Very little can be said or should be said about the Russian annexation of the Crimea.
The West, in total, handed the parcel over to the Russian President like a Boxing Day gift. I will not endeavor to call it appeasement. (That is the task of my more realist and conservative colleagues.) What I will say is that the United States facilitated the move by illustrating weakness. Not since the end of World War II or the end of the Cold War has the United States advertised disarmament in the manner of the Obama administration. This was punctuated by the declaration that a military response was not an option. In this regard, Vladimir Putin was and is free to take as many pieces of his Western European neighbors as he likes.
Liberal International Relations theorists will dispute this claim. They will argue complex interdependence will keep the Russian Bear at bay. Yet, the Russians took hold of the eastern part of the Ukraine in a matter of days. Interdependence works both ways. It is clear that the European Union lacks the moxy to implement effective sanctions. This assumes that sanctions will even work. In the meantime, Secretary of State John Kerry will run around Europe, pimping American power to the highest bidder, attempting to keep the U.S. fingers in the dam. It isn’t surprising that Kerry has not gotten much from his travels other than some out of date peanuts and a passenger’s pillow. The “interdependence” is asymmetrical in nature because of Russia’s stakes: natural gas and oil.