President Obama tried to rally NATO and European allies to step up and take more of a leading role against Russia during an address in Brussels on Wednesday, but he tried to avoid being too confrontational.
“This is not another Cold War that we’re entering into,” he said. “After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no block of nations, no global ideology.”
Obama told the audience of mainly Belgian students that the Western goal in Ukraine is not to control the nation or assert military dominance, but rather to allow the “Ukrainian people to make their own decisions, just like other free people around the world.”
The president repeatedly cited historical precedents of U.S.–European cooperation in defense of democratic ideals, mentioning both World Wars.
“Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident – that in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force; that international law matters; that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future,” he said.