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Even that non-binding language ended up being watered-down due to opposition from members such as Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat who expressed concerns over anything that involves drilling and fracking.

The discussion set off some unseemly moments in committee that exemplified why Congress may be more unpopular in the U.S. than Mr. Putin is. Trying to have things both ways were several members, notably Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican who claimed he supported Mr. Poe’s amendment but would not vote for it because it would undercut congressional “unity” on Ukraine.

“The most important thing we can do as a U.S. Congress is to show unanimity on this issue,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “The addition of this [natural gas] amendment will create division that will be perceived by the Russians as a Congress that is not united in support of the Ukrainian people.”

Just imagine Vladimir Putin’s comments in the Kremlin: “Comrades, this action by the U.S. Congress is nothing but weak and puny words — but it scares me that they voted for it unanimously!”

Mr. Kinzinger claimed it’s better to be united behind a weak policy than to promote a strong policy that has opposition. He was not alone. Also speaking out for this approach were Rep. Gerry Connolly, Virginia Democrat, and several others. So Mr. Poe’s language to expand our natural gas exports was diluted in the final version of the bill.

That’s our problem. So long as Congress takes a namby-pamby approach, they are mimicking Mr. Obama’s weak foreign policy — which even The Washington Post says is based on “fantasy.”

That gives Mr. Putin freedom to continue his aggression. That means Ukraine and other nations will find their freedoms are shrinking — just like their respect for America.

Listen to Ernest Istook’s radio talk show, noon to 3 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday, online at www.kzlsam.com Subscribe to his free newsletter: http://t.co/tB4CluIPm5