This is how an American president should address Russian aggression

posted at 6:01 pm on July 17, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Without leaping to conclusions, a variety of national security analysts and experts are coming to the conclusion that an external event – a missile or a bomb – took town Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on Thursday. A total of 295 people, including what was at the time an unconfirmed report of 23 Americans, were killed in what increasingly appears to have been an attack perpetrated by pro-Russian militants on a civilian transport using sophisticated Russian hardware.

And the President of the United States was nowhere to be found.

AllahPundit smartly chronicled President Barack Obama’s display of contempt for the “optics” associated with being the leader of the free world amid a crisis.

The president scrambled from his lunch to a previously scheduled speech where the eyes of the world watched as America’s commander-in-chief was expected to address the escalating crisis in Europe. Uncharacteristically, quickening the pulse, Obama took to the podium promptly at his scheduled time, 2:10 p.m. ET, where he did just that:

“Obviously, the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border,” he said. “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”

The president added that he had directed his national security team to “stay in close contact” with the government in Ukraine, and his government was working to determine whether a report that 23 American citizens were on board that flight was accurate. He offered his prayers for the families of those who lost loved ones. And that was it.

38 seconds. Obama then proceeded to deliver a canned speech, one which he admitted he’s been giving “all week,” in which he said he supported more federal infrastructure spending to build “roads and bridges.”

There is every reason to think that the president did not want to get out in front of the information he has available to him, but there is also reason to believe that Obama had access to more information about the event than he acknowledged.

According to Gen. Barry McCaffrey, in the absence of a failure of America’s satellite system, “We already know there was a missile launch, where it was launched” (a fact U.S officials confirmed late Thursday afternoon). The general added that the State Department should have been able to confirm or deny that Americans were aboard that flight by simply checking with the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands which should have been able to access the flight manifest.

It is unfair to be too critical of the president for waiting to gather his facts before addressing the situation. But 31 years ago, at a time with far less reliable technology or communications capabilities, President Ronald Reagan immediately addressed an eerily similar situation – when Soviet forces shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over the Kamchatka Peninsula.

On the day of the attack, calling it an “appalling and wanton misdeed,” the president ordered American flags to fly at half-staff at all federal and military installations.

Three days later, Reagan delivered an address to the nation from the Oval Office:

“This crime against humanity must never be forgotten,” Reagan began. He said he grieved for those who died in that attack and for the families of those they left behind. “Their deaths were the result of the Soviet Union violating every concept of human rights,” the president added.

“Let me state as plainly as I can,” he continued, “there was absolutely no justification, either legal or moral, for what the Soviets did.”

With granular detail and in prosecutorial fashion, Reagan made the case for why the evidence suggests Soviet forces intentionally shot down KLA 007. He then played a portion of an audio tape featuring communications which clearly showed Soviet forces coordinating that attack – chatter similar to that which was intercepted by intelligence services following this event.

At the very least, Obama might have mustered a condemnation of the violence in this region which today claimed the lives of nearly 300 noncombatants.

Just yesterday, Obama scolded Russia for its failure to deescalate the situation in Ukraine and moved forward with promised sanctions on key sectors of the Russian Federation’s economy. Among the escalations Russia has permitted has been the transferring of sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems to pro-Russian militants. In that sense, Obama had already acknowledged that the attack on MH17 was the direct result of Russian actions.

Tonight, there will be “no scheduled changes” to the president’s fundraising schedule as he heads to New York City to entertain Democratic donors. This is a dangerous time for the world and the United States, one made even more dangerous due to Obama’s abdication of his role as America’s commander-in-chief.

This post has been updated since its original publication.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Bmore

JugEarsButtHurt on July 18, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Honestly, a real American president would have had F15s sitting on tarmac inside Ukraine 15 seconds after Putin tried the Crimean grab, on a “training exercise” just to let him know we were serious. Fat chance of that ever happening with the Student Council in charge.

PJ Emeritus on July 18, 2014 at 11:55 AM

THANK YOU to all who couldn’t be bothered to show up and vote for Romney…. I cna see now how truning your back on the Con. candidate becasue he wasn’t con. enough was some dang fine thinking…. what have we learned???

Von Kleist on July 17, 2014 at 6:52 PM

FYI I voted for Romney.

