Kissinger’s solution to the crisis needs closer analysis: “it is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea. But … Russia would recognise Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine should reinforce Crimea’s autonomy in elections, held in the presence of international observers. The process would include removing any ambiguities about the status of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol.”
However, the rules of the world order were broken by the West and cannot easily be put back together again, as the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya can testify. Vladimir Putin seems to have learned lessons from the NATO intervention in Kosovo. Kissinger’s good solution is a few weeks too late. The delicate sovereign egg of Ukrainian sovereignty has been knocked off the wall, in an East/West tug of war that could lead to civil war in Ukraine and another Cold War in Europe. The annexation of Crimea is likely to be de facto. The real crisis will be if the West refuses to accept this, or if Russia seeks to annex further parts of Ukraine. The UN is side-lined and the OSCE may be leaning too much westward.