I have no idea what [the National Journal’s Ron] Fournier is talking about here, as far as [Russia] invading Crimean making “no sense.” It is a standard goal of nations to hold militarily-advantageous ground, and a warm weather port is a classic example of such.
I certainly don’t wish to say Putin was justified to invade a country in order to play his Empire Games. But anyone who says that standard imperial behavior “makes no sense” ought to read a history book.
Or look at a map.
The Russians are absolutely going to be all about improving their western port situation. That’s why they insisted on keeping sea bases in Crimea: they need them for their Black Sea fleet (and remember: the Black Sea connects to the Mediterranean*). That’s why they never gave up Kaliningrad (that isolated chunk of Russian territory between Poland and the Baltic republics): it’s got their only year-round ice-free Baltic ports. Mind you, this says nothing about whether geopolitical considerations like these area legitimate excuses for the Russians to be bad neighbors (in my opinion, they are not legitimate excuses): merely that the Russians do in fact have recognizable goals in mind.
And they didn’t stop having those goals just because we elected a foreign policy naif.
PS: I know the meaning of the word just fine, thanks. It’s our media that are the ones with the problem.
*Every regional player is very aware of this, and pretty much all of them have fought wars over who would control the access point.