With Russia’s economy tanking, the country’s president Vladmir Putin has been attempting to shift the blame towards the West, specifically the global decline in oil prices and U.S. led sanctions.
Putin, who said that Russia had the right to annex Crimea, has called the economic sanctions recently put on Russia in response to troubles in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, “useless." Even Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, have dismissed the idea that the sanctions have had any real impact considering that the crisis in Ukraine is ongoing.
President Obama, however, views Russia’s economic downturn as a sign of the sanctions working. In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, Obama rejected the idea that he has been “rolled” by Putin and maintained that his foreign policy strategies have been successful, pointing to the sanctions as proof.
“There was a spate of stories about how he is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other,” President Obama said. “And right now, he's presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction. That doesn’t sound like somebody who has rolled me or the United States of America.”
In the CNN interview, Obama also criticized a view on foreign policy strategy that he believes is too often held and not necessarily effective.
“There is this knee-jerk sense, I think, on the part of some in the foreign policy establishment that shooting first and thinking about it second projects strength,” Obama sad. “I disagree with that.”