President Barack Obama spoke from the White House Friday to address the attack on Malaysian Airline Flight MH17 and outline what role the United States will take going forward, as well as what we know so far about events. However, his speech is unlikely to sooth the flood of criticism he’s been taking over how he’s handled relations with Russia in light of conflict in Ukraine.
The flight, carrying almost 300 passengers — most of whom were from the Netherlands, but who spanned multiple nationalities — included a number of big Australian names in AIDS research. The President stated that he has had calls to heads of state from involved nations, and will continue to do so. He emphasized the need to avoid getting “out ahead of the facts,” given misinformation already running rampant in the region in question, but noted that the surface to air missile that was fired came from a territory under the control of Russian separatists and that, “The separatists are heavily armed and trained, and that’s not an accident … it’s happening because of Russian support.” Going forward, he stated that a “credible international investigation” would be needed to seek out the truth of what happened, noting that this is a move the UN security council has agreed on. The FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board both have been offered to aid in the efforts.
But as for how the U.S. interactions with Russia will change going forward, President Obama made it clear that diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions remain the sole method America will continue to use in handling Russian hostilities. “We don’t see a U.S. military role beyond what we’ve already been doing in working with our NATO partners and some of the Baltic states, giving them reassurance” of support as dictated by U.S. alliances there, said Obama. Many have been highly critical of Obama’s tactics with Russia so far, saying his sanctions are ineffective. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments being made against his current strategy.