What Happens Next?

We’ve been having tons of conversations on Twitter about what Russia will do next and where it will go.
The question I keep coming back to is “Where does this end?” It’s easy to look at a map and draw a route to Transnistria, but would they stop there? What is to prevent them from moving in on Georgia again, for example? The rhetoric from Lavrov on Georgia has not been encouraging either. A direct route to those bases in Armenia would be nice right about now…
Maybe the better question is “how far does the West let Russia go?” And the unfortunate truth is that we will let Russia go pretty far.
Kerry keeps repeating that NATO is the line, but all that means is that the West is willing to sacrifice Ukraine for NATO. So Ukraine (or what is left of it) becomes a buffer state between and resurgent Russia and NATO?
Meanwhile the periphery states of NATO – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania begin major arms build-up. Romania and Poland get their missile defense. And then we sit and wait until somebody makes a huge tactical error (an invasion of the Baltics?), and the West is finally forced to respond.
I am not an expert on Kazakhstan, so I cannot speak for that, but it seems like the height of stupidity to open what would essentially be a second front. That being said, these people are not behaving rationally, so predicting anything at this point is a bit like betting on the gender of an unborn baby.

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