Former President Barack Obama was blasted Thursday for "self-serving revisionist history" after claiming he was tough on Russia as president.
While speaking at the "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy" conference at the University of Chicago, Obama claimed he was forced to "drag" European allies to take action against Russia for invading and annexing Crimea in 2014.
"I will say that, as someone who grappled with the incursion into Crimea and the eastern portions of Ukraine, I have been encouraged by the European reaction. Because, in 2014, I often had to drag them kicking and screaming to respond in ways that we would’ve wanted to see, from those of us who describe ourselves as Western democracies," Obama said.
The claim immediately drew criticism on social media.
Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms, an expert in international security, shared the video and said, "Watch Obama’s self-serving revisionist history of how his administration responded the last time Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014."
It was also pointed out that:
- Obama refused to arm Ukraine, an obvious target of Russian aggression.
- Obama refused to enforce his infamous red-line doctrine when Syria, backed by Russia, used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
- A Pentagon policy early in the Obama administration stated, "Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries."
- Obama admitted in a 2016 interview, when discussing the Crimea annexation, "The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-NATO country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do."
- Obama was weak on Russia in the latter years of his presidency because he wanted to pass the Iran nuclear deal, in which Russia was a key player.
And of course, perhaps the most infamous incident of all, Obama dismissed Russia as a serious threat during a 2012 presidential debate with Mitt Romney, who earlier in the election season said Russia is America's "number one geopolitical foe."
"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years," Obama told Romney in the debate.
Even James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence during the Obama administration, admitted in February that he wished the Obama administration had been tougher on Russia.
"I wish we, as an administration, had been more aggressive in 2014," Clapper told CNN host Jake Tapper.