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History As It Happens

Apr 7, 2022

When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 the Obama administration responded with condemnation and sanctions. But the U.S. president refused to authorize the government sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine (although private arms exports were permitted). Obama viewed Russia as a regional power that could not be stopped from trying to military dominate Ukraine, if it so chose. He was not interested in containing Russia as if the Cold War hadn't ended. Today, some critics say Obama underestimated Vladimir Putin while failing to fully help Ukraine defend itself. In this episode, historian Jeremi Suri, the host of "This is Democracy" podcast, discusses the thorny relationship between foreign policy and domestic pressures. Obama may have misjudged Putin, but was he right about the limits of American power in Eastern Europe?