That’s probably because it’s the only tune they know. To neoconservatives the only real consequences are violent consequences. Diplomacy, blech! We’ve got the best hammers, so of course all conflicts seem like nails. Now, of course, the most clever neocons will push for the types of punishment that could provoke a quickly escalating (even violent) response from the punishee, such as quickly ejecting Russia from the G-8, and openly building up the Ukrainian military.
The White House has announced its first attempt to punish Russia for its intrusion into the Crimea region of Ukraine. The Obama administration has chosen to start by targeting individuals working against the Ukrainian government with visa restrictions. Expect more of the same “Obama is weak (to foreigners)” outrage from the right. Examples one, two, and three.
Teddy Roosevelt advised us to “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The neoconservatives want us to keep beating people with the stick, lest they think you are weak. Also, many are pals with the stick manufacturing industry, so it’s about chicken hawk bravado and profit.
Try this. The Russian invasion is a violation of international norms. Until they act correctly, they should be further isolated from the international community and lose the benefits that inclusion brings. Take the list of all the sanctions imposed on Iran and North Korea. Put the list in order of severity. Every day Russian troops — yes, they are Russian; you’re not fooling anyone, Vlad — remain, another sanction from the list will be enacted. Putin will make the calculation that occupation of Crimea is just not worth it. He knows that at a certain point on the sanctions ladder he will face some serious dissent within the inner circles of his regime — much earlier than he could feel the pressure of an internal populist uprising of his own.