From The Telegraph
As Ukraine descends into civil war, the Western world is reduced to the role of spectator. It is begging President Vladimir Putin not to launch a full-scale invasion of his neighbour, but it knows that if he does – or if he leaves it to the Russian -backed mobs causing mayhem from Donetsk to Slavyansk to the historic port of Odessa – any “punishment” will be brief and laughably weak.
The sanctions imposed so far are as hypocritical as they are ineffective. Britain is the epicentre of the global business of laundering Russians’ reputations. The Russian oligarchs to whom caps are doffed are now living a double life in London: they own large chunks of the capital city of a country with whom their president has entered into a proxy war.
For all the harrumphing in Whitehall about the Germans’ obeisant dependency on Russian gas, or the characteristically ponderous approach of President Obama, it is the UK’s business model that makes a laughing stock of claims to be making Mr Putin’s pips squeak.
The Russian leader knows that we are not serious and that is why his assault on Ukraine is but the start of his mission to reinvent a Soviet Union in all but name. Western policymakers have long been in denial. One needed only to read his own pronouncements to understand Mr Putin’s intentions. A decade ago he spoke of the collapse of the USSR as “the biggest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.
Stalin is rehabilitated in schools. Dissidents are punished. Journalists go missing. Television stations, newspapers and the Internet regurgitate Kremlin propaganda. ...
Mr Putin is in for the long haul. In his 14 years at the helm, he has never been more confident than he is now. He is spoiling for a fight that would give meaning to a presidency he assumes will run for a long time more. He could use the latest bloodshed in Odessa to send in the “official” troops, or he could hold back, allowing Ukraine to disintegrate. Mr Putin’s immediate task is to render that country ungovernable so that presidential elections on May 25 will not be able to be held or will be considered illegitimate.
The dismembering of Ukraine will lead to more demonstrations of Kremlin-orchestrated “people power” by Russian minorities in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and then even into the Baltic states that fall under the Nato mutual defence shield. That will be the gravest danger of all. Mr Putin has got away it with it so far. He is beginning to sense that nobody has got what it takes to stop him.
Here is the link to the entire article: Ukraine crisis: Western world reduced to role of spectator - Telegraph
Is there realistically any hope that the West will "assert itself against Russian expansionism by extricating itself economically, particularly in terms of oil and gas supplies"--eventually, at least--as the author of the article suggests? Or is that merely wishful thinking?