There's been a lot of pearl clutching and wringing of hands over the current situation in the Ukraine. And of course the corporate media and the right wingers want to paint the conflict over there in black and white and make it out to be a good (USA and the west) versus evil (Russia) fight. But it's not, it's deeper and more complex than that.
Notice how Ukraine shares a border with Russia. So no matter if you, neo cons, talking heads on CNN, or people who love to flog the ghost of Ronnie Reagan like it or not, Ukraine is in the sphere of Russian influence. Russia is it's largest trading partner and Russia will take any destabilization in the Ukraine as a threat because they share such a sensitive border. They share not only a border, they share a common language, a common religion, and a common history.
This current unrest wasn't sparked by some freedom loving Ukrainians who suddenly want their country to be the 51st US state, it was actually sparked by western politicians. They gave the Ukrainian leadership an ultimatum that basically said, "If you want to join us in the west you have to stop being so cozy with Russia." Of course this ultimatum didn't go down so well with Putin and the Russians,so they backed the recently deposed president, and to be sure he is one unsavory character who has learned the worst traits of leadership from his buddy Putin. But, there you go, back someone in a corner and tell them to make a choice, and this is what you get.
Let's be clear here, there are many in the Ukraine who want to be more western and to leave their historic relationship with Russia behind. And there are many who want to tell the USA and the west to go fuck themselves and remain Russia's BFF. It's probably near 50/50, and that's why they're fighting each other and why it may get worse over there. I know two things for sure that will happen if real riots and even more fighting breaks out over there and they are that Russia will send troops in and that if the USA or NATO sends troops in, it will be like throwing gasoline on a fire.
People who hate Obama will demand he send in troops and this will be the worst thing he could ever do. If we send in troops it will be tantamount to invading Russia, which we already did once back at the end of World War 1. The best thing we can do is to work towards a diplomatic solution that avoids us or NATO sending in troops or bombs. We're already reeling from Bush/Cheney's wars of terror on Iraq and Afghanistan, we don't need to lose any more American lives on foreign soil in dubious wars fought for specious reasons.
Remember, we've been in Russia's shoes in situations like this before. We've invaded most every country in central and south America for a lot less then what's happening in the Ukraine. Historically we've used the Monroe Doctrine, which said that anyone other than us interfering in any country in north, central, or south America would be looked on as aggression and therefore would lead to war with us, to cover our bluster and bravado, just like the Soviets used to brandish the Brezhnev Doctrine, which said that any attempt to convert Communist countries to capitalism would be looked on as an act of aggression and would lead to war with the USSR. So basically, what Putin is doing now is updating the Brezhnev Doctrine in a post Communist world, he's protecting what he feels is his turf.
I'm not agreeing with him, I'm not saying what he's doing is right, I'm just saying it is what it is. If the Ukrainian people want to become more western and join the west, then fine, so be it, but on the other hand, if they want to be Russia's best buds and trade with the country that has historically been their partner, albeit at times an abusive partner, then they should be allowed go that route if they wish it. I don't want bloodshed, riots, or full scale civil war over there. I also don't want Russian troops occupying Ukraine, and I especially don't want to see NATO or US troops on the ground over there. This crisis needs to be solved diplomatically even if, no, especially if, the chicken hawks on Fox News hate it.