Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama has few good options in his duel with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and U.S. sanctions are being scoffed at by Moscow.
"The president visited the pope. Thus ends the positive portion of our report.
“Mr. Obama spent the week trying to reassure U.S. allies and bolster NATO over Russia’s grab in Ukraine, but no real bolstering or reassurance happened. The U.S. and the West support democracy, free elections, and self-determination — but it was two elections in Ukraine that brought a brutal kleptocrat to power, impeachment via AK-47s to remove him from office, and a phony referendum in Crimea to ratify the Russian takeover of that region.
“U.S.-led sanctions have been imposed but Putin is laughing at them. Congressional leaders are saying the U.S. must get tougher but offer no roadmap as to how we are supposed to do that. Boots on the ground? Drone strikes? Special forces? Slow boats with natural gas that will get to Europe in 2017? Mr. Obama has no good options except to slowly and ploddingly follow former President George H.W. Bush's model of building a global coalition to isolate Mr. Putin. That will take lots of time, a lot of horse-trading (including spending), and a cooperative Congress. Good luck."
Zogby is the senior analyst for Zogby Analytics and author (with Joan Snyder Kuhl) of The First Globals: Understanding, Managing, and Unleashing our Millennial Generation.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.