(OPINION) — Everybody is talking tough when it comes to handling Russia and Vladimir Putin in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. Um, everybody except President Barack Obama. Just this morning, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said if the MH17 crash sight was not opened to investigators by tomorrow, Europe should impose ‘crippling round of sanctions.’ You see, President Obama set out to do that and the reception from Europe was lukewarm. Even the Netherlands watered down the sanctions that Europe slapped on Putin for the Ukrainian crisis. I am guessing the crash and the disregard for the dead should be a game changer. Still, IMHO, President Obama came off as weak in the early hours of this immense tragedy. Europe’s response was also very weak but you won’t hear the right wing fearmongers talking about that. It’s about time for the pressure to start mounting on Putin to do the right thing.
The leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committtee are also throwing President Obama under a bus. On Sunday they said the U.S. response to the attack on MH17 that killed 298 people, including crew members, has been weak. President Obama was off doing what he does best, attending fundraisers. You see, Vladimir Putin should have been reigned in a long time ago. I would go as far as saying, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should have kept him in check as well. Remember George W. Bush said when he looked into Putin’s eyes and “was able to get a sense of his soul.” It’s time to stop playing footsy with Vladimir Putin and get tough. Germany, Netherlands, England, France and Italy need to lead stand with America to stomp out his aggression.
Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) each said that the United States could be doing more to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the attack.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said there is evidence that links Russian-backed militants to the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, stopping just short of directly linking the attacks to the Russian government.
Several lawmakers echoed that connection, and lamented that the United States has not done enough to support Ukraine.
“Clearly President Putin has created the set of circumstances and has supplied the resources … to the rebels so that this tragedy could take place,” said Menendez, the chairman of the panel, said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.
“For me, I think the West, including the [United States], has to have a far more significant response than we’ve seen to date,” he said. Source: The Hill
President Obama should have told Vladimir Putin the moment intelligence suggested that the jetliner had been shot down by pro-Russian separatists, that the “mother” of all sanctions would be coming if he didn’t close the borders and tell his lackeys to stand-down and allow the investigators to come in an secure the crash site. It’s time for the U.S. to send weapons to the Ukraine to help them fight the separatists. Not troops. Weapons. Vladimir Putin has a Hitler-mentality and we cannot afford to let him run loose all over eastern Europe. But European countries must also take a stand.
U.S. foreign policy seems to have slipped into a chaotic mess, starting with the mishandling of the Syrian crisis to the timidity exhibited in the MH17 attack. President Obama seems to have become something of a laughingstock to some because he keeps moving his red lines and the leaders it’s aimed at keep pushing back. I recall during the summer of 2012 when President Obama was asked about the security of chemical weapons in the Syrian stockpile, he said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime … that a red line for us is [when] we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.” Well, a year later, Assad used chemical weapons on his people.
Here’s President Obama’s latest statement on the MH17 attack (H/T WaPo):
“Now is the time for Russia and Putin to pivot away from the strategy he been taking and get serious” about resolving the conflict in Ukraine, Obama said in a statement Monday morning in the White House Rose Garden.
He also issued a vaguely worded threat.
“My preference has and continues to be finding a diplomatic solution with regard to Ukraine,” he said. “If Russia continues to back these separatists … then Russia will only further isolate itself with the international community” and increase its costs within the international community.
Obama’s statement came after a weekend in which his administration grappled with the fallout over the downed Malaysian jetliner with reports that Russian-backed separatists were tampering with evidence and removing bodies along the 10-mile crash site in eastern Ukraine.
Obama said such tampering has “no place in the community of nations” and said given Russia’s direct influence over the separatists, Putin has the “responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation.”
Vladimir Putin stuck his finger in Obama’s eye after granting National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum. The Obama Administration was preaching to the choir when they begged Putin to return Snowden. I won’t go as far as blaming President Obama for the missile attack on MH17, as some have done, but I am very disappointed in the chaos that is raging on the foreign policy front. British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a blistering criticism of Vladimir Putin and the desecration of the dead by a bunch of drunk thugs who have been enabled by the Russian leader. Why can’t President Obama deliver such a scathing rebuke and stand by his threat? Lecturing Putin doesn’t work. Since we are back to Cold War levels, why not really stick it to him with a real threat such as the deployment of that scrapped anti-missile system for Poland and the Czech Republic?