Russian President Vladimir Putin (Image: Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik, Kremlin pool photo via AP)

Terrell Jermaine Starr is founder and host of the foreign policy podcast Black Diplomats and a senior non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

There are some problems for which it’s hard to decide between the carrot and the stick. Or -- in the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression towards Ukraine -- sanctions, military aid, diplomacy or a combination of the three.

And that’s especially hard for progressives who are averse to the idea of the stick at all -- especially when the US is wielding it. That’s a reasonable objection, given the US’ history of disastrous military action in recent decades and its frequent failure to recognise other countries’ grievances.