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The Russian invasion: Sanctions, now

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Monday, March 3, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Russia will pay a steep price for its bloodless (so far) invasion of Ukraine's Crimea region. And we're not talking militarily.

Ever the opportunist, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin marched thousands of troops into the eastern part of Ukraine over the weekend. No shots were fired. He was taking advantage of Ukrainian instability and Crimean sympathies as the former Soviet state attempts to transition into a true democratic republic after routing Putin's puppet president, who fled to Moscow.

Some are of the mind that Putin's invasion places Russia in the driver's seat. To wit, as John Fund notes in National Review Online, controlling Crimea, Putin now can strangle Ukraine by, say, building a new natural gas pipeline to Europe and threatening to shut down the current pipeline.

But it's easy to forget how fragile Russia's economy already is. And the worldwide economic sanctions sure to come could cripple it. While Russia might “succeed' in a narrow sense with its Crimea takeover, from a “strategic perspective,” it will be a disaster, writes Russia economics expert Mark Adomanis at

“It will seriously weaken an already stuttering economy and will poison relations with a host of countries with which Russia needs to have productive working relationships,” he says, calling the naked act of aggression “a blunder of historical proportions.”

Of course, that blunder can't be fully realized until the world community puts those sanctions in place and Russia is made to own it.

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