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Republicans: Obama is 'All Talk and No Action' on Russia

Republican lawmakers called on President Obama to stop threatening Putin and take some action.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/3/2014, 5:15 AM

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Reuters

Republican lawmakers on Sunday called on President Barack Obama to stop threatening Russian President Vladimir Putin over incursion in Ukraine and take some action, CBS News reports.

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) said that Obama's warning to Russia on Friday that "there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine" was legless considering how restricted options are for the United States.

"Stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators; it is not your strong suit," Graham said. "Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody's eyes roll, including mine. We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression."

He continued, "If I were President Obama, I would reengage Poland and the Czech Republic regarding missile defense. I would admit Georgia to NATO. I would have a larger military presence in the Balkans to NATO members who are threatened by Russia.”

"I would fly the NATO flag as strongly as I could around Putin," said Graham. "I would suspend his membership in the G-8, be the G-7. The G-20 would become the G-19 at least for a year. And every day he stays in the Ukraine, I would add to it."

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, took a similar line to that of Graham’s, telling "Fox News Sunday" that "there are not a lot of options on the table."

"Putin is playing chess, and I think we are playing marbles," said Rogers. "And I don't think it's even close.”

He continued, "I believe it's the naive position on the National Security Council and the president's advisers that, if we just keep giving things to Russia, they'll wake up and say, 'the United States is not that bad.' That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what Russia does."

Asked specifically if he joins some of his colleagues in blaming the president's foreign policy record, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), told NBC's "Meet the Press," "I think our policy toward Russia under this administration deserves a heavy amount of criticism."

He added, however, "I usually shy away from that in moments of crisis, when it's important for the nation to speak with one voice."

On Saturday, Obama threatened Putin with political and economic isolation” over Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine.

The White House said Obama called on Putin to pull Russian troops back to their bases in Crimea and warned that continued violation of international law by Moscow would lead to further "political and economic isolation.”

In the wake of Obama’s “all talk and no action” reaction to the situation in Ukraine, some news outlets in the United States reminded of how Obama mocked his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who  attacked the Obama administration's "reset policy" with Russia during the 2012 presidential campaign. 

Obama later mocked his rival during the third presidential debate and said, “I'm glad that you recognize that Al-Qaeda's a threat because a few months ago when you were asked, what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia -- not Al-Qaeda, you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years.”

On Friday, the Breitbart website reminded those who may have forgotten that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin warned that if Obama were elected president, his "indecision" and "moral equivalence" may encourage Russia's Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

Palin, too, was mocked for her comments, particularly by the Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who wrote at the time that Palin's comments were "strange" and "this is an extremely far-fetched scenario."

Palin herself wrote on Facebook on Friday, “Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as ‘an extremely far-fetched scenario’ by the ‘high-brow’ Foreign Policy magazine.”