The Obama Administration’s response to the Crimean secession crisis has been threats and more threats, but while they present the world as united against Russia, the reality is that the EU is very uncomfortable with the US bellicosity.
The US is promising sanctions, travel bans, and asset seizures. There was even some talk of military action, with Secretary of State John Kerry and others saying “all options are on the table” over the Crimea.
The European Union’s foreign ministers have met on the issue, and they’re counseling restraint, urging mediation by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to settle the territorial dispute.
And while the EU left open the idea of sanctions in principle, a British government document shows that Britain, usually America’s de facto voice in Europe, is loudly opposed to sanctions against Russia.
The reason is simple: Russia is an important business partner for much of Europe. London is a key hub for Russian investment, and Russia is about the only nearby source of oil and gas that isn’t already closed by sanctions (Syria and Iran), or a complete disaster (Libya).