For John, BLUF: Things are still in doubt. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Over at the blog Duck of Minerva Professor Sean Kay gives us "America’s Strategic Dilemma in Ukraine". Professor Sean Kay is the Robson Professor of Politics at Ohio Wesleyan University and Mershon Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University. His forthcoming book is America’s Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism, coming in August.
At the end of the article we have this final paragraph:
The Ukrainian situation is serious, and it is destabilizing to the immediate region. It is highly possible that, if it escalates, we will need to bear significant costs and risks. These should be limited, however, to diplomatic, intelligence, and economic tools. And we should be clear-eyed with ourselves what this means. If the situation escalates, then we risk losing essential Russian engagement on North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program, and Syria. We risk economic retaliation against European allies at a time of continued deep economic difficulty in the Eurozone. It will mean owning economic responsibility for rebuilding Ukraine – requiring many tens of billions of dollars of loans from the American treasury. So, our policies need clear eyed realism – and they need to start with the basic assumption that, as bad as this is, our main interest is that it de-escalate and fast.As Professor Kay suggests, this isn't about looking good in the shower. It is about not slipping on the soap.
Regards — Cliff