Foreign affairs
March 3, 2014

It's anyone's guess how Russia will act in Ukraine over the coming days and weeks. The New Yorker's David Reminick, who spent years reporting out of Russia, and who recently wrote a fascinating analysis of Putin's worldview, argues that the situation could get much worse before it gets better. To justify the invasion of Crimea, the Russian parliament "repeatedly echoed the need to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine — a theme consonant with the Kremlin's rhetoric about Russians everywhere, including the Baltic States," he writes. "But there was, of course, not one word about the sovereignty of Ukraine, which has been independent since the fall of the Soviet Union, in December, 1991."

If this is the logic of the Russian invasion, the military incursion is unlikely to stop in Crimea: nearly all of eastern Ukraine is Russian-speaking. Russia defines its interests far beyond its Black Sea fleet and the Crimean peninsula […]

It's also worth noting that, in 1968, Moscow was reacting to the "threat" of the Prague Spring and to ideological liberalization in Eastern Europe; in 1979, the Kremlin leadership was reacting to the upheavals in Kabul. The rationale now is far flimsier, even in Moscow's own terms. The people of the Crimean peninsula were hardly under threat by "fascist gangs" from Kiev. In the east, cities like Donetsk and Kharkov had also been quiet, though that may already be changing. That's the advantage of Putin's state-controlled television and his pocket legislature; you can create any reality and pass any edict. [The New Yorker]

So far, the U.S. and other Western powers have condemned the Russian incursion without calling for forceful consequences beyond sanctions. That could change if Russia indeed decides to solidify its grasp on Crimea, or push on into Ukraine. Jon Terbush

court reports
4:15 p.m. ET

Creator of black market website Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced to life in prison Friday. 

After its 2011 launch, Ulbricht ran the underground cyber-bazaar, where anonymous users spent bitcoin on narcotics, hacking tools, and fake identification, for about two years before he was arrested.

Ulbricht received the maximum sentence for his felony convictions of conspiracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Stephanie Talmadge

Only in America
3:52 p.m. ET
iStock

A Texas high school senior was suspended and barred from graduation this week after a can of Bud Light was found in a cooler in his truck. Quintin Walker says he didn't realize the single beer can was still in the soda-filled cooler that his mother had packed for a family picnic the previous weekend. "I worked 12 years to walk across that stage," Walker said. "It's just crazy." The Week Staff

indictments
3:19 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert reportedly paid off a man to conceal past sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times. A federal grand jury indicted Hastert on Thursday for allegedly evading currency reporting requirements. He reportedly withdrew the cash to give to an unidentified person, who one official claimed is a man Hastert wanted to conceal a past relationship with.

The alleged misconduct, which one source called "sex" and the other confirmed involved sexual abuse, dates back to Hastert's stint as a Yorkville, Illinois, high school wrestling coach and teacher, LAT reports.

"It goes back a long way, back to then," one source told the paper. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office." Julie Kliegman

raise a glass
3:14 p.m. ET

Yes, we know that Bud Light basically tastes like water anyway. But for victims of the devastating floods in Texas and Oklahoma, actual drinking water is essential right now. Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, which makes big-name beers like Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Corona, and tons more, decided to halt beer production at its Georgia brewery in order to produce 2,000 24-packs of drinking water, which are currently en route with the Red Cross to flood victims in Texas and Oklahoma.

"It's something we're uniquely positioned to do," brewery manager Rob Haas told NBC. And for once, we can truly say we are thankful for Big Beer. Samantha Rollins

2016 Watch
2:43 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to formally enter the 2016 presidential race June 3, a source told Politico on Friday. Chafee's spokesperson told MSNBC there'd be a "major announcement."

Chafee, 62, became a Democrat midway through his term as governor, which ended earlier this year. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Chafee is slated to speak at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He would face Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and likely former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (expected to announce Saturday) in a Democratic primary. Julie Kliegman

guitar-player-in-chief?
2:23 p.m. ET

There have been rumblings that former two-term Maryland governor Martin O'Malley will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. But if you prefer guitar picking to "rumblings," let the video below help you make your decision:

O'Malley, who BuzzFeed reports is trying to position himself as a more authentic alternative to frontrunner Hillary Clinton, is set to make a special "announcement" Saturday in Baltimore, and will head to the crucial election states of Iowa and New Hampshire soon after. Samantha Rollins

For those who have everything
2:20 p.m. ET
Courtesy Quiksilver

A standard-issue wet suit might be stylish enough for many surfers, but a True Wetsuit ($2,500) "lets you go straight from the boardroom to the beach," says Diana Bruk at Esquire. Each suit is made of neoprene from the tie to the trouser cuff, so it's completely waterproof ("a useful asset at the office when you spill coffee all over yourself"). Quiksilver, a Japanese retailer of surf and snowboarding gear, makes it in three styles, including a slim-cut tuxedo. "If you love riding waves but hate the mundane, skintight look of a wet suit, the stylish solution of your dreams is here." The Week Staff

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