"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all the terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
Okay, we'll call it a win-win, even as mainstream media states Putin "blinked," and John Kerry talked about revolution and the global community. President Obama bristled at the idea Putin was tough or won, and that his actions were not "a sign of Russian strength." The fact of the matter is, Russian troops are in control of Crimea, and they didn't have to fire a shot. While it's true, nations should be leery of breaking up because of regional differences and allegiances (otherwise, Texas would be an independent country and Austin, too.)
These open-ended events are all too commonplace these days, to the point we can cheer retreat from Middle Eastern wars, and still claim -though, without a straight face - victory. While there is no doubt that public opinion is firmly against war in general, and the idea that America won in Iraq or Afghanistan is a folly, there are no variations of victories these days. Somehow, we've allowed politicians and the media to frame success in a way that enables indecisiveness, and in a sense make the next battle that much more difficult to win.
On the geopolitical front, there have been fewer victories, save the death Osama bin Laden. North Korea is belligerent, China is imperialistic, Japan is ready to rearm itself, Iran is playing cat-and-mouse in plain sight, and Syria simply signed an agreement knowing that it would never follow. We can demand that tyrants fork over weapons of mass destruction then allow them to skirt natural rules of humanity by dropping barrels of gasoline from helicopters, all the while not living up to their agreement after all.
The fact of the matter is for all the bluster, anger and frustration, and threats of economic sanctions, getting our "partners" on board against Russia is easier said than done since Europe relies so heavily on Russian oil, natural gas and coal. You say, Russia would be killing itself too...and I say, "What's your point?" Vladimir Putin is old school, and for him a victory could mean millions of his own people will die, along with the millions of acres of farmland burned to the ground and trench warfare.
Putin doesn't want it to come down to this I am sure, but 'if push comes to shove,' his definition of victory is a long and hard road.
President Obama can let the media shield him yet again on a decisive geopolitical loss, and hope the news cycle moves on to higher taxes and the plight of the poor being held back by the rich.