The steady and methodical approach of the Obama doctrine was on display this morning in a phone call between President Obama and President Putin of Russia today. While this call took place just after the Malaysian Flight went down, it took place at the request of Moscow according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, to discuss the sanctions that the President and and European leaders announced yesterday.
During the call, President Putin noted the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. But the agenda of the call was based on yesterday’s sanctions.
President Obama tried to impress upon Putin, once again, that the international community, the United States and our European allies will impose economic costs on Russia if they decline to respect the territorial integrity of sovereign countries.
Per a readout of the call provided by the White House, “President Obama emphasized that he remains committed to a diplomatic solution and that sanctions were not his preferred course of action.”
In the Obama doctrine, we get evidence and then we take action — in this case, additional sanctions:
President Obama noted, however, that in the face of extensive evidence that Russia is significantly increasing the provision of heavy weapons to separatists in Ukraine and Russia’s failure to take other steps set out by the United States and Europe to de-escalate the crisis, it was necessary to impose additional sanctions, consistent with the clear statements from the United States and our allies following the G-7 meeting in Brussels.
President Obama also reiterated his concerns regarding the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.
President Obama called on President Putin to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation, including to press separatists to agree to a cease-fire, support a roadmap for negotiations, halt the flow of fighters and weapons into Ukraine, obtain the release of all hostages still held by the separatists, and work to establish an effective OSCE border-monitoring mechanism. He noted that Russia would face continued costs and isolation unless it takes these concrete steps. The President emphasized that Russia and the United States have a shared interest in supporting a stable and prosperous Ukraine. President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis achieved through diplomatic means.
No doubt Republicans will be blaming President Obama for the shot down airliner, as tragedy is just another Republican “opportunity”, as Mitt Romney explained so crassly, or at the very least banging on the war drums.
But the fact of the matter is the Obama doctrine is a welcome change from the Bush doctrine of making things up and invading first. Wars are Hell, and since they frequently can’t be ended well or cleanly, a responsible leader will make them a last resort.
President Obama and Republicans are worlds apart foreign policy wise.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.