The Obama administration’s approach to events in Ukraine and the approach favored by the president’s critics are based on the same faulty premise. Both parties assume Russian President Vladimir Putin has firm control of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. Therefore, the right combination of coercion and threats will convince him to order a retreat. However, while pro-Russian forces in Ukraine undoubtedly enjoy Putin’s support, it is not clear that these same forces would stand down if Putin gave the order to do so. Worse, any control that Putin does have rapidly diminishes as the violence escalates.