The Obama Administration’s “sanctions” against Russia for the Crimean referendum over the weekend are, as expected, just plain embarrassing.
In case you missed it, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia over the weekend, and Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t even have to register dead people to do it. Oddly enough, people in that part of the globe seem to like Putin and Russia.
As scheduled last week, that referendum result led President Obama to swing with a mighty battlecry into action Monday. By the time he was done, a whopping 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials were forbidden to travel to the U.S. and barred from using any U.S. banks.
Europe got even tougher, almost doubling down with sanctions against 21 Russians and Ukrainians … whom European authorities said they would name later.
You could practically hear “Eye of the Tiger” in the background as the sanctions were announced.
If Putin doesn’t change his ways, Obama may resort to wagging his finger and saying, “Hey, lighten up, jerk.”
I’ve been told that frustrated Obama Administration officials have been studying the original “Karate Kid” film for tips on how to handle Putin. (Sweep the leg.)
I hear Secretary of State John Kerry is particularly good at “wax off.”
Kerry was in Vietnam, you know. He is not a featherweight to be taken lightly. If Putin ticks him off, he could have his wife, Teresa Heinz, cut off ketchup deliveries to Russia.
The Obama sanctions made Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s day. Rogozin tweeted that he thought the sanctions list was made up by “some prankster.”
Addressing a tweet to “[email protected],” Rogozin asked, “What should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”
Putin adviser Vladislav Surkov was similarly unimpressed. He told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work.”
Putin announced that he would retaliate — tongue in cheek, perhaps — by sanctioning a bunch of U.S. senators and Administration officials. Sen. Dick Durbin is on the list, and Sen. John McCain was bragging Monday that he deserved to be on the list.
You can’t help but notice that the Russians’ reactions come across as dignified, somewhat bemused sarcasm, while McCain and others just sound like they’re vying for attention.
Obama was apparently being serious, if thoroughly pathetic, with his sanctions. Putin’s “retaliation” seems more like wry commentary. Even in a diplomatic hair-pulling contest, Putin seems like he’s in command of the situation.
If Obama continues on this way, we’re going to find him crying behind the gymnasium, his empty pockets turned inside out because Putin held him upside down and took his lunch money.
The Ukraine situation demands, and America needs, more than just bubblegum sanctions from a balloon-animal president.