really, i have not taken sides on ukraine so far, and in the first post where i sort of predicted an invasion (feb 27), i speculated that the us, faced with a similar situation, would consider military intervention too. but now let me point out a few things about putin. he consolidated his power and established his reputation with the chechen genocide. people claimed to be worried about security at the olympics, but there is no one you'd rather be handling your security if you don't care how it's done. he used tried and true techniques: rounding up the young man of, e.g., dagestan, torturing them, and dumping their bodies in shallow graves. he may be the richest man in the world, with all the feeling of impunity such a status bequeaths. he has no significant internal opposition, or threat to his political status; by a hundred techniques he has eliminated or isolated opponents. i don't regard him as a classic semi-cracked conqueror a la hitler or napoleon; but he is cagey and extremely aggressive and brutal when he wants to be. there is liable to be again something well-described as an empire when he is done.