I am no general, so armchair is the best description of my thoughts.
However, the question is whether or not Putin is willing to roll over top of American troops if they’re already on the ground in the Ukraine. Next, would east Ukrainians stand up for Ukraine or for Russia, because Putin wants a clear pathway to the Crimea that is now in their hands.
So, would Putin roll over already present American troops? Their purpose would be cannon fodder initially, but to put them there would mean a commitment had been made to back them up with all out firepower if the trip wire were tripped.
How to get a credible force there in a brief amount of time. The initial force couldn’t be ship-borne. That would be no surprise. It would have to be a large force air dropped to a critical location regarding the massing Russian forces.
The only possible locations to launch nap of the earth airborne troops would be ideally from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, or Bulgaria. Would they even allow it? Certainly not if they saw spinelessness in charge of America.
The Ranger Regiment and a quick reaction brigade from the 82d would be the initial cannon fodder trip wire.
Would Putin attack or would he flinch? To force him to flinch, those troops would have to attack on any cross border incursion by Russian troops. We would have to be clear that this would escalate into the stratosphere if those troops were brought under fire in any way.
And then we’d be stuck doing another Germany for the next 50 years.
According to orthodox Russian military doctrine, they need all of those ports on the Black Sea AND THEY NEED TO BE DEFENSIBLE BY LAND to be militarily viable.
As long as Ukrain was (ostensibly but not in reality) neutral Russia wasfine with that. Ukraine served double duty acting as a buffer. That was tue best possible state of affairs for the Ukrainians and really for everyone. As soon as the Eurocrats began working to politically subvert Ukraine towards joining the EU the Russian response became carved in stone.
This isn't a situation where there are a wide variety of possible outcomes. There are only two.
1. Russia takes Crimea and the connecting part of the Ukraine.
2. What is left of the west holds what remains of Ukraine and Crimea afte the entirety of Russia's conventional and WMD arsenals are completely exhausted.
I have serious doubts as to America's ability to pull Europe's fat out of the fire in the wake of Congress aiding Obama into throwing the Middle East and North Africa into war including our up to now allies.
Who would be stupid enough to join a coalition with us as part of it, even to stop the Russians?
That’s a plan, but maybe surprise and risking large numbers of casualties would be unnecessary. Our Navy is already there along with nearby air and other support in various places. By Russia’s reactions to other events of the past decade or so, Russia wouldn’t get in the way.
But maybe the main problems are the obvious, bipartisan lack of American will to fight (markets, international trade, fuel prices, our Baby Boomer regime, socialist political factions fighting each other over the pile of recirculating debt, etc.) and lack of military budget. There’s also the obvious fear that China will move on something, if our military forces get involved in much other action. We’ve see a lack of will to fight Iran for over ten years.
What was once taught as being “unthinkable” in leadership doctrine is now routinely and publicly expressed, even by prior servicemen, including officers. The enemy is not only being allowed to build up. He’s allowed to move on allies.
Are they allies? That’s another previous assumption that’s loudly questioned in contemporary implications in bipartisan political speech.
Other recent news (shortly after the events in Ukraine)...
Kiev agitators trained in Poland claims Putin
As Ukraine tension flares, Russia test-fires ballistic missile
China Fields New Intermediate-Range Nuclear Missile (Gertz)
N.Korea Fires Multiple Launch Rockets
Putin Adviser Urges Dumping US Bonds In Reaction to Sanctions
We could easily deploy a few thousand troops into one or two positions that Russia would no doubt simply ignore. I cannot imagine them engaging in actual combat unless they are going to have reasonable expectations of support.
Given the current mindset of our current leadership, the Russians can easily count on no such thing ever happening, which reduces our most likely option to be bluster and saber rattling.
Which Obama seems to be willing to provide, exchanging showboating for domestic consumption for our remaining prestige and influence on the real affairs of the world.
"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. ― Thucydides