At the Heritage Foundation on May 23, Senior Research Fellow Ariel Cohen saw a lot of significance in the fact that Merkel went to St. Petersburg, spoke about strengthening ties with Russia, and didn’t mention Ukraine (although on Saturday Merkel and Hollande did discuss Ukraine with Putin, who promised to accept the election’s outcome). What (if anything) does Merkel’s statement say about the prospect for coordinated sanctions? As a result of integrating Russia into our economic systems, have we unwittingly made ourselves dependent on the Kremlin? According to the Heritage panel, it’s crucial that the world make Ukraine as hard for Russia to digest as possible. At the same time, the United States very much wants to preserve good relations. In short, we’re conflicted about Russia. The Heritage panel was short on proffering solutions, and there weren’t too many people attending. One gets the impression Washington would rather ignore the problem. But having taken the sanctions route, the question about whether the United States and Europe are on the same page becomes pretty important. If sanctions end up being weak, it might only embolden Putin to attempt something like this again elsewhere.