Crimea is Russian. What now?

For Russia.

What the next territory they are going to covet? ARe they going to push further in Europe? C Asia? The latter might make countries like China, Iran, Pakistan and India vert very unhappy.

For the West/US

The defence of Europe is once again a major issue. Will there be a significant increase in troops in Europe for the US (the current sending 6 planes to the Baltics is farcical). Withdrawal from the INF and NEW START?

They aren’t pushing farther anywhere. The whole idea that Russia is going to make a Russian-ethnic empire out of former soviet states was something dreamed up by some nutjob, probably on Fox News, to foment hysteria.

The Russians had four naval bases in Crimea, producing not negligible employment, long before this conflict surfaced.

Anyone who couldn’t see this outcome coming, wasn’t paying attention.

There was zero chance of Russia surrendering Crimea, all along, I think.

All the rest is just sabre rattling and posturing to appear strong to the electorate, in my opinion.

Ukraine and the US will never recognize Russian Crimea, so there will be tensions forever, which will require Russia to take more and more of eastern & southern Ukraine until there’s a little nation called West Ukraine about the size of New Hampshire.

I predict the opposite. This looks destined to blow over in a relatively short time. All this rhetoric we are hearing is much ado about nothing.

The only way I see it blowing over is if Russia refuses to annex it, and instead just insists it remain autonomous, with a forever lease on the Black Sea Fleet base.

Oh, it’ll blow over. The comically trivial sanctions placed against [del]Russia[/del] a couple of top Russians are a clear message that the Western leaders don’t really give a shit about Ukraine, and are just posturing for the cameras.

It’ll be years before Crimea is relabelled as Russian on official (Western) maps, but the de facto annexation just occurred, and is not likely to be undone.

Well, we keep hearing about the 58% ethnic Russians there, but we don’t hear so much about the other 42% comprising Tatars and Ukrainians who aren’t going to settle down and accept their fate. Russia is already securing the areas outside Crimea where the water and electricity comes in. I don’t see how Russia could not keep going.

Plus there’s all that juicy agricultural land, steel industry, huge natural gas reserves, off-shore oil, etc. Russia isn’t stopping until it runs into a large NATO force, which is probably not going to happen.

This is all a dream.
Russian federation is just annexing Reich-Style ethnic-russian population centers.
They aren’t going to rebuild USSR stretching from Germany to China because it was the ethnic mess that brought down the whole thing in the first place.

There is absolutely no threat to Europe or Asia.
The threat is for the ex-USSR states surrounding Russia that still harbor significant Russian population.

Really I expect USA & EU to do fuck-all about it on the ground. So Russia is set to constantly grow in power along with China independantly of the rest of the world.

The only question is what will USA do in long term.
USA dont have the means to back the old cold war mentality.
And thankfully so IMO. As a European to be honest I could care less about what Putin does in Crimea, Georgia, or some other Caucasian-Asiatic country over 1000km I have never been to: Its their backyard.

What else was Putin supposed to do: it’s not like the Russian military or electorate would appreciate him not taking actionto secure the uber significant Black Sea ports and ethnic Russians?

The West huffed and puffed and tried to be awkward, but the inevitable happened. Move on.

What’s more interesting is what happens in western (of what remains) Ukraine.

If by “interesting” you mean years of persecution and death, which you and **Anondragon2012 **don’t even try to hide your glee over because US bad.

I think Russia is going this far and no further.

Does it matter that this would create an exclave? I know Russia already has exclaves, but I can see the temptation to go just a little farther and take enough of the eastern Ukraine to have land access.

Don’t worry everyone! I think someone just assured us that we will, at least, have peace in our time. Nothing to worry about!

Unless Russia has some type of “strategic plan” then they just bought a mess. Ukraine provides all of Crimea’s power and freshwater across the Perekop Isthmus. Since there was already a problem with this in Sevastopol BEFORE the Russian invasion, how they plan on alleviating this without paying through the nose to do so, isn’t quite clear.

There’s also the matter of Crimean Tartars. Russia already has a low-intensity terror conflict going in the Trans-Caucasus- How they figure that they can manage two of these, especially since the West isn’t going to be too eager to assist, seems to have been forgotten in all of this. Ethnic cleansing isn’t as easy as it was in times past.

Finally, Russia is a basket case. 2/3s of its foreign currency is coming the sale of natural resources. For a nation of its size and with its complex problems, this isn’t a sustainable economic model. Coupled with its decreasing life expectancy and rampant social ills, taking on another headache in Ukraine seems to be a recipe for a slow collapse of Russia as a whole.

Unless Putin is “declaring victory” now and then quietly withdrawing in the next year or so, he just began what could be another Russian civil conflict. The last one didn’t work out so well for the country.

Ex-USSR states like Latvia and Estonia? (Both of which have populations that are a quarter ethnically Russian.)

Agreed, the USSR isn’t getting resurrected (though I do see Putin trying to turn the CIS into some kind of NATO/EU hybrid).

The Baltics are safe because of their NATO membership, Putin’s not an idiot.

I think they’ve played their ace and will go no further. There is always temptation, but its just speculation until it happens

Maybe he just wants a warm-water port?

He already had one:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novorossiysk