Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin are following a similar procedure that allows them to stretch the boundaries of legality without worrying about consequences from the United States, Republican Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday.
Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blasted President Barack Obama’s foreign policy on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, saying he just hopes they do nothing to overtly “embarrass” the U.S. He drew a connection between the current U.S. response to Russia’s moves in Ukraine and the response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria last August.
“I’ve urged in every way that I can for this administration to go ahead and, again, push back now. It’s going to be too late,” said Corker, who argued Friday the U.S. should consider sending lethal aid to Ukraine in addition to their non-lethal steps.
“Just like we did in Syria, where in essence, let’s face it — I hate to say such a crass thing on Easter Sunday morning — the wisest thing that Assad did really was to kill 1,200 people with chemical weapons. Because, in essence, we said, ‘Don’t embarrass us anymore that way. You can go ahead and kill another 60,000 people with barrel bombs and by other means, but don’t embarrass us.’
“And I think that’s what we’re saying to Russia today by the actions that we’re not taking: ‘Don’t embarrass us, but you can continue the black ops activities. You can continue the other things that you’re doing. We know that over time you’re going to reach the goals that the prime minister so eloquently laid out before. You’re going to reach those, but don’t do it in a way that embarrasses us.'”
Corker argued that like Assad, Putin does not believe he will suffer any consequences for his advances into Ukraine. Russia annexed the region of Crimea last month. Tensions have stirred in Ukraine’s eastern regions over the past few weeks, with the U.S. accusing Russia’s government of deliberately being behind pro-Russian separatists in the region.
Ultimately, he believes some of eastern Ukraine will suffer a similar fate as Crimea.
“I think Russia’s going to do it over time the way they’re doing it with black ops, intimidation,” he said. “I think we’re going to lose eastern Ukraine if we continue as we are. And I think it’s going to be a geopolitical disaster if that occurs.”
Here’s the clip:
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