President Obama today said of Putin’s grab of Ukraine’s Crimea: “There is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law.”

samantha powerAlso, “President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations.” Those words from the leader of the free world are hardly Churchhillian. In fact, they are not even George W. Bushian.

The President has a wide range of tough economic and political sanctions that would deal a powerful blow to Russia’s economy, which he needs to activate to punish Putin for his misadventure. What are missing are tough words to back them up.

The President should consult with my favorite member of his team, Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, the Ireland-born journalist.

Here’s how she responded to the delusional spiel that Russia’s envoy dished out to the world body:

“Russian military action is not a human rights protection mission. It is a violation of international law….Russian military bases in Ukraine are secure. Russian mobilization is a response to an imaginary threat. Military action cannot be justified on the basis of threats that haven’t been made or aren’t being carried out. Russia needs to engage directly with the government of Ukraine.”

Power wants Russia to “immediately pull back” its invaders.

Our former law professor commander-in-chief needs to drop his lawyerly tone and call it like it is, not as it seems to be, or how he would like it to be.

At the very least, he should accept media training from straight-shooting Power.

(Photo: White House via Flickr