Roughly seven in 10 Americans view Russia as a threat to the United States, a new poll released Friday shows, the highest percentage since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Sixty-nine percent say Russia presents a "very" or "moderately" serious threat to America -- up 25 percentage points since April 2012, according to the CNN/ORC International poll.

It's a good time to have friends in Eastern Europe. Leaders in the region, who have reacted to Russia's occupation of Crimea by expressing fears that they could be next, are now taking solace in their alliances. "Thanks be to God, we are NATO members," exclaimed Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite last week.

But it's nuts to talk about Ukraine the same way. Putin didn't invade Crimea because the decadent West was aimlessly sunning itself on a warm beach somewhere. He invaded Crimea because America and the EU had been vigorously promoting their interests in a country with deep historical ties to Russia.

Less than a week before Crimea's referendum, emotions are running high. Residents of the southeast Ukrainian peninsula who want to see their region cede from the nation and officially become part of Russia sense victory is round the corner. The U.S. and Europe say the vote -- and the Russian invasion that prompted it -- are illegal, but CBS News' Elizabeth Palmer reports that thousands of pro-Russia demonstrators on the streets of regional capital Sevastopol don't care.

Crimea, which made its debut in most Americans’ consciousness by way of being recently invaded by Russia, is an extremely picturesque tourist destination. While news media is inundated by images of Russian military forces occupying the Ukrainian peninsula, the businesses that depend on Crimea’s normally-robust $5 billion tourism industry are wringing their hands.

The question can be risky. When a Moscow historian who compared Putin to Hitler for invading Ukraine posed it in a newspaper column last Sunday, he was fired from his job at Russia’s most prestigious university. Elsewhere, however, many now believe it has become reasonable to ask. Has Vladimir Putin lost his grip on reality?

On Thursday a senior Indian official appeared to endorse Russia’s position in Ukraine in recent days, even as Delhi urged all parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the diplomatic crisis. When asked for India’s official assessment of the events in Ukraine, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon responded. 

In a thoughtful post on Ukraine and Vladimir Putin's decision to invade it, Ross Douthat suggests that the incursion was plausibly connected to White House fumbling in Syria. He begins with a nod to those who disagree. "Many writers I read and respect are dismissive of the idea that concepts like 'toughness' and 'credibility' and 'resolve' meaningfully shape the behavior of foreign actors," he writes.