Victor Yanukovich, the former president of the Ukraine, is in exile in Moscow after being ousted by the Ukrainian citizenry. In one of the bloodier revolts we have seen in recent years, the Ukrainian people rose up in rage after Yanukovich turned down an economic deal with the European Union in favor of a large financial bailout by Russia. The Ukrainian people never supported siding with Moscow, instead favoring closer ties with the European Union. The people revolted when faced with the possibility of coming under the sphere of Russian influence.
Thus far, President Obama has done nothing and said little, reluctant to use tough rhetoric against an opponent that has already made him look like an incompetent fool in the last couple of years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking this opportunity to flex his muscle in the Ukrainian unrest while he knows the US government is too weak and timid to stand up to him. He is using this as an example to the world that the American super-power status is no more. He is attempting to rebuild a semblance of the Soviet Union in the absence of strong American leadership.
Obama's statements on this development remind me of his "red line" he drew against the Syrian government's attacks on the Syrian people. We all saw as Putin took control of the Syrian conflict away from Obama and managed it to his own satisfaction while the US President was unable to achieve a single objective of his own. The conflict in Syria rages on, Assad is still firmly in power and he still possesses most of his chemical weapons stockpile despite the passing of early disposal deadlines.
We now see an obvious military provocation by Putin. Russian military transport aircraft have begun bringing troops and equipment into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. Russian Mi-24 "Hind" attack helicopters have been conducting flights over Crimea. The troops have seized several airports in the region and have waved off customs officials, stating they have no need of their services. A day prior to this larger invasion, a dozen or so armed men seized control of local government offices in Crimea and raised the Russian flag over them. The men wore no uniforms, but it is my professional opinion that these men are either Spetznaz or GRU operatives. There are also approximately 150,000 Russian soldiers that have been quickly mobilized near the Ukrainian border for what Russia has referred to as "military exercises". These so called "exercises" also involved hundreds of tanks and aircraft and at least 80 naval vessels.
As Russia invades sovereign, industrialized nations the US leadership has announced that we are cutting the size of our military to it's smallest numbers since WWII. Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that "climate change" is one of the largest threats to global stability. President Obama has shifted his focus this year to climate change, minimum wage changes and "equality".
This invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces may very well lead to a major rearmament by major European Union powers who believe that they can no longer depend on the ability of the US to stand up to aggression from Russia. We have already observed a major military buildup in the most influential of the EU nations, Germany.