Atlantic Council Executive VP Damon Wilson and Board Director Stephen Hadley write in the Washington Post:
Vladimir Putin has done this before. When he invaded Georgia in August 2008, Western diplomacy and pressure denied him his ultimate goal: marching to Tbilisi and deposing Georgia’s democratically elected government. But Putin seized two areas, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that Russian troops occupy to this day.
The United States and its European allies imposed diplomatic and considered economic sanctions on Russia. The goal was to convince Putin that the strategic costs of his action outweighed the tactical benefits and to deter him from similar actions. These measures were reversed in the “reset” of relations with Russia that began in 2009. In retrospect, the measures were inadequate and their reversal premature. Putin was not deterred. Crimea is now in the hands of the Russian military, and Putin is projecting military power into the heart of Europe.