From sanctions to storms: 5 takeaways from Obama's Philippines news conference
April 28th, 2014
09:28 AM ET
5 months ago

From sanctions to storms: 5 takeaways from Obama's Philippines news conference

Manila, Philippines (CNN) - Feeling the pull back to pressing matters back in Washington, President Barack Obama found his fourth and final news conference on his trip to Asia dominated by events far removed from the Pacific theater.

At a joint news conference with Philippines President Benigo "Noynoy" Aquino, the President announced the U.S. will impose a new round of sanctions against Russia over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Obama described the latest economic penalties against Russian "individuals and companies," including the halting of some high tech defense exports. The President warned broader sectoral sanctions against banking and defense industries in Moscow could come next.

It's not about Putin

Asked whether the U.S. is taking a harder look at targeting Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose wealth is reported to make him one of the world's richest leaders, Obama said the new sanctions are aimed at forcing Moscow to help deescalate tensions in Ukraine.

'The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally. The goal is to change his calculus," Obama said.

But the President said candidly he had his own doubts whether the renewed economic pressure would be effective. "We don't know yet if it will work," Obama said.

Pledge to help storm victims

The President offered immediate federal support to communities struck by a deadly wave of tornados and strong storms in the South and Midwest Sunday that have left at least 18 people dead, according to the latest reports from local authorities to CNN.

"Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes," Obama said, pledging assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to first responders in storm ravaged areas.

Obama pushes back on foreign policy critics

Pressed again about his second term foreign policy strategy that has opted for diplomacy first in response to an array of global crises, Obama said his more hawkish critics "haven't really learned the lessons of the last decade."

Obama again defended his decision against carrying out airstrikes in Syria and he rejected suggestions to provide direct military aid to Ukraine

"Do people actually think that somehow that sending some additional arms to Ukraine will deter the Russian army," the President asked.

Obama administration to investigate veterans deaths

Asked about the approximately 40 veterans who died waiting for care in the Phoenix VA health system, a story first reported by CNN, the President said he immediately launched an investigation as soon as he learned of the matter.

"We take the allegations very seriously," Obama said, noting a separate inspector general report is also under way.

Asia trip not about China

During this final stop in his seven day Asia trip, the President touted a new defense agreement with the Philippines that will allow the U.S. military to utilize bases in the archipelago over the next ten years.

But Obama denied the move is aimed at halting China's rapid rise in the Asia Pacific region.

"Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China," Obama said.​ "It's inevitable that China will be a dominant power in this region," he added.


Filed under: President Obama • Russia
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Harold Read

    Unfortunately, Putin has already sensed that Obama is weak on all fronts as a leader.
    One of the US's main weapons, it's economy, is in shambles. But the ObamaBot lemmings tout it is the greatest economy since the inception of money.

    April 28, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    -–I bet these bickering Republicans forgot the damage done to USA financially in the last 10 years by Bush un-necessary war with IRAQ, WHICH DRAINED USA TREASURY. Now they want war with Russia–Russia is not Iraq–more so, why not they question EU? It has it's huge responsibility–it's answer too. Regarding business partnership is concerned. Focus on home-front.

    April 28, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Fred Rutherford

    Thank you for your strong leadership Mr. President!

    April 28, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Darla Hood

    @Harold Read
    Unfortunately, Putin has already sensed that Obama is weak on all fronts as a leader.
    One of the US's main weapons, it's economy, is in shambles. But the ObamaBot lemmings tout it is the greatest economy since the inception of money.

    Obama weak? But Faux "News" just said he is a lawless dictator! Which one is he this week Scooter?

    April 28, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Jay North

    @Harold Read
    But the ObamaBot lemmings tout it is the greatest economy since the inception of money.

    Really? We say that? Show us where any "Liberal" ever said anything like that. Jerk.

    April 28, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    " One of those critics is U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, who said on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “Right now worldwide our enemies don't fear us. Our friends don't trust us, and when we show weakness, it emboldens people around the world who are our enemies, whether they're in Iran, Syria, Russia or North Korea.” "
    ---------------------
    I do believe that the good Senator just named four more Republican wars. Five, if you count Russia. To top it all off, the Republican budget, The Ryan Plan, calls for trillions in tax cuts and increased Pentagon spending over the next decade. The intent of Repubilcans is as plain as black and white. Never mind their words, just look at their actions. Loud and clear.

    April 28, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. rs

    Unfortunately, Putin has already sensed that Obama is weak on all fronts as a leader.
    One of the US's main weapons, it's economy, is in shambles. But the ObamaBot lemmings tout it is the greatest economy since the inception of money.
    ________________________
    No doubt our economy is less-than-perfect, especially with the smallest growth in the middle class among the world's first tier nations. Who helped make that happen? Here's a hint: "leave no millionaire behind"- the rallying cry of the Right! Name one thing the GOP has done since crashing our economy to either get the economy going or to help the middle class. Here's a hint: Zip!
    As far as "weakness" I wish you Righties would grow up! Remind me about what Bush did when Georgia fell to Putin. Come on, tell us.

