One of the more vivid political talking points to come out of Washington in the midst of Russia's military incursions into Ukraine is that Russian President Vladimir Putin carried out such provocative actions because Obama's failure to enforce his "red line" on Syria and commence with a bombing campaign this past fall signaled to Putin he would not face consequences. Whenever the United States fails to act with violence abroad—a rarity, writes John Glaser—you have politicians and pundits howling about America's "credibility" being at stake. But anyone who actually believes Putin took military action in Ukraine because Obama backed away from his plans to bomb Syria illegally, doesn't know anything about international relations.
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