But you need to remember the next time you are picking the Republican nominee that you need your base on board. If you run a Dem-lite candidate you will lose them. Maybe you and your party need to make more of an effort not to insult your base. Maybe you and your party need to make the effort to woo the base that you put into wooing the Latinos, who will NEVER vote for you.

I will also add that if the GOPe runs another Bush or Chris Christie you will just be doing the same damn thing expecting a different result. It is the responsibility of the GOP to run a winning candidate. One that can convince people to support them. It isn’t our fault your candidates suck.

magicbeans on July 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM

It would appear the GOP has learned nothing.Over the last two years since Romney blew what should have been a sure win the GOP has done everything possible to do-absolutely nothing to stop the march of socialism,and everything possible to piss off its base.It has proved to be a corrupt,unprincipled party that no longer deserves the respect nor support of conservatives.I too voted for Romney and McCain before him,despite my serious misgivings.I did so with the hope that by doing so I would help the process of restoring America to its greatness as the world’s superpower.The GOP is no longer that hope.It has deserted me and my fellow conservatives.Some are too stupid to see it and therefore continue to enable it.But the stakes are too high to do nothing.American exceptionalism is under attack and the nation is sliding perilously close to becoming a third world socialist state.It is time to fight and to fight back hard.It is time to destroy whatever is in the way of saving America.And that would be the Republican and Democrat parties.it is time for a conservative third party.

redware on July 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Smidgen of sanity, from unusual source.

Schadenfreude on July 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Many of the Purist Drones here don’t get it. They think politics is a game, like NFL Football where they talk about my team, Team RNC beat Team DNC, and they don’t realize that we face serious problems. They feel like that we have only 2 teams, that everybody belongs to either Team RNC or Team DNC and that’s it. They also claim victory when their candidate gets the nomination over another, and they do their little end zone dance. But what they don’t realize is that millions of Americans aren’t playing their game, that they could care less about Team RNC or Team DNC, and have no problem not participating In their futile exercise

Brock Robamney on July 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Brock Robamney

Stay away from the sharp knives you sound unhinged.

I care about the country, troll.

I found out who you are. Look here.

That doesn’t make any sense, Moby.

I asked a while ago, which no GOP Purist could answer, what does the GOP or Romney for that matter stand for?

I provided you a link to the platform. Read it.

At one minute you have Paul Ryan talk about Welfare reform, and another minute your MS candidate talk about increasing welfare

Gee idiot, perhaps that’s because the party is made up of different people. And where was anyone in the GOP talking about increasing welfare? Has a Republican tried to pass a bill increasing welfare? No? Guess you are lying again because you are an Obama lackey and your guy has utterly failed.

Maybe if you GOP Purists can get together and create a platform…

Again, here’s the platform, it’s simply shocking how stupid you are.

you might get some votes

You would find an excuse to vote against us and beg others to do so. You are simply working for the socialists.

V7_Sport on July 18, 2014 at 6:43 PM

THANK YOU to all who couldn’t be bothered to show up and vote for Romney…. I cna see now how truning your back on the Con. candidate becasue he wasn’t con. enough was some dang fine thinking…. what have we learned???

Von Kleist on July 17, 2014 at 6:52 PM

FYI I voted for Romney.

But you need to remember the next time you are picking the Republican nominee that you need your base on board. If you run a Dem-lite candidate you will lose them. Maybe you and your party need to make more of an effort not to insult your base. Maybe you and your party need to make the effort to woo the base that you put into wooing the Latinos, who will NEVER vote for you.

I will also add that if the GOPe runs another Bush or Chris Christie you will just be doing the same damn thing expecting a different result. It is the responsibility of the GOP to run a winning candidate. One that can convince people to support them. It isn’t our fault your candidates suck.

magicbeans on July 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Are you under the impression that somehow Von Kleist picks your candidates for you? Is he this GOPe that I hear so much about?
Do you remember something called a primary? Where every candidate other than Romney dropped out? Was that all orchestrated by Von Kleist? He’s one crafty SOB, maybe he should run for president.

V7_Sport on July 18, 2014 at 6:49 PM

it is time for a conservative third party.

redware on July 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Which will just split the vote and hand more elections to the socialists. Look what happened to the Conservatives in Canada when they split, it was decades of liberal rule and the right only got back into power when the factions re-united under the “progressive conservatives”.
Are you by chance former MAG-11 (Miramar) by the way?

