December 1st, 2007
06:56 PM ET
11 years ago

Giuliani advocates military build-up to counter Putin

Giuliani said a larger military will help counter Russian and Chinese influence.

OKATIE, South Carolina (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Friday advocated a strong military build-up by the United States as a bulwark against the oil-rich Russian President Vladimir Putin and his increasing consolidation of power in the country.

"The good part with Russia is we're not in a Cold War, there is no longer a Soviet empire, their desires are still of a matter of concern but they're not nearly what they used to be and we don't want to get ourselves back into that," said Giuliani, who described Putin as both "good and bad."

"Long term the way we prevent getting ourselves back into that, both with regard to Russia, and even China, is to become militarily even stronger."

The former New York City mayor was responding to a questioner at a town hall meeting who asked: "What are you going to do about Putin?"

Giuliani provided little detail on what being "stronger" would mean, other than saying the "best answer" to the Kremlin would be "a substantial increase in the size of our military."

He justified his claim, explaining that a robust military was the primary reason behind the United States' success in the Cold War. Giuliani said U.S. and European demilitarization after the two World Wars was a mistake that contributed to the growth of Nazism and communism, and he also criticized the post-Cold War peace dividend as "way too big."

Giuliani predicted Putin's "energy extortion" would create more global allies for the United States than it would for Russia.

Still, he said he would maintain a good economic relationship with Russia, but would criticize the Kremlin as needed.

"You keep pointing out the ways that which they are sliding back, because Putin is to some extent sliding back, and you keep making the world know that," he said.

The Putin question is partially moot on the campaign trail, because the Russian president's term expires next year, before Americans cast their ballots.

However, Putin's United Russia Party is expected to maintain its hold on power in this Sunday's Parliamentary elections, and it's been suggested Putin could play a role in the government even after he leaves the presidency.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Rudy Giuliani • South Carolina
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Mike, Marquette, MI

    It seems that, psychologically, Giuliani is one of the guys like the kids in high school who walks around with a swagger and shoulders anyone out of his way.

    There is an arrested adolescence to this man – a lust for confrontation – that is so utterly dangerous at this national and global moment.

    God help us all if this man is elected.

    December 1, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    I would be scared to death at the thought of this unqualified Bush clone in control of our military and foreign policy. God help us if this self-centered egomaniac politician gets the GOP nomination and wins the election-it will be the downfall of this great country once and for all!

    December 1, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Patty D. Bristol, PA

    Unbelievable! But hey, Rudy's got good ole Pat Robertson on his side! I can't understand how these buffoons became the faces of the Republican party. I pray a democrat wins. If not the middle class is doomed.

    December 1, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Chance, Waldorf MD

    Okay, as a die hard liberal I'm not planning on voting republican anyway, but at least Rudy seemed fairly moderate on several issues important to me. However, this comment freaks me out. I'd rather have an ultraconservative in the White House than a candidate who wants to restart the cold war. Imagine how bad Iraq would be if the Russians decided to covertly supply the insurgents. That's how cold wars are fought Rudy. Keep this psycho out of the White House.

    December 1, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. Duncan, Elgin, IL

    Giuliani...not even president and he's rattling the sabre towards Russia. Building up the military, necessarily or not, sends one clear message, "We're looking for a fight!"

    December 1, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Andy, New York, New York

    This is so powerful! Giuliani, like Dubya, knows what time of day it is! It's all about defense! We're either pro-active military power brokers or sidelined spectators! Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela are not playing! We can't either! With a socialist-friendly Hillary Clinton in the White House, America's superpower status with a strong military becomes suspect, much like it was under her husband, Bill. If Bill had balanced our economy with our military we won't be facing as much opposition today from communists, terrorists and opportunists.

    December 1, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Rob Michael Harman

    In an attempt to discredit the record of his abusive spending, Rudy recently accused his fellow Americans of staging a 'hit job' when they reported on his waste of taxpayer money – which was spent on luxurious travel accomodations, and other countless excesses. Now he wants to state an obvious military strategy, match or exceed the enemy, as a rallying point so you'll think he's some visionary or competant leader. The brilliant media minds have their work cut out for them if they are to make up for Giuliani's intellectual deficiencies.

    December 1, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Yes...we need to ignore Russia and China....just because China is using all the money we send to them to either invest in their military....or buy American businesses – is no reason to be concerned...yes Democrats....we don't need a all....what a smart bunch....

    December 1, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. S. Wright

    If a country disarms itself, or fails to keep up, it doubles the armament of its enemies.

    Standard maxim throughout all of history. It's too bad that too many in this topic are little more that a bunch of Neville Chamberlains waiving their precious paper treaties in the air.

    Paper burns, people.

    December 1, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  10. d, baltimore, md

    I hope to see this end his campaign...he is a very scary, hateful little man who is trying to win by frightening americans...and he would run international relations like a prosecuting attorney, not the bridge builder the world needs.

