White House shoots first, with no questions later, with Russia

U.S. officials’ blustery but seemingly inconsequential reaction to Russian intervention in Ukraine sums up failures in foreign policy by President Barack Obama and his administration. In effect, the White House has made the mistake of attempting to shoot first – with an empty gun – while not even asking questions later.

It has been clear for some time that Russian leader Vladimir Putin intends to prevent Ukraine from forging economic and perhaps military ties with the U.S. and the European Union.

So, the pressure he is putting on a new, anti-Moscow regime in Ukraine comes as no surprise.

But in using military force, Putin has been far more wily than Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Russian troops in the Crimea region of Ukraine are supported by a large segment of that area’s population. Even local officials seem pleased to have them there – because they fear the new Ukrainian central government. A civil war is not beyond the realm of possibility.

But Obama and Kerry ignore that reality and continue to threaten Putin with … what? More angry words?

U.S. officials should back carefully away from the Ukrainian crisis, at least until they have a better understanding of it. For now, they have demonstrated they lack that.

The way to get reaction from Putin is to take Russia out of the energy equation worldwide by aggressively developing natural gas supplies and become the stronger player in that world market.

Hollow words don’t work with the likes of Putin.