A good deal of U.S. commentary on Ukraine has focused on whether President Obama is being tough enough. The debate is both unrevealing and unhelpful to resolving the serious issue of how to handle a newly expansionist and nationalist Russia.
It is unrevealing because any U.S. leader would struggle to contain Russian actions in the space that falls within Russia’s former empire and outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. George W. Bush failed to prevent the Russian invasion and dismemberment of Georgia in 2008. And history is littered with other failures to change Russian and Soviet behavior.
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