That didn't take long.
As I type plane load after plane load of Russian troops are landing on airfields in Crimea. It is highly unlikely it will be their only stop. NBC reports Russian President, Vladimir Putin sent this note to the upper house of the Russian parliament:
"Due to the extraordinary situation in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of Russian citizens and compatriots and the personnel staff of Russia's military forces based in Ukraine, according to international agreement: I submit a request to the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for the use of military forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the social and political situation in the country normalizes."
The Council gave a unanimous okay to the breathless request, then it's speaker petitioned Putin, through the council's committee on foreign affairs, to recall the Russian ambassador to Washington. That would be in response to President Obama's statement to the media indicating there would be "costs" to the Russians if they intervened in Ukraine militarily. According to council head honcho, Valentina Matviyenko, Obama's threat, "crossed a red line."
Of course the president didn't specify what those "costs" would be. In fact it is unclear what sort of costs, besides empty symbolic gestures, the United States and NATO members would, or could inflict upon Russia. The idea of NATO sending in troops to confront them is so far fetched no one, other than perhaps John McCain and Sarah--by golly--Palin would seriously consider it. It is doubtful there will be any economic sanctions since the Russians are sitting on vast amounts of oil and natural gas which large numbers of Europeans count on.That leaves some sort of diplomatic isolation, which Putin and his toadies on the council probably could care less about now that the Winter Olympics are over with.
NBC is also reporting the U.N. Security Council will meet today to discuss the crisis. In truth, however, the exercise will be a complete waste of time and oxygen. The Russians hold permanent membership and have the power to veto any measure which the body might pass and that includes something as minor as an official condemnation of their actions.
The thinking here is the Russians aren't going to limit themselves to Crimea, where 60% of the population regards itself Russian, rather than Ukrainian. Yes, at the very least they are going to carve Ukraine in half, then underwrite the new country, whatever it is called, with a huge influx of cash. Afterward Putin will let Kiev and the pro western parts of Ukraine go their own own way, which will eliminate the messiness of dealing with seasoned street fighters and perhaps Ukrainian security forces. The Americans and Europe won't be happy, but they'll deal with it. Or--the worse case scenario--Vlad the Impaler decides to go all Chechnya on the new Ukrainian government. He orders the tanks to roll right into Kiev, ignoring the outraged bellowing of Obama and everyone else from Poland on west, then, as they say, takes names and kicks ass.
Why not? It isn't like it would be the first time. Besides some old fashioned violence and rape is good for the troops' morale.
It is dark and dreary here on the southern plains. A heavy mist has coated the streets with an oily sheen. The big storm hits tomorrow with brute cold and snow. It is, in one way or another, a winter without end everywhere. Unfortunately, nature isn't the one at fault in Ukraine.
sic vita est