It has become increasingly clear that President Vladimir Putin is painting himself into a corner and getting our of his mess is not very easy. Putin assumed, after Sochi, that he was among the world leaders and no one dared to challenge his authority. After all, no one in Russia can contradict the man who fights tigers with bare chest. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Paris engaged in talks with European Union diplomats on how to gain control of the Crimea without provoking an economic disaster for both Europe and Russia. Lavrov insists military forces in the Crimea are from self defense groups in that area and are not under Russian direction. President Obama is demanding withdrawal and talking about sanctions and freezing assets. As one EU diplomat noted, “I don’t think the United States should necessarily be taking the lead on behalf of G7 nations.”
Obama has become so accustomed to being told how to conduct foreign policy by Republicans that he now seeks to be the one in charge even though other nations have not yet given him that authority. Most Europeans want to bring Putin to the negotiating table.
Step One: Provide sufficient funding for the new Ukrainian government so it can survive.
Step Two: Develop a plan of action that goes beyond the six o’clock news.