inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #26 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Sun 6 Apr 14 13:43
    
Yes, I've been looking at that a bit this afternoon.  Igor can
probably comment better than I can, but Sunday tends to be a big
protest day, and this has happened a couple of times now (the Russian
groups being aggressive in eastern Ukraine and calling for ties to
Russia).  It is entirely possible that they are both motivated as they
see it, but also being intigated by Russian special forces.  That would
give Putin leverage - as does the large build-up of troops at the
border.  At the same time, they know their military capabilities to
take - and hold - this territory are limited - and so this kind of
clandestine fingerholds to influence outcomes in Ukraine is perhaps
more the likely way these things woudl encroach beyond Crimea.  But
that said, in crises, perception and misperception can grow out of hand
very fast - and thus we continue to have major vital interests in it
de-escalating.  However, there is little evidence so far that we are
interested in addressing Russia's power plays with realpolitik
solutions (i.e. a deal leading to de-escalation).  Ultimately, I think
it is fair to assume we have been signaling carrots and sticks - i.e.
if Putin backs off, they can gradually gain back some international
prestige;  if they make bad calls, then the economic pain and isolation
will be serious, and so would the hardening of NATO defenses i.e. in
Poland and the Balts - which is also counter to Russia's declared
interests.  But other than that, until all sides will sit down and
align various interests, the risks of dangerous escalation remains -
tragic given all sides to share common interests at the same time in
that not happening. However, an essential first step would be for Putin
to remove the 40k troops 20-30 miles in to the Russian border with
Ukraine back to barracks.  For now, Putin seems to still be playing for
influence within Ukraine, a de-facto veto on its policies, and using
these kinds of pressure points to make those gains.  At the same time
there is major pressure on the new gov't in Kiev not to take the
Russian bait, and stay hands off on these things - as ultimately they
have to govern overall Ukraine, and also not all Russians in the east
are in lockstep with Moscow by any means...so this is not as clear cut
from the Russian point of view, as was Crimea - though all the more
reason why Putin also probably prefers subtle and covert pressures
rather than overt ones. We shall see.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #27 of 133: Angie Coiro (coiro) Mon 7 Apr 14 09:39
    
More on the developments this weekend:

<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/08/world/europe/russia-crimea-ukraine-unrest.ht
ml?_r=0>

>>In Kiev on Monday morning, the acting prime minister, Arseniy P.
Yatsenyuk, said Russia was carrying out a plan “to destabilize the
situation, a plan to ensure that foreign troops could cross the border
and capture the territory of the country.” He added, “We will not allow
this.”

Speaking at the start of a government meeting, Mr. Yatsenyuk said:
“There is a script being written in the Russian Federation, for which
there is only one purpose: the dismemberment and destruction of Ukraine
and the transformation of Ukraine into the territory of slavery under
the dictates of Russia.”<<

Igor, Sean, would appreciate your continued thoughts and analysis as
this develops today. 

Sean, in your comments above you referred to Sunday as a "big protest
day". Does the shooting death of an unarmed man cast this in a darker
light, with potentially longer-term impact, than just another Sunday
protest?
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #28 of 133: Angie Coiro (coiro) Mon 7 Apr 14 09:48
    
And this tidbit from the Washington Post: the less an American knows
about Ukraine's location, the more likely s/he is to want US
intervention there:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/07/the-less-america
ns-know-about-ukraines-location-the-more-they-want-u-s-to-intervene/

Presumably the four people who think it's in the US heartland are the
ones most fervently hoping the President will step up. 
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #29 of 133: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Mon 7 Apr 14 10:27
    

I'm wondering what the odds of there being an economic war over the
Ukraine. Right now it does not look likely that reverse flow would
occur but who knows what might happen if the situation deteriorates.

REFILE-Plans for EU gas flows to Ukraine could be blocked by Russia

  Reverse flows of natural gas from Europe to Ukraine to help it handle
  Russian price increases and supply cuts would be possible within
  hours once the infrastructure is in place, but the flows could require
  approval from Russia's Gazprom first.

  Ukraine is in emergency talks with the EU on importing gas from the
  West, pumping gas in the opposite direction to the original design
  of the pipelines, following a leap in the price Gazprom charges it
  for supplies.
  ...
  "For a reverse flow, you would have to stop the East-West flow in one
  of the (four) pipelines and reverse the flow. But you would have to
  have approval from Gazprom," the spokesman said.
  ...

