Putin's Recklessness

Now up on our homepage is an editorial about the situation in Ukraine.

As we go to press, Russian forces have tightened their grip on Crimea and massed along Ukraine’s eastern border. If they stop there, the worst can still be averted. However the United States and its allies respond to what’s already happened in Crimea, where most of the population is Russian, they must have something left, short of war, with which to punish Russia if it decides to invade the rest of the country. If they use up all the available sanctions to punish Russia for its takeover of Crimea, Putin could decide that he may as well finish what he’s started: better to be hanged for a sheep than for a lamb. The seizure of Crimea is reason enough for the United States to skip the G-8 meeting Putin was supposed to host in Sochi this June. But before we throw Russia out of the G-8 altogether—or start freezing Russian assets or issuing broad travel bans—we should wait to see what Putin does next. If his main purpose was to humiliate Ukraine’s new government, he’s already succeeded and may choose to stop while he’s ahead. In any case, our own purpose should not be to humiliate Russia, but to protect Ukraine and the rest of Europe from Putin’s recklessness. That will require patience and prudence, as well as nerve.

Read the whole thing here.

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