President Barack Obama is blaming Russia for the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, but says the U.S. won't take military action there. Obama also says confronting the Islamic State militants requires a regional strategy with Middle East states. (Aug
President Barack Obama gestures in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, where he spoke about the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON — Faced with deepening crises in the Middle East and Ukraine, President Barack Obama is putting the brakes on the notion that American military power can solve either conflict.
That stance is in keeping with Obama's long-standing aversion to military entanglements. But it comes at a time when the effectiveness of his preferred options is being challenged and there are indications that some in the administration are ready to take more robust actions.
In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Obama has relied largely on coordinated U.S. and European Union economic sanctions to try to shift Russian President Vladimir Putin (POO'-tihn)'s calculus. While the White House can claim credit for inflicting some pain on Russia's economy, Putin appears to be only getting more aggressive.
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