Just a few months ago, the Russia/Ukraine crisis was blotting out the sky and some observers were warning of (or cheerleading for) a new Cold War, and/or blaming Obama for “emboldening” Putin or whatever. Now it’s as though the whole incident slipped into some sort of time warp for a while, until this week. Kevin Drum has a succinct assessment of the apparent abandonment of the secession movement in Ukraine by the Boss in the Kremlin:

That Putin. He’s quite the guy, isn’t he? It appears that he eventually figured out that Ukraine wasn’t going to fall neatly into his lap, and the cost of fomenting an all-out war there was simply too great. It turned out that Ukrainians themselves didn’t support secession; Western powers were clearly willing to ramp up sanctions if things got too nasty; and the payoff for victory was too small even if he had succeeded. So now he’s had to swallow a new, more pro-Western Ukraine—the very thing that started this whole affair—along with the prospect of renewed anti-Russian enmity from practically every country on his border.

But he got Crimea out of the deal. Maybe that made it worth it.

Can’t take the geopolitics out of geopolitics, it seems.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.