- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Amid all the Ukraine-centric media coverage, statements, photo-ops and editorials have come the bare-fisted warnings of those who are more interested in a reality check than fancy prose. And the contrast between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama is the focus.

Putin has been salivating over reassembling the Soviet Union, and if it weren’t so serious, it would be laughably pathetic,” Rush Limbaugh told his audience on Monday.

“Because, as I remind you: In any conflict - I don’t care if it’s a bully on the schoolyard. I don’t care if it’s the National Football League, Major League Baseball, or anywhere. The aggressor sets the rules. Whatever the aggressor does are the rules, and you throw the rule book out,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

And talk - even fancy talk - can be cheap.

Financial Times analyst Edward Luce advises Mr. Obama to ignore “the chicken hawks of Washington”and avoid threatening a military response.

“Diplomacy is Mr Obama’s preferred weapon. Now he must prove that he knows how to wield it. The Washington debate in the past 48 hours has posed a false choice between setting a red line and doing nothing. But there is plenty Mr Obama can do in between,” Mr. Luce says.

“Rallying America’s allies to the side of Ukraine’s shaky government is obviously one. That must include large pledges of cash. Reassuring America’s eastern European allies that their sovereignty will be protected is another. This could include restoring the missile defense systems Mr. Obama scrapped in the days of the ‘reset’. He could also accelerate plans to export U.S. natural gas and oil to Europe to counter Moscow’s energy stranglehold,” Mr. Luce says.

“Above all, Mr Obama needs to convince Mr Putin that he will not be outfoxed,” he adds.