McCain: Ukraine crisis result of 'feckless' foreign policy
March 3rd, 2014
11:50 AM ET
9 months ago

McCain: Ukraine crisis result of 'feckless' foreign policy

Washington (CNN) - Sen. John McCain says the escalating crisis in Ukraine is the result of what he calls a "feckless foreign policy" by the White House.

Speaking Monday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference in the nation's capital, the Republican senator from Arizona was critical of the man he lost to in the 2008 presidential election.

"The President of the United states believes that the Cold War is over. That's fine, it is over but (Russian President Vladimir) Putin doesn't believe it's over. He doesn't believe that this is a zero sum game. Look at Moldova. Look at the occupation of Georgia. Look at the pressure on the Baltic nations. Look at what they are doing in assisting (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad slaughter tens of thousands of innocent people in cities and towns and the countryside all over Syria. It is an outrage," McCain said.

McCain added that Putin's use of military force in the Crimean Peninsula, an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to Moscow, "is the ultimate result of feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength anymore."

Watch: Sen. John McCain will appear on CNN's "Wolf" with Wolf Blitzer at 1 p.m. ET.

McCain, a vocal critic of Obama when it comes to foreign policy, has used the word "feckless" in the past to describe the President's response to international crises. The senator is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Discussing what options the United States has in responding to Moscow, McCain said "I have to be very honest with you there is not a military option that could be exercised now but the most powerful and biggest and strongest nation in the world should have plenty of options. And those options are many."

Earlier Monday, Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday the best leverage the U.S. can exert for now is "financial."

"The Achilles heel for Russia is their economy–the ruble," the California Republican said on CNN's "New Day."

"We have to lead and we have to rally Europe around a series of steps that would actually impact the Russians economically: sanctions against state-owned banks," he added.

Secretary of State John Kerry, due in Kiev Tuesday, said several foreign powers are looking at economic consequences if Russia does not withdraw its forces.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Ashley Killough contributed to this report


Filed under: AIPAC • John McCain • Ukraine
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    --so you want Obama go to war with Russia, ignoring EU involvement. Let EU involve. We spent 6 Trillion dollars in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN. if you insist we can deploy you, your friend Lindsey Graham there to fight for USA. USA is not police to the world. Enough.

    March 3, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "Look at Moldova. Look at the occupation of Georgia. Look at the pressure on the Baltic nations. Look at what they are doing in assisting Bashir Assad ....."

    McCain added that Putin's use of military force in the Crimean Peninsula, an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to Moscow, "is the ultimate result of feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength anymore."

    "I have to be very honest with you there is not a military option that could be exercised now but the most powerful and biggest and strongest nation in the world should have plenty of options. And those options are many."
    -------------------------
    What the good Senator fails to point out is that all of the areas that he just cited were targeted during the Bush administration while we were bogged down fighting two decade-long wars at the same time. He's not telling you that part.

    In the end, the truth comes out of him. Use of military force is not an option. Diplomacy is the only viable option, which we are doing.

    March 3, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Mark

    It's a shame this guy McCain cannot get over that he got beat by Obama. Criticize this President is the only thing that gets him on the news anymore. Our elected officials should at least try to better us on the world stage instead of constant back seat politics. I am in belief they don't care.

    March 3, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Smitty

    Its scary times when McCain is right. Once again Obammy is caught with his pants down. Better run off mr pres to a fund raiser like you did when Ben Ghazi got attacked !!!

    March 3, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Smitty

    Its scary times when McCain is right. Once again Obammy is caught with his pants down. Better run off mr pres to a fund raiser like you did when Ben Ghazi got attacked !!!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Who is Ben Ghazi?

    March 3, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Justiceinamerica

    The people of Ukraine have the right to be free and the international community should support them..Putin Dictator behavior is radical and lunatic...Putin is behaving like a little child that if he can not have his candy, Putin will take it away by force killing Innocent Ukrainian soldiers..and civilians. and challenging The international community..Reckless people like Putin do not belong in office but in a crazy home for mental evaluation. The Russian People deserve a better leader not a corrupted one..He is not good for the world...

    March 3, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. 1twinsfan

    I don't care what party you are in. You do not give interviews that undermine the authority of the POTUS when tensions are high and there is a great probability of military action.

