07/18/2014 01:23 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2014

5 Instant Geopolitical Thoughts on the Horror in Ukraine

1, Foreign policy leadership is sometimes a matter of luck. President Obama's announcements of stronger financial sanctions against Russia a day before the Malaysian plane crash was extremely fortuitous. It put him in front of the issue, prevented Republican criticism over leadership and gained the White House the moral high ground.

2, The crash further demonstrates how Putin misplayed his hand in the Ukrainian situation. He has fanned a political frenzy in Russian media over Ukraine with bizarre implication and outright lies not seen since Goebbels' times such as the Ukrainians crucifying children. If it is true that the Russian backed insurgents using a missile given to them by the Russians caused the crash, Putin has become a pitiful hostage to his own media campaign. How does he back down from his policy while at the same time severe western pressure will prevent the policy from going forward?

3, The crash is now in cyber space. It was previously politically easy for European governments to talk the game but not follow through with strong sanctions. Now it will become more difficult. Putin has lost the war of social media.

4, Putin has destroyed any hope of accomplishing his original objective of preventing a Ukraine/EU alliance. The only way that can now occur is for an actual Russian invasion of Ukraine, which would have disastrous implications for Russia and the world.

5, Historically Russia's biggest fear is Germany. In Putin's huge misreading of geopolitics in the age of globalization his actions are now the catalyst that is causing Germany to molt from a very powerful merchant state that was afraid of its history into a global leader.