The Los Angeles Times quotes Eurasia Center Director John Herbst on Russian military exersizes taking place near the country’s border with Ukraine:
John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said Obama’s comments might have been intended to convince Europeans, who have been reluctant to penalize Russia over Ukraine, that the Russians “are not as strong as you think.”
But he speculated that a more likely explanation was simply that the comments reflected Obama’s frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Though Obama has generally been restrained in his comments on Russia, “he may be feeling, ‘I’ve had enough of this guy,’ ” said Herbst, who is now with the Atlantic Council.
He said that in his view, the comments were a mistake. They aren’t likely to persuade Putin to reduce his pressure on Ukraine, and could undermine the administration’s attempts to portray itself as the country acting with restraint.