|At least Ukraine knows it has had a change of government.|
The hypocrisy is startling. But we cannot speak of a Russian annexation of Crimea without first addressing the EU's attempted annexation of the whole of Ukraine. What supposedly started as a "trade deal" was anything but. The EU Association Agreement was a fundamental shift in the balance of power in the region, which essentially tears Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, up to and including airspace and GPS satellite systems. As far as Russia is concerned, that puts Crimean airspace (over one of its major naval ports) under NATO control. To call this a trade deal is an outrageous understatement, and it was a threat Russia could not ignore.
This is less the product of "Western" foreign policy (as our commentariat insists on calling it) as EU regional policy. The US and their diplomats were the clueless Johnny-come-lately's who themselves have failed to recognise the EU game plan in action. The US mouthed the usual platitudes of freedom and democracy, but this crisis started in grey offices in Brussels, not the streets of Kiev. That anyone in the European Commission thought this would play out without provoking a response from Russia defies belief.
But as coups go, this was the least successful in the EU's history. The EU's greatest ever achievement was to establish itself as a government of a new nation (with an active foreign policy) without its population, and the United States, ever really noticing. The EU has a flag, a president, an anthem, a currency and by the back door, through (widely ignored) progressive defence integration, will soon have its own army. It is a nation in all but name, with unelected President Barosso pursuing an EU foreign policy in Ukraine. For all that William Hague may flap his mouth, British foreign policy is merely empty, toothless posturing which entirely takes a back seat to that of EU policy.
Ukraine may have have had its government changed by an external entity, but at least they are aware they have had a change of government. Brits are still, by and large, completely ignorant of the fact that Westminster is now a regional implementation office of a government they never elected - and never asked for either.