<http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/07/ukraine-crisis-gas-idUKL6N0MZ29U20140
407>
http://tinyurl.com/mdxtxl7
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #30 of 133: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Mon 7 Apr 14 10:29
    

Then there's the cost to Russia for their actions:

Bank of America Cuts Russia Bond Recommendation on Ukraine Risks
<http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-07/bank-of-america-cuts-russia-bond-r
ecommendation-on-ukraine-risks>
http://tinyurl.com/mar8p4s
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #31 of 133: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Mon 7 Apr 14 13:03
    

Sean, can you please explain what you mean Russia is operating from a
position of weakness?

Here in the Czech Republic we see no shortage of rich and nouveau
riche Russians. Also Russia sits on considerable petro wealth as well
owns emerging arctic routes to connect Europe with Asia. So I'm
wondering how exactly is Russia weak compared to Saudi Arabia, or other
countries sitting on immense natural resources?
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #32 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Mon 7 Apr 14 14:52
    
What a bunch of great comments, questions and insights.  Thanks.  And
I appreciate being challenged on my own thinking so please do.  I'll
take all the new comments above and respond in this one note as best I
can.

1.  On the shooting;  it certainly doesn't help ease tensions.  I
don't think that one incindent will elevate things much; but it shows
the tenuous nature of the situation as it wouldn't take much for local
incidents to spin out of control, and then be used by Moscow to justify
intervention - as the interrum Ukraining PM is suggesting.  I do think
that there is a possible Russian goal short of dismemberment of
Ukraine - rather to stir chaos in the east, as a way to advance its
cause for federalism in Ukraine - i.e. forcing concessions out of Kiev
or the west on larger strategic issues.  Moscow thus might think it can
make gains by seeing chaos stirred up, rather than full on invasion
and trying to hold land - if the goal is political.  But its fluid. 
Russia could put some troops in there as "peacekeepers" as they would
call them, but they woudl find it, I think very hard to sustain
long-term operations and they would quickly be exposed on that front,
which could weaken their interests otherwise.

2.  That is a fascinating poll on the awareness of location, relative
to national interests and so on.  Polling so far shows most Americans
want a restrained response and only about 29% are in favor of a "strong
response" - though both things can be open to wide interpretation. 
Interestingly, when we were doing the first round of NATO enlargement
there were polls that showed 60% favored enlarging NATO - but only 10%
could name one of the countries (Poland, Hungary, and the Czech
Republic).  The American public is in a realist mode on these things,
having been clearly since Syria and measured for a couple of years now
in polls.  Its not hard isolationism like some paint it - but more an
awareness of the limits of power and the benefits of restraint.  But it
woudl be good if people could read basic maps - geography matters, big
time.  Even really well known analysts like Zbig Brzezinski have
referenced this as a threat to the heart of Europe or Central Europe -
Crimea is very distant from that though I can see well why people in
those areas feel more nervous at the same time.

3.  I'm not an expert on the pipelines, but my sense is getting that
infrastucture to work that way would be difficult in the immediate
term.  Europe is talking about diversification of gas flows - but we
are talking major dependences upwards of 80% in some countries;  and
Russia also had offered a cheap deal to Ukraine on gas is now calling
that back with the new gov't in place.  Some in the US are saying if we
would just frack more, we could export it to Europe - but we are
talking about a continent with massive economies and 300 million
people, also who are still in the depth of the Eurozone crisis.  So
structurally, they have very little desire to see this escalate, and
the Russians also are entirely dependent on the sale of that gas to
prop up their currency, finance debt, sustain their defense budget, and
so on.  But if it did escalate into a sanctions war, we would need to
be prepared to undergo very serious economic pain in Europe which would
inevitably feed back and damage our economy too.  All the more reason
to de-escalate this and pronto.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #33 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Mon 7 Apr 14 15:04
    
