Obama ‘Risks American Lives’ by Focusing Energies on Russia Instead of Terrorism
On Thursday, outgoing US President Barack Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the US, and sanctions against six individuals and five entities, including the GRU (the Main Intelligence Directorate), and the FSB (the Federal Security Service) over unfounded allegations of Russian interference in the US presidential election in November.
But critics had other reasons to censure the president. According National Interest magazine contributors Dimitri K. Simes and Paul J. Saunders, President Obama’s recent diplomatic maneuvers against Russia and Israel are not just petty politicking, but harm US interests and even risk American lives.
“Conversely,” the article added, “if Russia’s transgressions were so severe that they required an immediate response, why has the Obama administration done so little?” Closing down a couple of recreational facilities, and forcing 35 diplomats out “will hardly damage Russia,” Simes and Saunders noted. They won’t even “substantially diminish Russia’s intelligence-gathering capabilities” in the US over the long term.
“With this in mind,” Simes and Saunders stressed, “President Obama’s political grandstanding poses real risks to the lives of American citizens, in exchange for little if any foreign policy or national security benefits.” Indeed, they added, “all that Mr. Obama has managed to do is to look angry and ineffective – something that Putin’s restraint only highlights.”
Rasmussen stressed that the US and Russia must minimize hostile rhetoric, and “work together to normalize relations and to eliminate threats to international security,” including terrorism. It is absurd, he said, that the current administration has continued to “directly or indirectly support terrorists whose organizations played a direct role in the tragic events of September 11, 2001,” presumably referring to US support for al-Qaeda offshoot al-Nusra in Syria.