Thursday, Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine, it is presumed by separatist rebels armed and advised by Russia. The airliner carried nearly 300 passengers and crew, at least 23 of which were American. There were no survivors.
The reaction of the Obama administration has thus far been somewhat muted. President Obama barely interrupted his schedule that included a photo op at a local Washington eatery and a fundraiser in New York to announce, “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.” Then he told some jokes The daily State Department briefing handled the matter in a similar fashion, by not leading with it, which apparently appalled Fox News anchor Shep Smith.
The reaction to the Obama administration’s reaction to the shoot down has been universally negative. Even Piers Morgan, the uber liberal British talking head and former CNN host, was moved to tweet, “President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. 23 Americans killed and he says 'it looks like a terrible tragedy' then back to jokes?” Charles Krauthammer was blunter in his assessment, slamming the president for denying the Ukraine support.
Many are already comparing the reaction of Obama to the Malaysian Airlines shoot down to the one expressed by President Reagan to an incident in 1983 when the Soviet Air force shot down a Korean Airlines jet, killing all aboard. Reagan flew immediately back to Washington from California and delivered a nationwide address in which he accused the Soviet Union of committing a crime against humanity and announced retaliatory sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin must be thanking his lucky stars in a day that is turning out terribly for him that Obama and not Reagan is president. The incident has directed attention back to his imperial aggression in the Ukraine where he had supported and supplied separatist rebels in a gambit to seize even more territory from a sovereign state. Reagan would be preparing to make his life and that of Russia a living hell. Obama wishes that the matter would just go away.