Again, this unhappy situation is certainly not of Obama’s sole making. But the administration cannot be absolved of its responsibility to replace its old strategy of accommodation with something new: a firm foreign policy that mitigates the worst effects of Russian belligerency while holding out the prospect of improved relations in the future. This means standing firm on both Ukraine and Syria—not seeking to divorce the two issues, and certainly not condoning Russian power-projection abroad. Simply engaging in damage limitation will not do; a comprehensive strategy is in order. So many long-term security issues depend upon it.
Peter Harris is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado State University. You can follow him on Twitter: @ipeterharris.