In Russia, the population-at-large receives its news from state-controlled TV that has long been churning propaganda. But since November, television, Kremlin's crude weapon of mass distraction, has ever more shrilly been agitating hostility toward opposition protesters in Ukraine.
Grand proclamations by Western politicians and pundits that Putin simply wants to restore the old Soviet and/or Czarist empire are useful only to those who seek a new Cold War, and if true, guarantee that will be the outcome.
It is urgently necessary that both Russia and the West find ways of withdrawing from some of the positions they have taken. Otherwise, the result could very easily be civil war, Russian invasion, the partition of Ukraine, and a conflict that will haunt Europe for generations to come.
At this point, we cannot undo the surveillance or what has been called cyber bullying. It is important, however, that American officials recognize the intensity of the European reaction, that it is serious, and that it is justified.
Is the example we want to set that the only repercussion for using chemical weapons against your citizens is simply that you no longer have the privilege to possess said chemical weapons (which were illegal even before they were used to kill innocent civilians)?