To all of the people out there that are criticizing my statement that the best thing that the POTUS can do over the Ukrainian situation is to shut his piehole and go play some golf, let me pose you one question:
If, as you seem to fear, Russia actually DOES have imperialist tendencies, and plans to attempt to invade all former Soviet areas and annex them (which I think is silly, but let’s just assume I’m totally wrong for the sake of argument) what position on Ukraine would put us in a better place to actually project strength and make sure Russia knows we aren’t screwing around?
Option #1 – We draw a line in the sand, where if Russia crosses that line, we engage them in hostilities (let’s say for the sake of argument, the invasion of any NATO state), and then we talk tough on the Ukraine, make threats, pass embargoes and sanctions and strut around like Team America, World Cop, but back all that bluster up with nothing when the chips actually fall where they may (because, let’s face it, people, we aren’t going to even launch a cruise missile at Russia over Ukraine or Crimea, much less hostilities any more involved with that, no matter which way you look at it). We aren’t going to do shit until Russia crosses that line, and Ukraine ain’t it.
Option #2 – We keep our mouths shut, and draw that same line in the sand, and when Russia crosses it, we tell him in our big boy voice “ENOUGH!” And then actually back it up if they don’t listen.
Option #1, I think, would lead Russia to think “aww, they’re just bluster and talk, we can keep going. They didn’t do anything before, why would they start now?”
Option #2 would grab their attention, and I think even a clinically insane Putin would find a way to retreat honorably rather than face the entire modern might of the US military, with 30 year old, degraded ex-Soviet equipment and an underpaid army.