Three words. Because he could.
Three words. Because he could.
It's astounding that for weeks the European and American political and journalistic establishments have utterly failed to understand that. But then again their predecessors in the 1930s couldn't understand such a simple concept either.
Russia is a totalitarian state. It has extensive territorial claims on its neighbors going back centuries and it considers the area its own private preserve.
The only reason Putin wouldn't send tanks somewhere is because there would be nothing to gain or compelling reasons not to.
His compelling reason not to currently consists of a pathetic Post-American joke in Washington and a NATO gang that was barely strong enough to knock off Gaddafi after several months.
The Russian military is overrated and couldn't stand up to a collision with NATO, but Putin knows that he doesn't have to worry about that. Most Western countries are sick of war and Western governments are concerned about popularity.
And entering Crimea is a test. All those stories about fascists roaming Kiev are a trial balloon for full intervention.
The Western fulcrum is America. Obama drew red lines on Syria and Iran and backed off. What happened next was inevitable. It's also incomprehensible to the Western elites whose religion is diplomacy.
As in Iran and Syria, Obama has passed the Ukraine test with flying colors as his officials distinguished between an invasion and an "uncontested arrival".
They couldn't have done any better if they had issued Putin a map of Kiev.
Western liberal elites don't understand that what was on the line in the Middle East and now in Ukraine was the credibility of the Great Western Peace. If Putin goes all the way, he does more than forcibly push Ukraine back into line, he utterly discredits NATO, Europe and America in Eastern Europe, finishing the process that Obama began with his missile shield betrayal.
And then it's game over.
U.S. President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that Moscow's deployment of Russian forces into Crimea is a clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and warned of greater economic and political isolation if they are not withdrawn.
The White House raised the possibility of sanctions, saying that "going forward, Russia's continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation."
Who's really being isolated here? America or Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded and won his parliament's approval on Saturday to invade Ukraine, where the new government warned of war, put its troops on high alert and appealed to NATO for help.
Putin's open assertion of the right to send troops to a country of 46 million people on the ramparts of central Europe creates the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, leading a government that took power after Moscow's ally Viktor Yanukovich fled a week ago, said Russian military action "would be the beginning of war and the end of any relations between Ukraine and Russia".