The problem President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel face is that Putin holds the far stronger hand in the poker match. He can act quickly and decisively without worrying about his rubber-stamp Duma and an approving Russian public. He has a plan -- dominate and neutralize the countries around Russia to create a buffer zone from his adversaries NATO and the European Union. Obama and Merkel are playing a much weaker hand. They have wisely decided not to use their strongest card -- NATO's far stronger military -- to counter Putin's aggression.
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