DATELINEDoesItGetAnyWeakerThanThisville, Mar 17 –  Obama’s non-sanctions imposed on 11 individuals in response to the Crimea’s pro-Russian referendum are echos of the Marvin Gaye oldie, “I’m your puppet”. The so-called sanctions, announced today, consist of personal, but not business, asset freezes and travel bans to the United States.

No reaction at all would have been better than shadow boxing with those Obama claims to blame for the Russian invasion of Crimea. Even in that, he’s way off the mark. Putin pulls the strings of the 11 just as he pulls those of Barack Obama. Of course, the Russian President was not on the Administration’s hit parade.

To look less impotent, the Obama Administration falsely characterized the action as the most extensive aimed at Russia since the Cold War. But, of course, they weren’t aimed at Russia at all. They targeted people and not all of them Russian. Seven are Russian and four are Ukrainians.

Those struck by Obama’s empty glove include Putin’s aide, an adviser, the ousted Ukraine President and other lesser lights so dim they’re practically invisible. If any of them still had assets in the U.S. after Obama telegraphed this punch a month ago, they’re even dimmer bulbs than previously believed.

As if to instill fear in the Russian President, Obama pledged today to “stand firm in our unwavering support for Ukraine.” By that he means that more of the same will be piled onto other Putin “cronies” if Putin doesn’t cut it out. You can almost hear Putin shaking in his felt boots from here. Almost.

Meanwhile, yesterday Putin was telegraphing some intentions of his own. In a telephone call with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, he expressed concerns about Ukraine aggression against Russians in southeastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mentioned the same apprehension to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry assured Lavrov that Washington is taking all necessary steps to prevent any belligerent behavior against Russians in that part of the Ukraine.

It speaks volumes that Putin talks to Merkel while the U.S. gets its marching orders from his Foreign Minister. That’s another indication of who’s pulling whose strings. It’s also a clear signal of what’s coming next – southeastern Ukraine will be annexed into Russia to protect Russians living there. Huge shock.

There are two reasons why the U.S. has no street creds with Putin. The first is Obama’s oft-demonstrated weakness. The second is his natural gas policy that completely frustrates any impactful response to Russian aggression. Without being able to export natural gas to the EU and Eastern Europe, usurping Russia’s market for those products, our responses are less than feeble. Feebleness from a super power-turned-supercilious merely encourages more Russian militancy.

So, pull our carcass from the international stage and plop it onto the Marionette stage, a more suitable venue for our foreign policy. The acoustics are much better for Obama’s rendition of,

“I’m just a toy, just a funny boy that makes you laugh when you feel blue.”

Actually, the Puppet Master is feeling very red, but he definitely gets the message.