Officials announced that Sunday's referendum showed 96.77 percent support to break away from Ukraine and join Russia – a tally that seems dubious.
Adm. James Stavridis added that serious financial sanctions on Russia should also be considered.
And the US knew that Russia was laying the ground to make a move on the strategically useful peninsula. Doing something about it is another matter.
Western options so far appear to be limited to diplomatic overtures and rebukes. But tensions are taking a toll on Russian stocks and bonds as well as the ruble.