President Obama emitted tough talk on Russia on his way to the G7 summit meeting of European leaders yesterday. One of his top priorities at the summit, he told hundreds of people in a town square in Kruen, Germany, is “standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine.”
Lest there be any misunderstanding, however, Team Obama made it clear that Obama was sounding his reliably uncertain kazoo. The tough talk was just hot air. Christi Parsons reports in the Los Angeles Times: “[T]hough Obama voiced his support for tougher sanctions, advisors to the president emphasized instead the importance of maintaining the status quo.” Parsons backs up her observations with quotable quotes from Team Obama:
“Ultimately it will be up to the Europeans to make those decisions,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “We’re hopeful that they’ll do so, keeping in mind our shared view that preserving this unity is really important.”
The current strategy is a “steady as she goes” approach, as another senior advisor to the president phrased it.
“I don’t see any change in policy on Ukraine, nor do I see Ukraine fatigue,” said Charles Kupchan, Obama’s senior director for European affairs. “We’ve always said that we favor and are pushing toward a diplomatic settlement to the crisis.”
Hey, thanks for clearing that up. We didn’t exactly need to be reminded that Obama’s tough talk is vacuous insofar as it is directed to enemies of the United States, but it’s impressive to have the reminder credited to authoritative sources by name within the administration.