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Durbin on Ukraine: ‘I don’t think it’s over’

Before we work ourselves into too tight a knot over what we should have done to keep Russia from seizing Crimea, here’s a sobering thought from Sen. Dick Durbin, fresh from a quick trip to Ukraine.

“I don’t think it’s over,” he said, referring to Vladimir Putin’s attempts to claw back parts of the Soviet Union.

“What happens if the next target for Putin is a NATO ally? What if it’s Lithuania?” he asked. “I do believe we would keep our word there.”

At the moment, that doesn’t seem likely.

“More likely Moldova,” located between Ukraine and Romania, he said. “It’s got a kind of suspect national identity — that’s what the Russians will argue, anyway. Like Crimea, Russia already has a military presence in Moldova. And if you look at the map, it would put Ukraine in a bad position. They would be surrounded.”

When you think of senatorial junkets, Hilton Head and the Caribbean come to mind. The severity of the situation is underscored by the fact that eight, count ’em, eight U.S. senators raced over with minimum comfort.

“We went on a military passenger plane,” Durbin said. “We left Thursday night, flew all night, arrived in the morning, had meetings all day, hit the sack Friday, meetings all day Saturday, then back.”

No golf? No leis? No festive dinners?

“It was a commitment,” he said. “There was no fun. Typically on these, at least you do some shopping. That didn’t happen. I literally had a 10-minute stop at a street vendor.”