How Should Washington Deal With Russia? Pundits call for sanctions By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Mar 3, 2014 12:20 PM CST 176 comments Comments A pro-Russian activist waves the Russian state, upper, and Russian Navy flags outside an entrance to the General Staff Headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol, Ukraine, Monday, March 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov) (Newser) – With Russia taking control of Crimea, experts agree on the gravity of the situation: In the New York Times, Charles King calls it "the gravest crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War." How should Washington proceed? Pundits weigh in: At CNN, Fareed Zakaria calls for a "clear and forceful" response. President Obama is right to bail on the G8 summit in Sochi, and the US and EU should push for sanctions "targeted specifically at individuals who could be held responsible for these acts of aggression." At Power Line, Paul Mirengoff echoes the call for sanctions—and strong ones. The goal: "to reset our relations with Russia so that they align with reality," he writes. Vladimir Putin "is the successor of those we opposed, and ultimately defeated, in the Cold War. Our policy towards his Russia should be set accordingly." King underlines the importance of avoiding violence. The first step is for the US, EU, and Russia to agree that that's the priority. "Even in the midst of a standoff, Russia and the West have a clear common interest: forestalling a civil war in the heart of Europe," he writes. In the Washington Post, David Ignatius recalls the wisdom of not interrupting an enemy who's making a mistake—which is just what the Russian president is doing, Ignatius writes. "What Putin misunderstands most is that the center of gravity for the former Soviet Union has shifted west," he notes; Poland and the Czech Republic, for instance, are among former satellites now prospering in the EU. "It is only by moving west, toward Europe, that Russia itself can reverse its demographic and political trap."