Critics to go Crimea river

U.S. pundits and policy makers alike have recently dubbed Russian president Vladimir Putin the 21st century’s rendition of Adolf Hitler.

Masquerading as a savior to Russians living outside the mainland, Putin is pulling the wool over the eyes of the West all during a territory grab. 

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton commented on Russia’s recent actions in Crimea, during a speech she gave at the University of California.

“If this sounds familiar, it’s [because it’s] what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” Clinton said. “Hitler kept saying that they’re [ethnic Germans not living in Germany] not being treated right. I must go and protect my people.”

If unchecked, some say, Putin will further expand Russian territory into Ukraine through both coercion and force. 

By no means am I attempting to write on the motives of the Russian president. 

That would take too much time and be much too inaccurate. 

However, what I can do is draw upon the current state of the international arena to make a general assumption about the next actions of Putin.

While also providing a set of guidelines for when one can expect Russia to act militarily. 

The first major argument against the theory that Putin will attempt to annex the whole of Ukraine is the inherent difference between Ukrainian and Crimean foreign policy. 

While the Crimean Peninsula is leaning east, Ukraine is reaching for European Union inclusion.

This is an act normally accompanied by North Atlantic Treaty Organization protection. 

Acting against the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization would produce a direct conflict with the West – an extreme escalation that would bring unwanted economic and military repercussions. 

Furthermore, Ukraine does not have the same ethnic make-up of Crimea. 

It is much less “Russian.” This prevents Putin from using the guise of being a savior to ethnic Russians. 

Third, and most importantly, Ukraine doesn’t want to be part of Russia. 

As opposed to Crimean citizens, who voted in favor of joining Russia, Ukrainian citizens do not share the same desire. 

This would make any takeover of Ukraine by Russia a hostile occupation, triggering massive Western scrutiny and staggering consequences. 

Putin has expressed a desire to expand Russian borders back to their Soviet-era size.

With this he understands that any action intended to do so must fall within the following confines. 

He must possess the upper economic or political hand, a window of opportunity must present itself and non-violent justifications must exist to counter potentially violent acts. 

His actions must not trigger meaningful international penalties.

But they also must be large enough to be worth the political, economic and military commitments necessary to succeed. 

When these conditions are present, expect to see a heightened Russian military threat. 

When they are not, expect Putin to reinforce his regime through other policies.