When in doubt, it’s often useful to suspend judgement and list as many variables as you can, this situation is no different.
- Since it’s probable that a majority of Crimean citizens want to join Russia anyway (I write this before the referendum participation % and outcome are known), you either make them happy and a minority unhappy, or it’s the other way around.
- The Crimea used to be part of Russia anyway
- However outdated a concept, it’s Russia’s “back yard”
- We can’t stop Russia anyway. The US is relatively exhausted by two very expensive wars with very dubious results and a financial crisis to boot. The EU has too many problems of its own (euro induced) and is financially and militarily weakened.
- What are we’re going to do anyway? Not fight, surely.
- Sanctions are likely to hurt us considerably as well, depending on how Russia retaliates
- We need Russia’s cooperation in other fields (Iran, Syria, North Corea, nuclear non-proliferation, fighting terrorism, etc.). Perhaps it’s better to concede Crimea in return for favors/concessions elsewhere.
- It’s a flagrant violation of international law, territorial integrity (the latter guaranteed not just by international law but by a 1994 treaty in which both Russia and the US guaranteed the borders of Ukraine in return for the latter to give up nuclear weapons).
- If not stopped here, who knows what Putin’s next step will be (the ‘1938 M￼nchen’ argument).
This is certainly not exhaustive. Feel free to add/detract/comment, here