    December 1, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. jc, chicago, illinois

    you cant even spell hussein right
    and adding to the geopolitical nightmare in russia by making OUR military even bigger is sensationalist, rediculous, and cant POSSIBLY be a step toward peace, which leaves it as a step towards war.

    December 2, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  12. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    Just what the world needs–another Cold War started by Rambo Rudy!

    December 2, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  13. Mike, Pittsburgh, PA

    Rudy is right-on with his assesment of the Putin situation and how to "manage" it.

    December 2, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  14. Rudy is an idiot.

    This is one of the most stupid things I've ever seen a candidate on either side do. Arms build-up WAS the Cold War and the reason that the Soviets were our opposition back then. If the USA got more weapons than the Soviets, the Soviets got more weapons to compensate. Then the USA got more weapons to assert superiority, etc until Gorbachev ended it. Neither side had planned global domination, only the protection of their own interests at home.

    I sincerely hope that Rudy supporters read this and realize what he is. He is a war hawk and is entirely unfit to assume the single most powerful position in the world.

    December 2, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  15. Michael Sheridan, Grand Rapids, MI

    Yes…we need to ignore Russia and China….just because China is using all the money we send to them to either invest in their military….or buy American businesses – is no reason to be concerned…yes Democrats….we don't need a military….at all….what a smart bunch….
    Posted By Chris, Middletown, CT : December 1, 2007 10:38 pm

    I don't see many people calling for us to ignore Russia and China, and very few (if any) are advocating that we don't need any sort of military. Your straw man is just a little obvious, don't you think?

    You bring up an interesting point, though. We're buying more and more stuff from China, sending them more and more of our money – which they then use to buy up the debt instruments needed to fund the GOP's reckless "borrow and spend" fiscal policy. How would going even deeper in debt to build up our military do anything at all to alleviate this problem? Regardless of the size of our "big stick", China won't attack us when they can just keep lending us the money that we spend on their stuff, eventually allowing them to buy us lock, stock and barrel. What are we going to do – threaten to bomb them if they stop selling Wal*Mart their cheap tat, or (even more ridiculously) if they decide not to buy our T-bills?

    We have the world's strongest military force already, more than large enough to protect the physical security of our actual territory. It has become apparent, however, that it isn't sufficient to fulfill that mission, provide occupying forces in half the countries of the globe AND try to put down an insurgency in a medium-sized country all at the same time. That isn't a good argument for increasing the size of our military, though; rather, it is proof that we have a Cold War "persistence of vision" problem in which every challenge to any aspect of our alleged "superiority" is seen as an existential threat.

    December 2, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  16. Daniel, NY

    Major shake-up in the GOP race tonight, as a just released Iowa poll gives Mike Huckabee his biggest lead over Mitt Romney of yet!

    December 2, 2007 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  17. Joe Mahma


    December 2, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  18. Andrew, Austin TX

    Yes, let's build up our military, rather than fixing the problems we have back home. How can anybody seriously consider this guy? Thanks for screwing over your children, generation spend-who-cares.

    December 2, 2007 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  19. James Chirico - NYC

    Giuliani and McCain are both correct in building up our ground forces. Both are wrong for seeing Iran as a threat to this country. With Chinese supplied missle technology Iran can hit Israel. Does anyone in this country believe Israel will allow Iran nuclear weapons? Sell them a few B2 bombers to allow them strategic superiority. The troop build up should allow quicker rotation and less time in country. If we increase strength enough we may consider saving the millions being killed in Africa (Sudan, Congo, Somalia). We save lives, we get friends for life, we destroy lives, Iraq war on the cheap, the world hates us. Rudy after getting in bed with Bush's oil people through his security firm has not said one word about Saudi terrorism since handing back the sheik his 100 million dollar check. He will never get my vote since oil interests have become more important than US security.

    December 2, 2007 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  20. Marcus - Paris, TX

    1) He didn't say "arms build-up". He said a build-up in military size. Iraq has already shown that we DO NOT have the military size to fight an engagement.

    2) The Democratic Congress has ALREADY voted to expand the authorized size of the army and Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is authorized its highest strength since WWII. The army is expanding by over 60,000 by 2011.

    3) In the case that Russia does become belligerant, there will be no time to draft, train, equip, and assign forces. In both world wars it took us over a year to raise a military large enough to fight. But, back then we weren't Target #1, and we had two oceans surrounding us. Today, those oceans are A LOT smaller.

    4) Whether Republican or Democrat, there's already going to be a lot of military spending to rebuild the forces from Iraq, and get enough recruits for the rotation.

    5) We have the SMALLEST (except for Britain) conventional, developed military force in the world. We have BARELY 1 million army and Marines. Divide by 7 and that's how many combat soldiers and Marines we have. It would take AT LEAST 5 million just to secure California.

    6) Russia declared itself an adversary in 2004 and again in 2006. We must take them seriously. China has been closing ports of call to US warships (these are regular port calls too).

    7) He said nothing about "fighting" them. It's the same strategy Lincoln empolyed with the rebels. He is after all considered a "great" president. He raised 75,000 soldiers before he even took office as a reason for the South to negotiate instead of fight.

