Crimea began the week as part of Ukraine, yet ended it as part of Russia. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin probably did not see his bid to assert control over the Ukrainian government in order to prevent the former Soviet state from moving closer to the West turning into such a calamity, he acted knowing the US and the rest of the International Community would not start a war over Ukraine or any former Soviet State.
That said, America and the rest of the world is not afraid of Putin, thus the Russians will pay the price for Putin’s decisions. On the other hand, Putin will never fear the International Community or America. Expanding sanctions will probably not force Putin to return Crimea. In fact, they probably will not prevent him from taking further action against any nation he deems to be a threat, including Ukraine. Consequently, economic sanctions can only weaken Putin’s power in time.
Putin has built his throne on prosperity; sanctions will threaten that prosperity. Although Putin’s popularity may be on the rise for “standing up” to the bossy, know-it-all West, Russian patriotism will only go so far and last for so long. Unfortunately, Putin is the type of person who is willing to tear his country apart to hold onto power when his poll numbers starts to reflect the pain Putin has provoked and his opponents start to feel the pressure to become more active.
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