Published December 20, 2015
The Obama administration using Twitter to show public support for Ukraine and to negotiate with Russia after the annexation of Crimea is sparking another round of accusations about President Obama being soft on foreign policy.
The most recent criticism followed a tweet late Thursday by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“The world stands #UnitedforUkraine. Let’s hope that the #Kremlin & @mfa Russia will live by the promise of hashtag,” she posted.
The tweet apparently was in response to Russia using the hashtag -- which essentially brings like-minded tweets into a collective batch -- to further its own agenda on social media.
“Note to the State Department: ‘The promise of a hashtag’ isn't going to make [Russian President] Putin pull out of Ukraine,” Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted Saturday.
Supporters of the administration using Twitter argue that social media is a fast, non-filtered way to connect with Ukrainians and others around the world, particularly amid the country's months of political unrest.
In February, Ukraine ousted Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych, which was followed by Putin sending troops into eastern Ukraine and annexing the Crimea peninsula, arguing he had to protect his country's interests and ethnic Russians in the region.
The situation has continued to escalate with pro-Russian groups taking over government buildings and establishing roadblocks, which Western allies say has been inspired by Moscow operatives in the region. In addition, a recent United Nations-backed peace treaty was violated over Easter weekend with a fatal shooting attack at a checkpoint.
Former Arkansas Gov. and potential 2016 GOP president candidate Mike Huckabee on Saturday also criticized the Psaki tweet.
“The thought that somebody would come at him with 160 characters is absolutely terrifying to Vladimir Putin,” Huckabee, who also is a Fox News contributor, said mockingly.
The United States has imposed some sanctions on Russia. But on Friday, Obama and other Western leaders decide to wait on imposing additional ones.
"I think it's important for us not to anticipate that the targeted sanctions that we're applying now necessarily solve the problem," Obama said in a news conference in South Korea.
Criticism about Obama having a weak foreign policy strategy is not limited to conservatives.
New York Times critic David Brooks said this week on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “Let's face it Obama whether deservedly or not does have a -- I'll say it crudely -- but a manhood problem in the Middle East.
“Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, somebody like Putin -- and I think a lot of the rap is unfair but certainly in the Middle East there is an assumption it's not tough enough.”