When it comes to standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sen. John McCain has it all figured out. Just ask him. His plan? Simple. Washington merely has to be “strong and steadfast.”
McCain started his Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program and finished it on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Myers.” On both programs, he said the United States should arm Ukrainian troops, give Kiev an economic stimulus, among other moves.
But the word the day for McCain were “steadfastness” and “strength.”
To the hawkish interventionist McCain, those are the two most glaring things lacking from President Barack Obama’s handling of Putin’s occupation of and declared annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
The US can force Putin to stand down “if we show strength, if we show steadfastness.”
And he trotted out an homage to former US President Ronald Reagan, saying Washington should move toward a policy of “peace through strength.”
McCain wants the Obama administration to send the Ukrainian military “weapons to defend themselves.” And, he says, the US should send Kiev the “money they need to get their economy back on track.”
What’s more, “we should be saying, if they want to, they can be a member of the EU.”
That seems like Europe’s call, not Washington’s, right? Maybe not to McCain.
“We’re the strongest and most powerful and best nation in the world,” the former presidential candidate said, “and we can make him pay a price.”
On the morning show, McCain jabbed US Vice President Joseph Biden for comments he made in Kiev about Washington vowing consequences unless Putin stands down. But on the late show, McCain did not describe a set of consequences.
He did assure viewers that “we’re not going to have World War Three, we’re not going to go back to the Cold War.”
Still, he thinks the US must be “very aggressive [toward] Vladimir Putin.”
To McCain, it’s a simple equation: “We just have to be strong and steadfast,” otherwise, “he will continue to take advantage of us.”