Obama: U.S. Trying to Create 'Strong Set of Rules That Govern the Int'l Order'

April 25, 2014 - 5:29 AM

Japan Obama Asia

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference in Tokyo, Thursday, April 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - In brief remarks as he appeared with the Japanese prime minister Thursday, President Barack Obama hailed the U.S.-Japan alliance, which goes beyond the military, he said:

"Our shared Democratic values mean that we have to work together in multilateral settings to deal with regional hotspots around the globe, but also to try to make sure that we are creating a strong set of rules that govern the international order."

Obama did not elaborate, but Ukraine currently tops the list of regional hotspots.

The Obama administration so far has been unsuccessful in enforcing the rules it has set for Russia, and frustration is boiling over for Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry had sharp words for Russia on Thursday evening, telling reporters at the State Department that "you can't resolve a crisis when only one side is willing to do what is necessary to avoid a confrontation."

Kerry accused Russia of violating the agreement to avoid further escalation in Ukraine:

"Every day since we left Geneva, every day, even up to today, when Russia sent armored battalions right up to the Luhansk Oblast border, the world has witnessed a tale of two countries, two countries with vastly different understandings of what it means to uphold an international agreement."

Only Ukraine is doing its part, Kerry said, while Russia is engaging in "distraction, deception and destabilization."

Kerry also complained about state-run "Russia Today" television, calling it a "propaganda bullhorn" that is being used to promote "President Putin's fantasy" about  "what is happening or not happening in Ukraine."

Kerry continued: "So following today's threatening movement of Russian troops right up to Ukraine's border, let me be clear: If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake. Already, the international response to the choices made by Russia's leaders is taking its toll on Russia's economy."

Kerry said the economic toll on Russia is just a "preview of how the free world will respond if Russia continues to escalate what they had promised to de-escalate."

He concluded with a warning: "The window to change course is closing. President Putin and Russia face a choice. If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation, the international community, all of us, will welcome it. If Russia does not, the world will make sure that the costs for Russia will only grow. And as President Obama reiterated earlier today, we are ready to act."

Kerry did not take questions.