Kevin Drum, writing from the perspective of the Left in Mother Jones, predicts the US response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine:
Republicans will demand that we show strength in the face of Putin’s provocation. Whatever it is that we’re doing, we should do more.
President Obama will denounce whatever it is that Putin does. But regardless of how unequivocal his condemnation is, Bill Kristol will insist that he’s failing to support the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
Journalists will write a variety of thumbsuckers pointing out that our options are extremely limited, what with Ukraine being 5,000 miles away and all.
John McCain will appear on a bunch of Sunday chat shows to bemoan the fact that Obama is weak and no one fears America anymore.
Having written all the “options are limited” thumbsuckers, journalists and columnists will follow McCain’s lead and start declaring that the crisis in Ukraine is the greatest foreign policy test of Obama’s presidency. It will thus supplant Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, and North Korea for this honor.
In spite of all the trees felled and words spoken about this, nobody will have any good ideas about what kind of action might actually make a difference. There will be scattered calls to impose a few sanctions here and there, introduce a ban on Russian vodka imports, convene NATO, demand a UN Security Council vote, etc. None of this will have any material effect.
Obama will continue to denounce Putin. Perhaps he will convene NATO. For their part, Republicans will continue to insist that he’s showing weakness and needs to get serious.
This will all continue for a while.
In the end, it will all settle down into a stalemate, with Russia having thrown its weight around in its near abroadâ€”just like it always hasâ€”and the West not having the leverage to do much about it.
“Theodore Dalrymple”, writing from the perspective of the Right in Taki’s Magazine, predicts the European response.
[T]he Ukrainian crisis has once again revealed the European Unionâ€™s complete impotence. Physiognomy is an inexact science, but it is not so inexact that you cannot read the bemused feebleness on the faces of people such as Van Rompuy, Hollande, and Cameron, the latter so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain. Mrs. Merkel has a somewhat stronger face, but then she has the advantage of having spent time in the Free German Youth (the East German communist youth movement), which must at least have put a modicum of iron in her soul.
Be that as it may, Russia holds all the trump cards in this situation. It can turn off Western Europeâ€™s central heating at a stroke, and for Europeans such heating is the whole meaning and purpose of lifeâ€”together with six-week annual holidays in Bali or Benidorm. Therefore Europe will risk nothing for the sake of Ukraine, except perhaps a few billion in loans of no oneâ€™s money, a trifle in current economic circumstances. If Bismarck were to return today, he would say that the whole of Ukraine was not worth the cold of one unheated radiator.