(CNN) – Is Barack Obama doing enough to stop Vladimir Putin?
That’s the question CNN “Crossfire” co-hosts Van Jones, on the left, and Newt Gingrich, on the right, asked Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, on Thursday.
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Bass, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said "weakness would look like doing nothing."
"I think what the President has done has been strong, and I do think that he's showing the leadership and I do think the Europeans will follow," she said.
She added that tougher sanctions applied against Russia over the Ukraine crisis could have a real impact, if European leaders follow suit.
But Johnson argued sanctions aren't going to be enough to stop the Russian leader, who's continued his power stance on the border of Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea.
Republicans contend Obama's policies present weakness abroad, empowering leaders like Putin to buck the international community as violence escalates in Ukraine.
Jones said Republicans are being hypocritical.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that nearly half of Americans surveyed want the United States to be less active in foreign affairs. That's compared to 19% in the survey who think the country ought to be more involved.
"Why are the Republicans out here (being demagogues) on this stuff when the Americans aren't even with you?" Jones asked.
Johnson said the United States has exhibited weakness.
"We have to show strength and resolve,” he said. “Vladimir Putin isn't going to listen to words. And the President says all kinds of good things but you have to back those with action. He will only respond to action."
Johnson, who's a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said the United States should supply defensive weapons to the Ukrainian people and open up energy markets.
He argued that U.S. punishment against Putin needs to hit him where it hurts, saying Obama needs to help Europe break its dependence on Russia’s oil and gas reserves.
Obama can't have it both ways, Gingrich added.
"The President has been trying to do both, that is he doesn't want to use military force but he draws red lines," he said. "How do you have an activist, non-activist; interventionist, non-interventionist policy?"
During his final stop of a week-long tour of Asia, Obama on Monday fiercely defended his foreign policy choices, arguing his decisions avoid military force.
"Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?" he asked at one point. "And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?"
Bass agreed, saying that "constituents in my district, the last thing they want to hear is we're getting into another conflict."
Tune in to Crossfire, weeknights @ 6:30 pm ET on CNN