So it begins. On Sunday night, Vladimir Putin's goons took over government facilities in three cities in eastern Ukraine. They are demanding a referendum on whether more Ukrainian territory should, like Crimea, become independent enroute to voting to be annexed by Russia.
Putin has, from the beginning of the Crimea crisis, responded tit-for-tat to Western sanctions. He has also raised the price of Russian natural gas exports to Ukraine by over forty percent. That is naked economic warfare against Kiev and a warning to others in Europe who are also dependent on Moscow for energy.
In addition, Putin is indicating that he intends to accelerate efforts the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians, among others, have been making for years to displace the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency.