Count Arizona Sen. John McCain among those who are unhappy with the way the Obama administration is handling the crisis in Ukraine.
McCain told CNN that the United States needs to conduct “a fundamental reassessment” of its current relationship with Russia.
“No more reset buttons, no more ‘Tell Vladimir I’ll be more flexible,’” McCain said. “Treat him for what he is. That does not mean re-ignition of the Cold War. But it does mean treating him in the way that we understand an individual who believes in restoring the old Russian empire.”
To send the strongest message to Russia, McCain believes the United States should hit the country with economic sanctions. He also supports providing U.S. military assistance to Ukrainian forces.
"Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” McCain said. “It’s kleptocracy, it’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy. And so economic sanctions are important. Get some military assistance to Ukrainians, at least so they can defend themselves. Resume the missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.”
In a New York Times op-ed, McCain wrote that Obama’s administration is acting under the assumption that the U.S. can "pull back from the world at little cost to our interests and values. This has fed a perception that the United States is weak, and to people like Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, weakness is provocative."
According to McCain, the situation in Ukraine is a perfect opportunity for the U.S. to send a message of strength to the world.
"Crimea has exposed the disturbing lack of realism that has characterized our foreign policy under President Obama," McCain wrote. "It is this worldview, or lack of one, that must change. Crimea must be the place where President Obama recognizes this reality and begins to restore the credibility of the United States as a world leader."