The Russian incursion into the Crimea is the most alarming event of the twenty-first century. The Crimea is an area of land that juts out into the Black Sea, and used to be Russia’s main southern sea port. The Crimea has been fought over, and conquered dozens of times in the last two thousand years, including the Ottoman Turks, the Russians and later the Soviet Union.
The Crimea is also the subject of a famous poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of The Light Brigade“, a cavalry action in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. The poem immortalizes the disastrous British cavalry charge that was a frontal assault against a Russian artillery battery, a mistake caused by severe miscommunication on the battle field. At that time, the Crimea was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and the Russians lost that particular war to the British after having ruled over that area since 1783. The Russians got it back, later, and ruled the Crimea until 1917 at which time Russia morphed into the Soviet Union.
With the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1984, the Crimea became an autonomous district of Ukraine. As of last week, the Russians are back. It looks like they are there to stay.
The Ukraine is willing to fight for the Crimea, but doesn’t have the military muscle to oust the Russians. Europe has no military power to challenge the Russians. The United States does not have the leadership to challenge any threat, much less risk a military encounter with Russia. Our military weakness started with Barack Obama unilaterally withdrawing our defensive missile systems.
To this point, our leadership has made threatening noises to Russia that there will be costs. So, what are these costs, and would the threat of economic costs force the removal of the Russian troops?
Putin knew that our feckless leader, Barack Obama, has no options to force Russia to do anything. The Europeans have no power to face the Russians.
The Crimea is gone from the influence of the West.