Obama and the West's Ukraine Gambit Has Fizzled, and Now Putin's in the Driver's Seat
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Let's cut to the chase — short and sweet.
(1) The Obama administration's "strategic" gambit to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence — and ultimately annex it to NATO is in utter shambles.
(2) The referendum in Crimea — 85 percent of turnout, roughly 93 percent voting for re-joining Russia, according to exit polls — is a done deal, as much as the oh-so-democratic European Union (E.U.) keeps threatening to punish people in Crimea for exercising their basic democratic rights. (By the way, when the U.S. got Kosovo to secede from Serbia, Serbians were offered no referendum).
(3) The main rationale for the whole U.S. "strategic" advance — cancel Ukraine's agreement for the Russian naval base in Sevastopol — is up in smoke. Moscow remains present in the Black Sea and with full access to the Eastern Mediterranean.
All Aboard the Finland Station
The U.S. State Department has practically agreed to a federal and in fact 'Finlandized' Ukraine  which, by the way, is the solution being proposed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov right from the start, as this Russian white paper attests. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry — as when Moscow saved the "red line" Obama administration from bombing Syria — will go on overdrive to steal all the credit from the Russians. U.S. corporate media will duly buy it, but not independents such as Moon of Alabama. 
This "sensible" road map implies, among other crucial points: strong autonomous regions; Russian reinstated as an official language, alongside Ukrainian; and most of all political/military neutrality — that is, Finlandization. To get there will be the mission of a support group — once again, proposed by Moscow from the start — with the U.S., E.U. and Russia as members.
All that finally sanctified by a U.N. Security Council resolution (true, it could go spectacularly wrong, and most of all sabotaged by the "West.") And all that, as well, without Moscow having to officially recognize the regime changers in Kiev. In a nutshell; Moscow called Washington's bluff — and won.
So after that barrage of ominous threats including everyone from Obama, Kerry and assorted neo-con bomb-firsters down to minions such as Cameron, Hague and Fabius, the meat of the matter is that the Obama administration concluded it would not risk a nuclear war with Russia for the Khaganate of Nulands — especially after Moscow made it known, discreetly, that it would create the conditions for eastern and southern Ukraine to also secede.
Sweden, for instance, proposed an arms embargo on sales to Moscow. Paris took a quick glance at its industrial-military complex interests and immediately said no. Only the brain dead entertain the notion that Paris and Berlin are willing to jeopardize their trade relations with Russia. As well as the notion that Beijing would ever join sanctions against its fellow Group of 20, BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization member Russia just because of what they perceive as an increasingly irrational — and dangerous — Washington said so.
And, yet, Western hysteria of course will persist unabated. In the U.S., where it matters, the meme of the subsequent days will be, inevitably, who lost Syria and who lost Ukraine.
Here's the record: Dubya launched two wars. He (miserably) lost both.
Obama attempted to launch two wars (Syria and Ukraine). He — lucky for him — lost both even at the "attempt" stage. Assorted neo-cons and the whole exceptionalist brigade are predictably livid. Expect the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal to go ballistic. And expect U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha "R2P" Power to wish she were Sinead O'Connor singing "Nothing Compares to You."
It's a Gas, Gas, Gas, Not!