In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, President Obama took a shot at pundits – and Putin. He made the comments in response to a question about whether he’s getting rolled in his deal with Cuba.
“So let me move you on to the other big story that we’ve had, and that is your reach out or Cuba’s reach to you and your reach to Cuba,” Crowley started, according to a transcript provided by CNN. “Listening to the critics, part of this is they wrap it up in how you dealt with other sort of bad actors. Oh, this is what he’s done. He’s accommodated Syria by not crossing the red line. He has accommodated Iran by talking to them on nuclear weapons. You know, and sort of down the line, Russia — he’s allowed Putin to move in and take Crimea. And here’s the gist of it. The gist of it is that you’re naive and they’re rolling you.”
Obama responded, “Yes. So this was said about Mr. Putin, for example, three or four months ago. There was a spate of stories about how he is the chess master and outmaneuvering the West and outmaneuvering Mr. Obama and this and that and the other. And right now, he’s presiding over the collapse of his currency, a major financial crisis and a huge economic contraction.
“That doesn’t sound like somebody who has rolled me or the United States of America.
“There is this knee-jerk sense, I think, on the part of some in the foreign policy establishment that, you know, shooting first and thinking about it second, uh, projects strength. I disagree with.
“We have been very firm with respect to those countries that we think are violating international law or are acting against our interests.
“But I have been consistent in saying that where we can solve problems diplomatically, we should do so.