Sunday, September 07, 2014

As Crises Pile Up, a President Sticks to His Deliberative Approach

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, NYT, SEPT. 6, 2014

WASHINGTON — On his way to Europe last week for a crucial NATO summit meeting, President Obama passed a mostly sleepless night.

With Russian tanks and troops advancing into eastern Ukraine and the release of a new video by Sunni militants showing the beheading of their second American captive in two weeks, Mr. Obama spent much of his overnight flight on Air Force One at work, including putting the final touches on a speech he would deliver in Tallinn, Estonia, the next day in which he said the United States and Europe were at a “moment of testing.”

The phrase was intended to set the stage for the NATO gathering in Wales aimed at forming a forceful response to Russia’s recent aggression in Ukraine, which is testing the alliance’s strength and credibility. But it applies just as directly to the president, who is laboring to respond to a complex and rapidly changing set of international crises that defy easy solutions.

A particularly vexing set of circumstances faces this president, who won office in part on the strength of his promises to end American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and whose approach to international problems has been centered on joining allies to confront security challenges.

(More here.)

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