Obama and Putin: Cold War or Just Cold Shoulder?

By:  Jack Kenny
06/16/2014
       
Obama and Putin: Cold War or Just Cold Shoulder?

President Obama avoids contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin while war rages in Ukraine.

As each day's headlines bring new reports of Iraqi cities overrun by forces of the al-Qaeda-led Islamic Republic of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), other reports indicate that the war over the future of Ukraine will not be quelled by the economic pressure that the United States and its Western allies are applying against selected targets in Russia.

Sunday's news included reports that separatists seeking alignment with Russia in the former Soviet territory shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane, killing the nine crew members and 40 paratroopers aboard in the deadliest incident in what the New York Times delicately calls the "unrest" in the eastern region of Ukraine. The State Department confirmed Friday that Russia sent T-64 tanks and BM-21 multiple rocket launchers to aid pro-Russian fighters battling against Ukrainian government forces.

On Saturday, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) called on President Obama to impose tougher sanctions aimed at isolating Russia economically and diplomatically.

"None of the minor actions that have been taken so far have changed Putin's calculus, so a failure to respond vigorously now will have disastrous consequences, not only for Ukraine, but all neighboring countries who face similar threats from Russia," said Corker, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Tennessee lawmaker has introduced legislation that would place immediate new sanctions on Russian officials involved in the occupation of Crimea as well as on Russian banks and corporations linked to the rebellion in East Ukraine. The bill would impose further sanctions to bar Russian officials and companies from the world's financial system if Russia sends troops into the country or attempts to annex any part of Ukraine.

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Photo of U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin displayed on a video screen at the D-Day commemoration in France: AP Images

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