LOS ANGELES —The mismatch of power has been a key feature of the conflict over Crimea.
During the past few weeks, President Vladimir Putin has called the shots and Russia has looked effective and resolute. The take-over of Crimea occurred overnight and without a single casualty.
Domestic support in Russia has been overwhelming, and Moscow quickly capitalized on pro-Russia forces on the peninsula. In true Soviet style, turnout was strong for the referendum and nearly unanimous. Formal annexation was swift.
In contrast, Ukraine and it nominal allies in the West have been caught off guard and have been on the defensive as they seek to cobble together a meaningful and united response.
In addition to an imbalance of power, the conflict over Crimea also is being fought on two different playing fields.
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