Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer bemoaned the “disinterested, detached” response by President Obama to the likely shoot down of a civilian jetliner by Russian or Russian-backed forces in Ukraine, claiming he knows but is “unwilling to say the truth” about who is responsible for the attack.
Krauthammer spoke Friday on Fox News’ “Special Report” about the White House’s reaction to additional information regarding the shoot down of a Malaysian Air flight over eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 passengers.
Intelligence strongly suggests that a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian-backed separatists, likely with the assistance of Russia itself, took down the airliner — though it’s unclear whether the targeting was accidental or deliberate.
Krauthammer praised UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s impassioned speech against the Russian government’s involvement delivered Friday at the UN. But he panned the president’s own “passive” statement on the attack, which failed to strongly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions.
“He looked almost disinterested, detached, practically half-asleep,” he claimed. “There was no passion, there was no interest in this.”
Trying to explain it rationally, the columnist speculated that the White House may believe that Putin will lose in the end even if the president stays silent.
But Krauthammer rejected that idea, noting that the Russian president’s aggression is widely admired at home and Europe is incapable of holding Putin accountable without the United States at the helm.
“The president is unwilling to say the truth — which in fact his own UN ambassador has said,” he said. “He’s relying on the Europeans. The Europeans will never act. They never act on anything unless they’re led by the U.S.”
While Krauthammer hopes the White House will put together a team — possibly with NATO protection — to go into Ukraine and secure the crash site before further tampering by the Russians, he isn’t holding his breath.
“Are they even thinking in those terms? No,” he lamented. “The president says, ‘The site has to be secured,’ in the same way that he said, ‘Assad has to go.’ And it has the same weight. Zero.”