President Obama: Putin Hasn’t ‘Rolled Me’

In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, President Obama is touting his sanctions attack on Russia as a successful strategy.

There is little doubt that the Russian economy is tanking. Despite that, Putin still refuses to show any sort of flexibility when it comes to Ukraine, which could raise the prospect of relief from the sanctions being imposed on Russia. But even though Russia’s economy is on the verge of collapse, Putin has decided to “dig in” to his current positions that have created the sanctions in the first place, using his annual marathon news conference on Thursday to exercise in powerful rhetoric. For more on that, click here.

But despite all of Putin’s posturing, Russia’s economy is in bad shape. Russian financial markets were blasted with panic this last week, forcing Russia’s central bank to hike interest rates to 17 percent, which prompted the government to step in “amid fears of a disastrous run on the banks,” according to CNN. These moves “stemmed the bleeding” of the Russian economy, but the ruble has still lost more than 50% against the dollar this year, leaving the Kremlin in an economic crunch.

And, as Forbes reported, Obama’s economic sanctions made a Russian economic crash inevitable.

President Obama is now sitting back and saying “I told you so” to the many who decried his plan as weak and Putin as strong.

“There was a spate of stories about how he is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other. And right now, he’s presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction,” Obama said in his interview with Candy Crowley on Sunday. “That doesn’t sound like somebody who has rolled me or the United States of America.”

Conservatives have long since criticized President Obama for his alleged weakness while praising Russian leader Vladimir Putin for his supposed strength. In fact, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers of Michigan, is the one who once said that Putin is playing chess while Obama is playing marbles.

Obama also said that he believes that the U.S. has been “very firm” with countries that counter U.S. interests or violate international law, while at the same time, firmly rejecting the “knee-jerk” foreign policy view that “shooting first and thinking about it second projects strength.”

“I disagree with that,” he said.

[Image via o.canada.com]