V7_Sport on July 18, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Wow…how refreshing to listen from a REAL US president and a leader.

He didn’t use it as an excuse to trash the opposition party. Instead, he gave them credit and treated them with respect (more than they deserved).

He didn’t use the event as an excuse to launch into political attacks or push stalled policies.

…and he took real, meaningful action: he opened up GPS signals so aircraft could more reliably determination location and improve navigation precision.

I miss you Mr. President.

TXGRunner on July 18, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Which will just split the vote and hand more elections to the socialists.

V7_Sport on July 18, 2014 at 6:58 PM

I hear that sorry excuse every f*cking election that the Republicans fail to provide a halfway decent and DIFFERENT candidate then the libtards. Cram it, pal.

LawfulGood on July 19, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I hear that sorry excuse every f*cking election that the Republicans fail to provide a halfway decent and DIFFERENT candidate then the libtards. Cram it, pal.
LawfulGood on July 19, 2014 at 9:19 AM

The GOPe and their Purist Drone tagalongs presume to tell us what to think, and who to vote for. They are so brilliant, that their architect is successful in only 1% of their races. He still thinks Romney won Ohio. They will probably slam and attack the next conservative candidate, whether he is a sitting Republican or not, as in the case of Mike Lee and Tim Huelskamp and lose election after election after election

Brock Robamney on July 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Which will just split the vote and hand more elections to the socialists.

V7_Sport on July 18, 2014 at 6:58 PM

I hear that sorry excuse every f*cking election that the Republicans fail to provide a halfway decent and DIFFERENT candidate then the libtards. Cram it, pal.

LawfulGood on July 19, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I’m not your pal. What part of primaries don’t you get? Did you ever consider that you might be outside of the mainstream of political opinion? (As am I) The goal is to have a punch outside of your weight class, not every last thing you want. Because that’s what infants insist on.

By the way, if you can’t see a difference between the GOP candidates and what is in office now you are an absolute moron.

V7_Sport on July 20, 2014 at 3:33 AM

To the moby retard.

what they don’t realize is that millions of Americans aren’t playing their game, that they could care less about Team RNC or Team DNC, and have no problem not participating In their futile exercise[politics]

Brock Robamney on July 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM

If you don’t want to participate, don’t. That’s fine. I actually encourage it in your case. The thing is, it’s another lie, I would bet anything you don’t take to the KOs or mother hones or Hufpo sites to discourage their participation. You are just out to elect socialists.

The GOPe and their Purist Drone tagalongs presume to tell us what to think, and who to vote for. They are so brilliant, that their architect is successful in only 1% of their races. He still thinks Romney won Ohio.
Brock Robamney on July 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Romney is who came out of the primaries. I know your agenda is to insist on someone who is truly unelectable and then trash whomever wins in the primaries again to help elect Hillary but you are such a sniveling little liar and the electorate is SO fed up with your guy (Obama) that this time the strategy may not work. Besides, Some of US might be over at your favorite sites pushing Elizabeth Warren on your rubes because she’s not going anywhere past Cambridge MA.

V7_Sport on July 20, 2014 at 3:44 AM

V7_Sport on July 20, 2014 at 3:44 AM

Wow. Such hostility from a GOP Purist Drone who got his way. Wow. You got Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Who all lost. Humble me, all I got was Ronald Reagan. Who won in two landslides. Excuse me while I spike the football

Brock Robamney on July 20, 2014 at 9:39 AM

There is a world of difference between a leader and a community organizer, and we have a community organizer in the White house today. And the only thing he is organizing is all of the government power into the Executive Branch, and the other two branches of our government are helping him do it. Leading the country is also worlds apart from organizing a community, and this country needs a leader and Obama does not fit that role.

savage24 on July 20, 2014 at 10:39 AM

If you don’t want to participate, don’t. That’s fine. I actually encourage it in your case. The thing is, it’s another lie, I would bet anything you don’t take to the KOs or mother hones or Hufpo sites to discourage their participation. You are just out to elect socialists.
V7_Sport on July 20, 2014 at 3:44 AM

What’s up is down, what’s conservative is liberal, what’s true is a lie, such is the life of a GOPe Purist Drone…

Brock Robamney on July 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3