Woops - I hit post without addressing the last point - from the Czech
Republic.  Thanks for it.  I definitely get what you are saying, and it
fits with the previous point.  But also that point about the soft
nature of Russian banking, the massive capital flight out of Russia,
their miltiary is not capable of long-term sustained operations, and
they are increasingly isolated.  Yes, Russia is strong tactically in
its immediate vacinity.  But in terms of the kinds of aspirations some
are ascribing to Putin - i.e. a new Russian empire, threatening the
Baltic states, and so on - I see that very differently.  I see what is
going on as a part of the collapse of the Russian Empire as it was
established in the Soviet Union - and that this is a flare up of events
that have been going on for 20 years now in the "near abroad" as they
called it.  Russia has had economic growth in the last decade but
almost all petrol state stuff, and non-diverse economies are at risk to
external disruptions and fluxuations.  Moreover, they have other bad
indicators, declining birth rates, declining life expentancy, low per
capita incomes across the population and they are also coming out of
what ammounted to a great depression after the collapse of the Soviet
Union period.  So all things are, in this case relative.  Yes, Russia
has tacitcal advantages;  yes, Russia has taken Crimea and could move
further into Ukraine's east.  But overall, these are actions of
weakness, not actions of influence - as President Obama said last week
in Europe...and add to that the capital flight, their ability to get
loans, etc, all will be seriously undermined in the months ahead if
they escalate this further.  Part of my point is that to hear some in
the main western media present it, Putin is some kind of massive
hegemonic threat and thus we have to a) rush Georgia into NATO;  b) but
BMD in Poland;  c) move 10,000 troops into Poland and overturn the
architecture on which Russia acceded on the first rounds of NATO
enlargement;  d) have military exercises in Ukraine;  e) consider
nuclear infrastructure in the Baltic states;  and f) end the pivot to
Asia.  I've heard analysts of all stripes make these points.  But the
actual observable reality is that the balance of power ovewhelmingly
favors the "west" - the combined economic power and miltiary of the EU
countries - 2 million in uniform and 2 nuclear powers - even without
the US role in NATO totally overshadows what Russia brings to the table
- and the Russians well know this.  Europe is not well organized, and
America can't do the heavy lifting - so America will be pushing to see
what more its allies can bring to the table, along with some rotational
exercises through Poland and the Baltics - so far the governments are
calibrating that exactly as I would expect them to.  However, my main
point is that in some main media quarters there hasn't been a lot of
context.  Putin lost Ukraine and gained a piece of land they already
de-facto controled in Crimea.  What they have done is shrewed, devious,
and illegal - and they do have to be made clear both the values they
have broken and the costs they should pay for it - while also balancing
that against other broader national interests.  But losing Ukraine and
gaining Crimea is a loss for Putin, not a win.

This piece from the NYT today was very accurate on these issues in its
assessment - one of the best things I've read on it to date:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/opinion/putins-czarist-folly.html?ref=opinio
n

Sean
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #34 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Mon 7 Apr 14 16:30
    
BTW - thanks for the link to the Washington Post/Monkey Cage - those
are some really disconcerting numbers.  I recall polling at the start
of the NATO enlargement process which showed 60% of Americans supported
it, but only 10% could name a country being invited to join NATO -
back in 1997.

This section from the story is especially disconcerting:

"However, the further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from
its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene
militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic
characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we
found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they
wanted the U.S. to use force, the greater the threat they saw Russia as
posing to U.S. interests, and the more they thought that using force
would advance U.S. national security interests; all of these effects
are statistically significant at a 95 percent  confidence level. Our
results are clear, but also somewhat disconcerting: The less people
know about where Ukraine is located on a map, the more they want the
U.S. to intervene militarily."
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #35 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Mon 7 Apr 14 17:14
    
I see that little had changed during the last century. In fact, the
sole force - military or economic - remains the only criterion that
allows intervention in the affairs of other countries. Contrary to the
statement of the absence of direct interests and obligations in the
Ukraine, the U.S. is ready to go on a serious conflict with Russia,
directly referring to its weakness. Quod licit Iovi, non licit bovi,
right? I can not shake the feeling that the actions of the United
States are caused by a simple desire to put Russia in its place,
demonstrating that at the moment America is the only country that is
allowed to set the rules?
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #36 of 133: Ron Levin (eclectic2) Mon 7 Apr 14 17:21
    
A small minority of American idiots favor military intervention.
That's certainly not the position of the US government or informed
Americans who actually know where Ukraine is. 
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #37 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Mon 7 Apr 14 17:49
    
U.S. willingness to accept any power in Ukraine, if only this
government was anti-Russian, is just astounding. This is an extreme
degree of either incompetence or cynicism.
Living in Ukraine, I can see perfectly that the current government has
questionable legitimacy, is not competent or even democratic one, and
leading the country straight to disaster. Despite all this, it enjoys
the unconditional support of the United States. How can that be?
European politicians often  demonstrate a much more balanced view and a
better understanding of what is happening, but U.S. set the tone.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #38 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Mon 7 Apr 14 18:11
    
