The U.S. and Europe need to focus on supporting the fragile new government in Kiev
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The results of the Crimean referendum on March 16, which will give the peninsula’s inhabitants the option of voting to leave Ukraine and formally retreat into Moscow’s shadow, are a foregone conclusion. Ukraine’s new government cannot stop the referendum from taking place, because it will not be baited into a military confrontation with Russia that it can’t win. There is nothing Americans and Europeans can do about it because there is no popular support in the West for NATO troops riding to the rescue. And there is no way for the Ukrainian side to win the vote, because Crimea is the only Ukrainian province in which ethnic Russians form a majority.