Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the Ukraine crisis has highlighted President Obama’s “incredible naivete” about President Vladimir Putin and his intentions for the region and world.
Obama said yesterday that his approach is “not to see this as some Cold-War chess board in which we’re in competition at Russia.”
McCain said “serious sanctions” need to move forward. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) proposed a framework for punitive action last night after consultation with his colleagues in the upper chamber.
“The president just displayed his incredible naivete about Vladimir. Remember, after I’m reelected, will be — tell Vladimir after I’m reelected will be more flexible. He doesn’t — president doesn’t think it’s a chess game, certainly, Vladimir Putin does,” McCain said on CNN.
“Vladimir Putin wants a restoration of the Russian empire of which the Ukraine is a crown jewel. And I’m very worried about what actions after the Olympics that Putin may take in order to ensure that,” the senator continued. “Remember, Russia is still occupying two parts of the territory of Georgia. And for us to not understand that Putin will do what he thinks almost unless he is restrained and constrained, he will do what’s necessary to keep Ukraine a crown jewel of the Russian empire in the Russian orbit despite the fact that the overall majority of Ukrainians want to be part of Europe and that’s what this is all about.”
“And again, this violence is escalating to a dramatic degree and what worries me is Russian intervention and possible losing parts of Ukraine, especially Crimea as well as eastern parts of Ukraine.”
McCain also noted that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Bashar al-Assad “has gotten stronger while we’ve gone through this charade of the Geneva meeting.”
“It was so outrageous and such as farce to think that they could go to Geneva and convince Bashar Assad to leave government to transition from being the head of Syria when he’s winning, when he’s winning on the battlefield. And that was a terrible joke,” McCain said.
“He has played us for fools and that meanwhile, the Russians, our buddy Vladimir and Sergei, as we called them, are flying in planeloads of Russian weapons which are killing people, and by the way, if you haven’t seen on my website and on Twitter, the pictures that came out of Syria that are documented to be accurate, the horrific pictures of these people who have slaughtered by Bashar Assad — and this president does not do anything of any affect, and it’s shameful.”