It didn’t take long after President Obama announced the implementation of sanctions against some of Russia’s high-ranking officials for Russia to not only respond in kind with sanctions against several U.S. senators but to openly laugh at the suggestion that the measures were any real skin off of their collective nose:
— Dmitry Rogozin (@DRogozin) March 17, 2014
As Krauthammer puts it, “if he thinks that sanctioning seven Russians, out of a population of, what, 150 million, is a sanction, he’s living in a different world.” I don’t know about Dr. K’s suggestion that we could get the Europeans to join in on real, robust economic sanctions, given their degree of energy dependence on Russia, but today’s announcement definitely amounts to little more than weaksauce symbolic gesture:
He’s being ridiculed by Russia, especially, because the statement and the policy are ridiculous. He doesn’t have a lot of cards, but he has some cards, and if he thinks that sanctioning seven Russians, out of a population of, what, 150 million, is a sanction, he’s living in a different world. The one thing that we could do is to respond to the Ukrainian request, when the president was here last week, they asked the Pentagon for weapons, and we said no, because somehow, to arm the victim of aggression is a provocation. … This response of, you know, we are not going to calibrate, as if Putin is, they’re going to sanction 11 Russians now, so I’ll have to stop where I am, is really preposterous. Again, if you’re going to do something, do it. Otherwise, say nothing, but this really is a humiliating response by a president who can’t even get the Europeans to join him in effective sanctions, which we could do.