Russia’s annexation of Crimea isn’t going to do much for its economy, security or global influence. According to the International Monetary Fund, Western sanctions and investor worries about rising tensions are making a weak economy weaker — raising the specter of economic “contagion” in the countries formerly comprising the Soviet Union. The damage could prove permanent if Western European countries go ahead with proposals to diversify their natural-gas supplies away from Russian providers. On the military front, Putin’s land-grab has forced policymakers in Washington to consider bolstering the U.S. military presence in Europe rather than shifting to the Pacific, and strengthened the case for buying new nuclear weapons (not to mention better missile defenses). As if all this were not enough, NATO is exhibiting a new-found sense of solidarity — which may result in deploying new forces near Russia’s border. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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