Krauthammer Takes On Obama's 'Extraordinary Lethargy, Distance, Disinterest'

Don't mess with Charles Krauthammer. After President Obama’s lackluster speech on August 6 from the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in which Obama did not address any pressing foreign policy issues such as the building tensions in Ukraine or the multitude of conflicts in the Middle East unless specifically asked by reporters, Bret Baier of Fox News’ Special Report asked panelist Krauthammer to comment on the President’s apparent disengagement with foreign affairs. 

Baier remarked that Obama’s “Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel came out and said we could be looking at war between Russia and Ukraine as these troops or amassed along the boarder and yet in the opening statement, there was no statement.” Krauthammer responded by blasting the President for his “lethargy, distance, disinterest, uninterest, where he said you know, 'well if Russia invades we will look at the policy again.'" [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

The Pulitzer Prize winning-columnist tore into the President, who has “zero interest in the issue” and is “willing to let events dictate.” According to Krauthammer, “the one country that can deter Russia is ultimately the United States. And we're just saying we're going to watch” sending Putin “signals” that “ the one country that can deter Russia is ultimately the United States. And we're just saying we're going to watch.”

Krauthammer criticized Obama’s weak use of language. While the President chided Hamas for acting “irresponsibly” by “placing weapons among civilians,” the conservative commentator shot back that “It's a bloody war crime!” The president shows “no passion, no interest, nothing behind” his words, and did not “advanced any issue at all other than to showed adversaries, bad guys in this world, that you don't have to worry about this guy.”

As for the conflict in Ukraine, The Washington Post columnist sarcastically concluded that Obama is “going on vacation, grabbing the golf clubs and he'll be gone for a month and we'll see you when we come back. If Russia has taken over Ukraine he’ll deal with it when that happens.”

See transcript below:

FOX News
Special Report With Bret Baier
August 6, 2014
6:57 p.m. Eastern
1 minute and 42 seconds


BRET BAIER: To think, Charles, moments before, earlier in the day, his Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel came out and said we could be looking at war between Russia and Ukraine as these troops or amassed along the boarder and yet in the opening statement, there was no statement and fortunately Chris Jansing asked the question she asked.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: And his answer was demonstration of a word he loves, extraordinary lethargy, distance, disinterest, uninterest, where he said you know, well if Russia invades we will look at the policy again. And on sanctions he said, well, I'm not sure if it's working. He seemed to have zero interest in the issue and was willing to let events dictate. This is really unbelievable. This is to Russia, the one country that can deter Russia is ultimately the United States. And we're just saying we're going to watch. If that isn't a signal to Putin that he doesn't have to factor the United States in his calculation, I don't know what is. He was equally as sort of lethargic and disinterested and detached in talking about Hamas. He has no sympathy for Hamas? His own state department says it's a terrorist organization. He said placing weapons among civilians is irresponsible? It's a bloody war crime! I mean there's no passion, no interest, nothing behind it. You have to wonder why did he hold the press conference? I'm not sure that he advanced any issue at all other than to showed adversaries, bad guys in this world, that you don't have to worry about this guy. He's going on vacation, grabbing the golf clubs and he'll be gone for a month and we'll see you when we come back. If Russia has taken over Ukraine he’ll deal with it when that happens.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.