, doing anything and the WH responds with the announced sanctions while Europe is grateful that McCain and Graham belong to us!  

The long-gone Austro-Hungarian Empire actually controlled large parts of Western Ukraine, and Poland controlled some parts at some periods. It would be amusing to have the Austro-Hungarians announce that like Novy Ruskey, they have claims for a novy a-h empire in Western Ukraine.

Here's a sober sentence from Fred Kaplan at CFR: "Yes, this crisis is about American will and determination (the rest of the world is watching, and all that), but it’s fundamentally about Ukraine. And, as even Timothy Garton Ash—that great journalist and advocate of a free and united Europe—has acknowledged, there’s no way Ukraine can be healthy, economically or politically, without a treatment that takes into account European and Russian interests."

His sober sentiments on sanctions: "The Sanctions Illlusion."

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