Obama Must Get Tougher Over 'Mr. Putin's War'

Washington Post, Wall Street Journal criticize US response
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2014 10:55 AM CDT
Obama Must Get Tougher Over 'Mr. Putin's War'
Russia's President Vladimir Putin waves to photographers in Brazil this week.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

At his news conference yesterday, President Obama made clear that the US thinks pro-Russian separatists shot down the Malaysian Airlines jet, and that they likely did so using Russian equipment. But he left it at that. "What was missing from the president’s comments was a clear moral conclusion about the regime of Vladi­mir Putin or an articulation of how the United States will respond to the killing of 298 innocent people," complains an editorial in the Washington Post, whose headline refers to "Mr. Putin's war." Demanding an investigation isn't enough. "An atrocity committed as a byproduct of Moscow’s attempt to violently break apart a sovereign nation demands a firmer response."

For starters, chimes in the Wall Street Journal, Obama should have said the US would provide weapons to Ukraine for as long as Putin keeps arming the separatists. The Journal editorial accuses Obama of what it sees as a typical "flinch" when decisiveness was needed. It recommends he take a page from Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, who went much further in condemning Moscow yesterday. "Russia can end this war," she declared. "Russia must end this war." If only her boss "should tell the truth so plainly," says the editorial. (Read it in full here, or click here for the Post's.)

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