    8) There is already more than a growing concern that Putin's party will use a landslide victory to change the constitution (if they receive 66% or more of the vote they will be able to do this) so that Putin could again run for president. Will they? Don't know. Would he? Don't know. But it's enough to warrant a close eye.

    9) Most people are simpletons and view Iraq as purely a war for oil. That is how people are. Very few ever see what was actually happening until after it happened. It is stupid to think that in the middle of a war you think you know the causes, what's going on, and what's going to happen.

    10) It doesn't matter who you vote for, this will happen. Your Democratic congress has already authorized it, Hillary has stopped her "everyone out by 2009" speeches, massive signing bonuses have been attatched to combat arms (infantry, cavalry, artilerry, armored). It doesn't take a genius to realize the the Pentagon (whom Bush and Rumsfeld ignored when they went to Iraq) see something and are trying to prepare (and this time they are listening, but the American people are not.)

    11) It is always better to have the military and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    12) We always like to look to the Greek philosophers and talk about how smart they were. Let's look at what they told us.

    "Provide in peace what is needed in war."

    "Arms keep peace."

    "Nobody enters into war uninformed, and those that think something can be gained from it will not be deterred by either caution or fear"

    "Never trust an alliance with the powerful."

    "The strong did what they could, and the weak suffered what they must."

    "The few cannot contend with the many; the weak cannot contend with the strong."

    13) A war has never started because a country was too strong. And strong or not, if any country thinks they will gain something by fighting us, there is no way to stop it.

    14) If it does happen, we will probably only have time to react. Not time to build an army, train the army, equip the army, pay the army, and then react.

    15) And finally, winning wars (and preventing them) is entirely about initiative. Gain the initiative, win the battle/war. Lose the initiative, lose the battle/war.

    December 2, 2007 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  21. Jack - San Diego, CA

    What is peace? Really, everybody talks about defining the mission in Iraq, somebody please define "peace" to me. The absence of war? Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, Panama, Iran, Sierra Leonne, Rwanda, Mogadishu...all of this happened while we were at "peace", so I'm going to guess that that's not their definition. Low gas prices? Oh, and more US personel died in 1980 (when we were at "peace") than have died in any year since Afghanistan or Iraq started. And except for three years, the 90s tied the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In each year we lost about 1,500 military personnel. The three years we didn't it was 800, 900, and 1,250.

    Also, about Russia enjoying watching and everything. So far, between the US and Russia, only one country's economy hasn't collapsed. That's right. Tuck your tail and go on back to the Kremlin like you did in 1990.

    In the end, and not really trying to sound macho, but just letting you know, let Putin have his "justification" and let him hit us. He'll learn the same lesson we taught the Germans, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, and what the insurgents are learning.

    That lesson is, when you fight me and my Marines, a lot of you die.

    -"Iraq is loss. We should concentrate elsewhere, rebuild our forces, and prepare for the coming campagins"
    – Osama bin Laden, 2005

    December 2, 2007 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  22. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Walt in TX Said: "Since Clinton reduced the Federal government by 15 percent which reduced the military by 40 percent, while no one else was affected, this is a long time coming! Way to go, Rudy!!!!"

    I love it when Republicans spout their brainwashed statistics. Frankly, although Clinton did reduce some D.O.D. spending–quality of life issues spending went up. The "Advanced Tactical Fighter" was finally funded...and truly most of the reductions in "military facilities (not personnel) was due to Graham/Rudman base closures–which we all know was created, sponsored, and passed by a Repuclican congress. In reality troop strenght remained static in all branches of the services–and the reductions were gained from improved efficiency in D.O.D. budgeting–thanks to Al Gore. Get the facts right.

    December 2, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. DON, new york, ny

    The tail wags the dog.

    Giuliani uses this military build-up excuse to divert his personal extra-maritial expense issue hitting the news.

    Giuliani builds his campaign on his new york mayor record. On 9/10, he was an unde-rachiever as a mayor, and be became a hero on 9/11. To many new yorkers, giuliani is no hero.

    To people unknown to him, Giuliani may look good from a distance. But to people knowing him well, Giuliani disappoints them as husband, father, mayor or leader.

    December 2, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. David MTL Ca

    The man in drag is as dumb as it gets
    no don't talk to the russians lets have another arms race what an imbecile

    December 2, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. David MTL Ca

    HE wants to borrow another 2 trillion from China to invade them

    HEy! jewliani your the biggest nut case of all the candidates with Mccain bozo as your running mate America will be executed from within.

    While kucinich and Ron Paul the only truely founding fathers material in the race get laughed at by Americans
    Little do the Americans know that they are going to be told who is the next president the e machines will let Americans know who will be president and it wont be anything that is founding father material I assure you it will be evil and ready for another round of dismemberment of America.
    Piece by piece they will rip America assunder and all because Americans are too dumb and too lard arse to riot like their forefathers
    America the cesspool of freedom
    E machines and judeges saying which one is president like in 2000 how is that democracy
    it would be laughable if it were not so tragic

    December 2, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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