President Obama was able to leave behind his struggles with Congress this weekend as he went to the German Alps to discuss the world with his peers, the other leaders attending the G-7 summit. Of course, Russia used to be a member of that summit, when it was known as the G-8, and much time was spent discussing it in absentia.
The topic du jour was the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and its continuing policy of flouting the Minsk peace agreement. However, for now, Vladimir Putin seems content with playing a waiting game, as he knows the European Union will maintain their sanctions at a significant cost to them. The countries of Europe have developed a robust trading relationship with Russia, and the sanctions are hurting them much more than the United States.
Whether the Europeans can maintain a unified front against the Russians is open to question, and the sanctions need to be maintained over the long haul if they are truly going to bite and possibly affect change. Mr. Putin is riding high in the polls among the Russian people as he seems to be restoring some of the old glory of the Soviet Union, when his nation was truly a superpower.
Of course, the G-7 discussed many other critical issues as well including ISIS, climate change, bailing out Greece, etc. It’s not exactly a good sign that they had so much to discuss.