It now appears that the Crimean Peninsula, previously famous for O Pickett's Charge, O the Light Brigade, O the Russian Black Sea fleet, O Tartar sauce, O nude beaches, has been O stolen, or O repatriated by Russia, per the outcome of a(n) O legal or O illegal referendum, whose results O should or O should-not be relied upon, because its vote was O coerced or O nearly unanimous. The Crimean economy is a net O contributor or O burden on the rest of Ukraine.
BTW, check the boxes if you can locate the following on this unlabeled map: O Ukraine in general, O Crimea in particular, O Moldova, O Estonia, O Georgia, O France, O don't forget Poland. Here's a labeled key.
Ukraine itself is O oil-rich, O Europe's breadbasket, O a steel industry powerhouse, O the home of Chernobyl. Since it gained independence from the USSR in O 1945, O 1991, O 2004, it has operated as a O democracy, O dictatorship, O kingdom, O kleptocracy.
The current crisis began when protesters took to the streets, demanding closer ties with O the European Union, O Russia, O China, O the USA. After demonstrations turned violent and O 10, O 100, O 1000, O 5000 demonstrators lost their lives, the Ukraine ruler O fled in the night, O was impeached, O was tried for treason and executed. The provisional ruler was O elected, O appointed, O seized power. His name is O Klitzko, O Romanov, O Yatsenyuk, O Zhivago.
BTW, there were nukes in Ukraine prior to its independence. Are there still nukes in Ukraine? O Yes, O No, O Oh dear God.
Ukraine's biggest trading partner is O Russia by a lot, O the EU by a lot, O Russia and EU about the same. The level of Ukraine trade with the EU is O 2X, O 5X, O 10X, O 20X its level of trade with the US. Russia's economy is the world's O third, O eighth, O fifteenth biggest. It is the US's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner; the US is Russia's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner.
The US interests in this crisis include: O commitment to freedom-loving people everywhere, O promotion of democracy, O containment of Cold War-style Soviet adventurism, O support of our NATO allies, O maintenance of trade ties to Ukraine, O deter aggression by others elsewhere, O fight terrorism, O does the name Chamberlain, Neville ring a bell? In the overall galaxy of US interests, domestic and international, these interests are O crucial, O strong, O weak, O irrelevant.
To promote these interests, the US O should or O should not be ready to risk a nuclear confrontation, and spend militarily O $1 Trillion/10,000 US troop deaths, O $100 Billion/1,000 US troop deaths, $10 Billion/100 US troop deaths, O nothing beyond our ongoing support of NATO (22%). To maintain this commitment, I would O raise taxes or O increase the deficit.
BTW, this is a good time to ask: how do you view this situation in comparison to the uprising in Georgia in 2008? Is it: O basically the same, O completely different, O the south will rise again.
Putin's Russia is intent on: O territorial expansion in every direction, O securing the location of the Black Sea fleet, O restoring the glory of mother Russia, O facilitating the wishes of the Crimeans. They will O stop now, O continue to annex provinces in eastern Ukraine, O seek to take-over the entire country. They will continue until O the economic sanctions kick-in, O NATO responds militarily, O they reach Paris, O they are now done, O can we get them to consider Texas?
Who is primarily responsible for the West's response to Putin: O the EU, O NATO, O the USA as the world's indispensable country, O the Ukrainians, O the United Nations.
Okay, hawks and doves ? fire away! What would you do, as Commander-in-Chief? Be sure to recognize all the effects of your strategy. And if your comment contains the word "weakness," explain how a country that has just fought 2 $Trillion-dollar wars half-way around the world, and spends more on the military than the whole Rest of the World, Combined, projects weakness.