Ron:  Yes.  But there are alot of people arguing for actions that
would come very close to it - i.e. rushing Georgia into NATO, moving
permanent forces into Eastern Europe and so on.  Here is a pretty good
piece that lays out the folly in that:

http://warontherocks.com/2014/04/avoiding-the-guns-of-april/

Igor - I worry a lot about the dynamics you right about.  As a lot of
the earlier discussion laid out, we have been ourselves over-stretching
the US into Ukraine - and many neoconservatives in particular believed
that it was a good path to showing Russia we were the dominant power
and they should get over it.  We should not be suprised that this kind
of thinking has caused a backlash, as illegitimate as Putin's behavior
is.  But I think that Ron is right that key decision-makers now fully
engaged - Obama/Kerry/Hagel - generally advocate for restraint and
caution and they have that right, to my mind.  On the other hand, as
you would note, at the same time we were involved as we know in the
events running up to this, and that too is hard to escape - but from
the liberal internationalist view which embraces spreading democracy
despite other nations interests in how that looks, was self-reinforcing
and failed to understand that other powers generally behave more like
realists would expect.  Only a realpolitik solution will get us out of
this, and I'm most concerned that the Clinton era liberals and the
neoconservatives will not embrace that outcome and thus it makes
resolution more difficult and in the end only increases the likelihood
of further instability.  But, we shall see.  Russia is limited and
itself constrained in terms of what it can do.  All have interests in
de-escalation.  But as we know with conflicts like this, finding a way
out for the weaker adversary is sometimes the toughest trick of
diplomacy.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #39 of 133: Julie Sherman (julieswn) Mon 7 Apr 14 19:55
    
I am forgetting my manners. Off-WELL folks who want to ask a question
or make a comment should send their questions/comments to
inkwell@well.com.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #40 of 133: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Mon 7 Apr 14 20:54
    

Thanks for that pointer to the NY Times opinion piece - I now have a
great phrase, "insalubrious extremists", to use as the occasion warrants.

I also did not know about the Muslim Tartars in Crimea. I wonder
how many restive Russian republics/oblasts/okrugs there are
that might want to break from Russia in the future?  Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_subjects_of_Russia
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #41 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Mon 7 Apr 14 23:09
    
Sean, Crimea Tartars have their very own reasons to be scared. These
reasons have nothing to do with religion. The point is that many of the
lands where they have settled, do not belong to them. It's the result
from land seizures, which the weak government of Ukraine of nineties 
could not resist. It is considered that more that 5000 acres are
seizures in that way. Now they afraid that Russian government may try
to evict them from these lands.
Also, Russia _is_ a federation and it includes Republic of Tatarstan
as well. Where, by the way, Tatar is an official language along with
Russian - a right which the nationalists who came to power in Ukraine
categorically denied to the Russian citizens.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #42 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Mon 7 Apr 14 23:16
    
Today there is another alarming news about the use of mercenaries from
Greystone Limited to quell protests in eastern Ukraine. Is it just a
rumor or a repetition of Iraqi scenario?
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #43 of 133: Make my next one decaf. (jonsson) Mon 7 Apr 14 23:51
    
Is there any speculation or discussion anywhere regarding how Russia
might evolve into a legitimate trading block, such as the Euroasian
Union Putin talks about?  

Is there a 3rd way on the table anywhere that would be less disruptive
to the Ukraine regarding its symbiosis with the Russia federation, and
its natural desire to appropriately trade and communicate with the
'west'?

Beyond linguistic nationalism, what hard existential and economic
realities also influence the Russian speaking populations of Crimea and
Eastern Ukraine to favour being part of the Russian federation?

Have any lessons been learned on how to deconstruct and reconstruct
economies and societies in a way that is less disruptive as well as
more just and sane since the 1990s? 
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #44 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Tue 8 Apr 14 01:14
    
I believe that Ukraine could stay an independent state between the
West and the East and such state of things would satisfy most of its
population. So the references to Finland, although somewhat naive, are
based on a certain ground and have the right to exist.

The saddest thing is that the nationalism, although existed twenty
years ago, was not a problem threatening to existence of the state in
Ukraine. It was persistently cultivated by the politicians in their own
purposes. In a way it was created artificially. And considerable share
of the responsibility lies on the western politicians, eager to
encourage anyone who declares his adherence to democratic principles.
There is a certain irony in the fact that it is the same trap that once
the USSR got trapped, supporting any cannibal regime in Africa, ready
to "build socialism".

As to lessons learned... well, I suppose we are in much worse
situation than it was then. Now we have the billionaires who control
the whole economic, an enormous state debt and the government serving
them. 
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #45 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Tue 8 Apr 14 04:41
    
Igor raises one, among a number of, really great point - in that
Russia itself is an internal federation, with the potential for
breakaway regions.  This is one theory some hold as to why Putin feels
he needs to look "tough" and take back Crimea, as a signal to internal
regions inside of Russia. I'm not so sure about that, given what we
already know they did relative to the Chechnya region under Yeltsin and
Putin.