    April 28, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. Marcus (from...?)

    'One of the US's main weapons, it's economy, is in shambles.'
    'But the ObamaBot lemmings tout it is the greatest economy since the inception of money'

    Hey Harry, put the 1st phrase in the past tense will ya?
    As for the 2nd one I really don't want to know what sources you have for that... all that we have said is that it IS getting better. Not that the economy is great, far from it, but it has been recovering from the mess of 2008 thanks solely to the POTUS (and his supporters in Congress) since the opposition hasn't done one real deal act to help it (and all the others issues the nation has faced since 2009) favoring a 'do-nothing-and-obstruct-everything' approach.

    April 28, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. devil's advocate

    Could not agree more Rudy, and this is how we got into a recession, exactly that way, but some honestly believe the gop is the answer, how do you deal with someone like that? How hard is it to see, really? Its scary ad he11 to think how many struggling people will vote gop again, and that the top 1%, who took in 95% of the wealth, need more incentives to help, and they need just a little more tax breaks, and your lives will all be better, what in the he11 are they drinking?

    April 28, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    God bless you Mr. President!

    April 28, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    " One of those critics is U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, who said on CNN’s “State of the Union”: “Right now worldwide our enemies don't fear us. Our friends don't trust us, and when we show weakness, it emboldens people around the world who are our enemies, whether they're in Iran, Syria, Russia or North Korea.” "
    -------
    I do believe that the good Senator just named four more Republican wars. Five, if you count Russia. To top it all off, the Republican budget, The Ryan Plan, calls for trillions in tax cuts and increased Pentagon spending over the next decade. The intent of Repubilcans is as plain as black and white. Never mind their words, just look at their actions. Loud and clear.
    -------–
    First, stop counting Russia twice. Second, if you don't think those countries are enemies to the United States, you're delusional. Third, can any Republican mention a country without you projecting that into an armed conflict?

    April 28, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Lizzie

    Might want to read "King Obama our latest Monarch" in USA today

    April 28, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    @rs, I can name three things, one is Obamacare, Obama is bad, Benghazi–shhh, the other is Birth certificate. How about that!!! GOP is pretty much out of reality.

    April 28, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. rs

    devil's advocate

    Could not agree more Rudy, and this is how we got into a recession, exactly that way, but some honestly believe the gop is the answer, how do you deal with someone like that? How hard is it to see, really? Its scary ad he11 to think how many struggling people will vote gop again, and that the top 1%, who took in 95% of the wealth, need more incentives to help, and they need just a little more tax breaks, and your lives will all be better, what in the he11 are they drinking?
    ______________________
    Exactly- the GOP has nothing.
    Their policies still reflect the very values and ideas that crashed the economy (primarily "no regulations"); their social policies are from about 1850; their racial policies are so bad they are plowing fresh ground. The only Americans they care about are the super-rich, and as far as their solutions for what ails the nation- well they see Americans and the American government as problems one and two.

    April 28, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. rs

    Lizzie

    Might want to read "King Obama our latest Monarch" in USA today
    _____________________
    Did they have text, or was it just pictures?

    April 28, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "Netanyahu is adamant that he will not negotiate with a unity Palestinian government. "

    Netanyahu is adamant that he will find any excuse not to negotiate.

    FIFY

    April 28, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. rs

    Meanwhile, it is good to see the President has gotten FEMA on track to help the victims of the violent weather and tornados of the Midwest.
    And once again, we see another graphic demonstration of the differences between Right and Left. Each and every Republican Governor in those states has acted against then betterment of their own citizens in regard to Medicaid expansion and regularly deride the President and the federal government, but you'll bet they'll have their hands out for emergency money. Maybe at least for a few days they'll hold their anti-government rhetoric to a bare minimum.

    April 28, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    -true, Israel is going to be next "APARTHEID STATE". True, of course, some Mandela is going to be reborn.

    April 28, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. AzDem

    I see the GOP is wanting another war. Apparently the Bush dynasty did not start enough.. For those who like war....sign up and go! Different story when your boots are on the ground!

    April 28, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Chris-E...al

    Yes may god give you just a little dose of wisdom in this trying time . Ask him do something mr prez .

    April 28, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Third, can any Republican mention a country without you projecting that into an armed conflict?"

    Nope. They're so hellbent on spending money on defense contractors, weapon manufacturers and the rest of the military industrial complex tha3t no, they cannot be trusted to be doing anything other than trying to manufacture more military actions and conflict in order to justify more such spending.

    April 28, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |