McClatchy news quotes VP and Brent Scowcroft Center Director Barry Pavel on President Obama's approach to global affairs:

“My concern with the Obama approach is it’s very incremental, very measured,” Barry Pavel, a former National Security Council staffer for both President George W. Bush and Obama, said prior to the Thursday announcement of additional restrictions on Moscow. “He’s not been good at wielding negative tools. He’s better at wielding positive tools.”

Pavel, now vice president of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank, and director of its Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, pointed to the 3-year-old conflict in Syria, where Obama has been reluctant to intervene. Obama has insisted that Syrian President Bashar Assad must go, Pavel said, “but never gave Assad a single negative incentive, never took a single negative action.”

Similarly, the initial sanctions against Russia, Pavel said, were limited enough that he feared Putin “must be thinking, ‘Wow, they really are as wimpy as I thought they were.’ I would have taken sanctions and cranked them up to the point where they immediately cause Putin and his core accomplices to feel enormous economic and other pain."

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