"One can hope that the threat of sanctions could lead to a de-escalation and negotiation, but it looks increasingly likely at this point that we will head to stage two. Sanctions look set to intensify should Russia annex Crimea after this weekend's referendum. Given Russia's apparent intent in maintaining control over Crimea, they may have to remain in place for a while. Other measures outside sanctions to punish Russia may also be floated. In this scenario, the creation of 'off-ramps' becomes all the more important," writes CFR Senior Fellow Robert Kahn.
"Mr. Putin's view is understandable. Because there is no world government to protect states from one another, major powers are acutely sensitive to threats—especially near their borders—and they sometimes act ruthlessly to address potential dangers. International law and human rights concerns take a back seat when vital security issues are at stake," writes John J. Mearsheimer in the New York Times.
"The west's focus should be on Kiev as much as Moscow—on supplying the massive economic and political aid needed if Ukrainian politicians are to lay the foundations of sustainable democracy and economic revival. This will be neither cheap nor easy. I once heard a Russian oligarch complain that he could not do business in Ukraine because it was 'too corrupt.' There are no guarantees of success," writes Philip Stephens in the Financial Times.
Foreign Journalists in China Play by Beijing Rules