Russia has already lost
An interesting discussion tonight with a well-informed friend on the situation in the Ukraine. He argues that in the grand scheme of things the West is currently well in the lead and Russia is making the best of a bad position.
His hypothesis is essentially as follows.
- The best position for Russia would be to have a Russia friendly / client state Ukraine as a buffer between themselves and the West. After this a neutral Ukraine would be a second choice.
- It looks as though the Ukraine is actually moving towards the West.
- Even if Russia annexes the Crimea and the Don Basin, the response of the rest of the Ukraine will be to closely ally with the West. EU membership and perhaps even belonging to NATO is on the cards. This would mean that instead of the Ukraine being a buffer, the borders of the West would be right up against Russia.
- Given this, Russia is playing the best of a bad hand by taking the crumbs it can get now before even they fall out of its hands, but in reality they have pretty well lost (barring marching into Kiev and setting up a puppet state in Ukraine).
Interesting. I think he may have a point.