(CNN) I recall being an undergraduate in Russian Studies at Amherst College when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. I was flabbergasted when then-President Carter initially expressed surprise that Leonid Brezhnev and his cronies decided to undertake that ill-fated adventure. Just the little I knew of Soviet history at that time led me to conclude that one should never be naïve about Russia. Wisely, the Carter administration soon implemented a wide-ranging and powerful set of sanctions against the USSR.
By comparison, Barack Obama is now making Jimmy Carter look like Attila the Hun with a series of empty threats and "too little, too late" punitive measures against Putin's Russia.
On February 28, President Obama warned Russia not to take military action against Crimea, and if he did so, serious "costs" would be imposed. A few weeks later, Crimea was annexed to Russia and virtually no serious "costs" have been incurred from U.S. sanctions.
Now Obama and our European allies have virtually conceded Crimea, but again warn Putin that we really mean it this time, that if you take military action in Ukraine outside Crimea, you will be really sorry! […]
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