The issue of economics is important as was also raised above - thanks
for raising that.  This is an area I know less about but would mainly
offer two things.  First, there isn't going to be a way the new gov't
in Kiev can goveran all of Ukraine without assuaging and integrating
those Russians who live especially in the east.  That said, there are
many Russians who live in the east but who share Ukrainian identity and
would prefer to see Ukraine integrated towards the EU.  Its less clear
cut, thus than say Crimea.  Moreove, I was a meeting 2 weeks ago where
I was given some data - I don't have it now - but the general point
was showing a lot of Ukrainians travel across into Russia for work, and
they would simultaneously not want to see relations go sour.  As to a
broader integrative dynamic in the region - Putin has sustained the
main soviet legacies of integration in terms of gas flows and also ties
to friendly gov'ts as he sees them like in Belarus and has they had
previous in Ukraine.  Interestingly, Kazakstan has been pretty distant
from Moscow in this whole affair.  The reality is though that proximity
and geogrphaphy makes these economies all naturally integrated to
degrees.  The real problem for many is single product or crop
economies, lacking diversification and the dramatic move of wealth up
into the elites/oligharchs and the absence of independent rule of law
and deeply built civil society.  If Ukraine gets major IMF loans its
going to have to do massive economic restructuring which will be very
painful for many there, even destabilizing.  But these countries have
lagged and the early protests mainly focused on corruption in the
Ukrainian economy.  I'm skeptical how much the EU can or will do here
given the ongoing Eurozone crisis - meanwhile too much integration with
Russia stirs these legacy conflicts...so its a dilemma and a tragic
one for those who aspire to a basic sense of freedom and independence
caught in the middle.  Ultimately, though for the long run Russian
elites need to realize the limits of being a petrol state and really
look for ways to diversify their economy for the long-haul, as the NYT
piece points out.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #46 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Tue 8 Apr 14 04:55
    
A small addition to your words about the level of integration:

A.A.Grigorovich, chairman of the Moscow regional branch of the Union
of Ukrainians in Russia: 

'Moscow officially home to about 450,000 Ukrainians, but actually, of
course, more of them around 700-800 thousand. Many residents of Ukraine
arrives to work, they are not registered, but make up our society.'
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #47 of 133: Igor Karpov (karpov) Tue 8 Apr 14 05:17
    
An unusual (at least, to me) point of view: >>Russia’s brazen
annexation of Crimea has generated a flood of proposals to reinvigorate
and expand NATO.  Doing so would make America less secure.<<

<http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2014/04/07/washington-should-not-defend
-ukraine-or-expand-nato-u-s-should-shift-responsibility-for-europes-defense-to
-europe/>
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #48 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Tue 8 Apr 14 06:01
    
What is reall important about Doug's view is that it illustrates the
deep disconnect between how this is viewed in many of the advocacy
quarters in Washington regarding NATO, and how Doug's views are much
closer with where the American public is on these issues, as supported
by opinion polls.  Since my own argument for a long time has been that
America's interests lie in getting its allies in Europe out front, and
not perpetuating a permanent dependence of wealthy countries on
American power, I find a lot of his argument appealing.  And, I fully
concur with his critiques of some of the ideas being floated around. 
Fortunately, so far, none of them appear to be popular within the Obama
adminsitration - and Congress doesn't seem to be chomping at the bit
on this given budget realities.

Here's is something similar I wrote at the outset of the crisis:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-kay/nato-russia-crimea_b_4915042.html

Sean
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #49 of 133: Sean Kay (seankay11) Tue 8 Apr 14 11:18
    
http://news.yahoo.com/how-putin-is-losing-in-crimea--a-reality-check-180005512
.html

This is also an excellent read, but a good friend, Michael Cohen, that
I highly recommend.  He puts some good data points on a few of the
issues that have been raised here.
  
inkwell.vue.476 : Sean Kay, The United States Confronts New Challenges in Ukraine and Russia
permalink #50 of 133: Angie Coiro (coiro) Tue 8 Apr 14 14:54
    
NATO is warning Putin to back off, but the ultimatum lacks specifics -
just "grave consequences". 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26941799

Sean, if you could do a little bead-reading for us: is this indicative
of real potential for acceleration, or more posturing? Does posturing
carry any real weight at this point?
  

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