Russian leader Vladimir Putin and many other world leaders know how to use power. They understand diplomacy, military might and economics. Some use their personalities to exert pressure.
President Barack Obama seems to comprehend none of this. Confronted by a crisis in Ukraine and a leader - Putin - who could not be manipulated by his personality, Obama simply did not know what to do.
So he did what comes naturally. He threw what amounts to a diplomatic temper tantrum.
First, Obama said that in response to the Ukrainian crisis, he is freezing U.S. assets held by seven Russian leaders in this country. That will accomplish nothing other than to make the seven angry.
Then, White House spokesman Jay Carney lashed out - blindly. "Together with North Korea and I think Syria ... (Russian leaders) are alone in that belief," Carney said of Putin's claims his country's actions in the Crimea region of Ukraine were necessary to safeguard Russian military bases and ethnic Russians.
What? Putin, along with leaders in the North Korean and Syrian regimes, must be scratching their heads. U.S. relations with all three are difficult, but for very different reasons.
And why was Iran left off Carney's list?
Obama cannot seem to understand why his powers of persuasion don't work with Putin and other world leaders. Clearly, his understanding of power is limited severely, and that does not bode well for U.S. interests abroad.