I have to say something about the situation(s) in the Ukraine, I haven't had much time to post recently, being in the middle of moving house, so instead of a neatly constructed post this will take the form of a simple rant.
First reality: any attempt to deny Russia access to the Crimea would be similar to denying the USA access to the Panama canal... In America's case that would constitute an act of war.
There are those that even think Ukraine should join NATO. Great wars have begun on flimsier grounds than that too. Making a mortal enemy of Russia over the Ukraine would be incredibly stupid... The Poles might love that, but frankly, I don't think the Germans will go for it at all.
I think that I've said before that I consider that George H.W. Bush's defeat by Bill Clinton was a geopolitical tragedy. The difference between the treatment that a defeated German received from Truman and the Marshall plan and what Clinton's America did to Yeltsin's Russia seem astoundingly stupid if you think about it.
Nearly 190,000 Americans died fighting Nazi Germany and a defeated Germany was treated with great generosity. As far as I know, throughout the Cold War no Russian soldier ever killed an American soldier, we were even allies in defeating the Nazis, but when Russia was down, America led by Bill Clinton, kicked them in the teeth. and because of that the Russians have every right to be totally cynical about America's intentions and every right to consider the USA as a sinkhole of hypocrisy and Snowden's revelations only confirm that view.
Ukraine is in a ruinous state and neither the EU or the IMF nor the US Congress, for that matter are in any shape to fill its coffers even if the money wasn't immediately drained off by Ukraine's notoriously corrupt oligarchs, who occupy the entire political spectrum. That sound familiar? Certainly there seems to be a growing consensus (even among many American conservatives) that America's policy and financial elites are "mad, bad and dangerous to know.
I think it is simply frivolous idiocy to try to "contain" Russia. This is all being cooked up by the same neocon imbeciles that invaded Iraq... Victoria Nuland is married to the fellow who wrote, "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus". Cutting to chase: anything these people touch is tainted and will lead to disaster.
End of rant. DS