March 3, 2014
Benitez: Russian Invasion of Ukraine Demands NATO Response
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin is a watershed in European history. It may also become the defining moment for the presidency of Barack Obama. Unfortunately, Obama's response to the crisis in Crimea has been more disappointing than presidential. Obama has failed to provide the personal priority, urgency, and multinational effort necessary to resolve this pivotal crisis. The best way to deal with Putin's power grab is for Obama to meet within 48 hours in Warsaw with the other leaders of NATO to announce united action against Russia.
This would send the right message to the American people, our allies, Ukraine, and Russia. First, it would communicate that this crisis is receiving the highest priority of the President of the United States. There is a broad sense in the United States and across the world that Putin's invasion of Ukraine is Obama's Cuban missile crisis. Anything less than Obama's personal leadership in the international community's response to the Ukraine crisis will show lack of commitment to both Putin and our allies. It will fail to deter Putin and weaken the trust of our friends, especially those closest to Russia's military aggression.