    March 3, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. rs

    What the feckless Senator fails to illustrate is just how our foreign policy might or might not stop Russia's desire to re-acquire former Russian states populated by Russian people. The focus of the United States for the past ten years (for better or worse) has been the Middle East, not Eastern Europe. The curious might ask why, and the answer is we have just completed our two longest wars- started by the last Republican President.

    March 3, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Tommy G

    Our military option should consist of killing two birds with one stone. Destroy Assad and the naval base that services Russian ships. Obama was played for a fool by Putin with regards to Syria. Correct the mistake, potentially end the suffering of millions and show Putin, there is a very real cost for invading your neighbors to re-establish the Soviet Union.

    March 3, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. countingdown

    Ouch! Wow did you feel that? Ow! There it is again. A slap in the face of America by Putin.

    March 3, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. nyet vodka

    Throw it out in the Boston bay, expel them from G-8, G-20, expel their entire diplomatic staffs, seize their assets and give them the middle finger.

    March 3, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. EDDIE

    Mr Mccain- if your worried about "Americas Strength" they know about our strength from "Shock and Awe". They know that we are coming off 2 costly unfunded wars and know we can't just jump into another conflict unless we absolultley have to. Thanks to lil bush and the war hungry Repubs. This is just one of the many reasons you don't go to war unless you have to. ie Iraq. Obama is not the reason the conflict in the Ukraine is happening. So just what are you doing to help your country and your President Mr Mcain?. Maybe putin will kick Obamas rear and you and your Obama hating repubs can rejoice like you did when Chicago didn't get the Olympics.

    March 3, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. just saying

    feckless??? please don't be so kind to obama john. incompetent, non-existant, submissive, a joke, all better andmore accurate descriptions of obama-chamberlain's i don't care foreign policy.

    March 3, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Humbrrto

    What is a American Israel Affairs Committee in Washington DC And what is a US Senator from Arizona doing ? You would think after marrying a chocolate heir he wouldn't scam for more more power and money at the expense of national security .

    March 3, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. jboh

    Too bad that it as TEA/GOP congress that killed action in Syria. Anti Obama pcycosis has reached the point of treason.

    March 3, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Dempsey55

    Says the guy who picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate and then lost. Bad decisions abound with this guy McCain.

    March 3, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Robert

    John Mccain. l wish l could sit one on one with him, to debate the merits of his calling the leader of the nation naive in public. What we need is rallying not insulting him publicly. l am sure there are avenues for him to relate his opinions to Obama privately. No he has to voice his opinion publicly for CNN to broadcast it around the globe. What a class act for an elder statesman in these precarious times.

    March 3, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @Malory Archer
    Smitty

    Its scary times when McCain is right. Once again Obammy is caught with his pants down. Better run off mr pres to a fund raiser like you did when Ben Ghazi got attacked !!!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Who is Ben Ghazi?
    -----------–
    Ben Ghazi is the new Birth Certificate conspiracy theory.

    March 3, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    @Smitty
    Its embarrassing to see all the Obammy toads coming have nothing productive to add but point and blame.
    --------
    Actually I am a big fan of the nothing. Compared to Bush:
    - not bombing at random
    - not sending American solders to die for nothing but lies
    - not running up the debt in a needless War
    - not acting the cowboy fool on the World stage.

    March 3, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. jinx9to88

    We are out of money for another conflict. Right GOP?

    March 3, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    NO , the Russians watch the INCOMPETENT DISFUNCTIONAL GOP in our government who will BLAME Obama INSTEAD OF THEM!!!!!

    March 3, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. jinx9to88

    Mccain and Graham have no problem sending other people children to fight other people war. I find this hilarious.

    March 3, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Wake Up Call for Europe

    Hey Europe! Wake the hell up!! Get OFF that Russian gass and find another source. Unless of course you all want to eventually be speaking Russian. And any country not already a part of NATO better get with the program and join. Unless of course you enjoy being Russian bear bait.

    March 3, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. yolanda

    @Robert, you mean you want McCain to behave with the professionalism and respect shown by Reid toward Bush? Oh, that's right, it was Reid who called Bush a liar publicly. I guess that was different, though, huh?

    March 3, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. ghostwriter

    You gotta love conservatives. Down the guy every chance you get, while in the same speech, admit that there isn't much that he can do.

    The funniest part is that this is the guy who took out bin Laden and was the mastermind behind our international NSA spying (to let them tell it). Sounds like a heck of a softy to me

    March 3, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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