The Ukraine Crisis will be the defining moment for Western foreign policy in the early 21st century. The Soviet Union of the Cold War era had the military strength, however it carried an Achilles heel: an unproven economic system that eventually brought its downfall. We are not about to experience a second Cold War . Russia today is a far more dangerous adversary since it has both the military muscle and the far reaching economic strength that it has learned from the West.
Putin's Russia has quietly rebuilt its military along with developing major economic resources and connections, that the West and the world cannot ignore. Here is what we do know and what to expect:
Vladimir Putin has an extensive record of intimidation, trampling on individual rights, ignoring rule of law, clandestine operations, and has been actively preparing for this and other infringements upon former satellites and republics of the former Soviet Union for almost two decades. As long as Putin is in power the West is in for a rough ride.
The Ukraine Crisis is not a surprise! This has been years in the making! The timing could not have been better as Russia today feels confident economically and militarily that she can withstand any economic sanctions that the West can dish out. Unfortunately for the West, Russia is more than capable of standing alone. We are not dealing with Cuba or Iran.
The probability of the Ukraine being split from west to east is more than likely. The West can continue its sanctions and resolutions which mean little to the new Russia. Expect most of Eastern Ukraine to fall under Russian influence or annexed outright. There will be other developments as well.
The West will need to make it very clear "militarily" where it stands and be sure to communicate that directly with the new Russia. The sooner this happens the better.