The crisis in Ukraine has captured global attention and is generating a wide spectrum of opinion on its causes and solutions. Newspapers, blogs and other media are publishing a variety of commentaries and editorials on what’s to be done and who’s to blame.
Each day, VOA will curate a selection of these editorial opinions, highlight selections, and offer them for our readers’ consideration.
The opinions expressed below are, of course, those of the authors, not the Voice of America.
"Ukraine Crisis as a Poker Game" Editorial by USA Today.
"In that long game, the U.S., the European Union and NATO have many more cards to play – if they can agree on a strategy for playing them.
"The ace in the American arsenal is its rapidly growing energy supply, which is expected to make the U.S. a net exporter by about 2020. It can't be deployed quickly, but as Europe's – and particularly Ukraine's – dependency on Russian gas declines, Putin's leverage will fade.
"So, too, may his economy if rising supplies drive down prices for the oil and gas on which it depends. It turns the tables on Putin, who has repeatedly used energy as a weapon.
"Despite his fanciful perceptions that Ukrainians are natural allies of Russia, he might find that an attempt at takeover will buy him a rebellion – or that Western pressure will bring economic consequences he cannot afford.
"Crimea could be lost, which is disturbing given similar Russian behavior in Georgia in 2008, but the U.S., the EU and NATO can attain their longer-term goals if they can muster the kind of determination, unity and patience that won the Cold War."
"Vladimir Putin's Many Lies on Ukraine" Commentary by Haroon Siddiqui, Indian-Canadian journalist and political columnist, published in the Toronto Star.
"In Crimea’s rushed referendum, there’s no clear question and there won’t be a clear majority. The ballot choice is not between yes and no — it is either yes to joining Russia or yes to autonomy that would pave the way for Russian annexation.
"The peninsula’s minority Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, more than a third of the population, are boycotting the vote. They rightly do not want to lend legitimacy to the ethnic Russian majority’s machinations being carried out at Moscow’s behest.
"This is a referendum being held at gunpoint after a Russian military takeover that is a violation of international law as well as bilateral treaties.
"Putin is lying when he says that he is “only answering the call for fraternal assistance by Russian citizens.” Ukraine’s eight million ethnic Russians who speak the Russian language are citizens of Ukraine.
"In handing out Russian citizenship papers to some of those ethnic Russians, especially in Crimea, Russia is violating Ukrainian law, which does not allow dual citizenship."
"For Putin, a Possible Pyrrhic Victory" Commentary by David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist, published in the Washington Post.
"Will the Ukraine crisis prove a major turning point, tipping the world toward a new Cold War? Despite the obvious dangers of confrontation, many analysts say that’s unlikely.
"Should Crimeans endorse independence as expected, the Russian parliament may raise the ante by voting to annex the region. But what may follow is a period in which the region’s status is legally undefined and the United States continues to seek a compromise between Kiev and Moscow.
"Putin could disrupt that by encouraging unrest in Russian-speaking cities of eastern Ukraine, such as Donetsk and Kharkiv — and threatening further intervention. But that risky course is unlikely.
U.S. officials also doubt that Russia will sabotage the chemical-weapons disposal agreement in Syria or the international negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
"Putin has a personal stake in both, and they are symbols of Russia’s influence. If he were to scuttle such diplomacy, it would deepen Russia’s isolation.
"Putin must also be careful about the domestic consequences of his Crimea putsch.Yes, it has brought him popularity in Russia as a tough, nationalistic leader. But it may also encourage secessionists in Dagestan, Chechnya and other potential breakaway regions."
"Ukraine Crisis Resonates in Taiwan" Editorial by the Taipei Times.
"These incidents and claims bear a startling resemblance to what Taiwan faces. Echoing the tug-of-war of opposing allegiances in Ukraine, Taiwan is divided between those who advocate Taiwanese independence and others who support unification with China.
"Also, China, which makes no secret of its ambition to annex Taiwan, has long worked to sabotage Taiwan’s sovereignty with its “united front” tactics.
"The cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement has pushed Taiwan’s economic dependence on China to historic highs, not to mention the sociopolitical costs that came along with the agreement, which helped China’s strategy of inserting itself “into the island, into households and into the brains” of Taiwanese.
"Despite its independence and international recognition, Ukraine still displays such helplessness against Russia’s blatant aggression and brazen disregard of its sovereignty.
"One can only imagine how the predicament facing Taiwan could be even more treacherous, as this nation lacks UN membership and still struggles for international recognition."