Hawks are complaining that europe has been insufficiently belligerent in its response to Russian moves in the Crimea, blaming the declining military budgets in most European countries. But this focus on military hardware is misleading, since there was never any prospect of a conventional military confrontation with the Russian Federation, given that France and Britain are nuclear powers and so is russia. MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) rules here, and diplomacy and economic sanctions were always going to be the only realistic tools for resolution of the crisis.
The threat of economic sanctions would be more realistic if europe did not depend so heavily on russia for its natural gas. 40% of Germany’s natural gas and one third of Europe’s natural gas in general is imported from that country.
House Republican majority leader John Boehner (R-OH) unrealistically urged that the US export more natural gas to Europe to offset the Russian advantage. This suggestion implies a press to increase hydraulic fracturing, which is environmentally debilitating, a water hog, a water polluter, and is implicated in deadly methane and CO2 emissions that will sink Miami and New York. Submerging our own cities is not a very logical response to Russian adventurism. Others have urged that ukraine itself go in for fracking. Fracking is extremely expensive, especially if you count its environmental impact. Wind and solar are now at grid parity in much of the world with hydrocarbons, and since they are environmentally much less costly, governments should be putting in tax and other benefits to encourage rapid adoption.
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