WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin is a big mistake and a sign of weakness, said South Carolina presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“I think this is a mistake and I think he is walking all over Obama in the Ukraine,” the Republican from South Carolina told TheBlaze after speaking at the Values Voter Summit Saturday. “I think this intrusion into the Ukraine on behalf of Assad is a nightmare for our national security interests. I think in the eyes of Putin, Obama is weak.”
Obama and Putin, who have had a frosty relationship, will be meeting next week during the gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. The meeting comes after Russia has remained entangled in conflict with Ukraine for the past year and offered recent assistance to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
“This engagement with Putin is going to legitimize his entry into Syria,” Graham said. “Backing Assad is going to mean the war never ends. The radical Islamic groups that are in Syria today on the Sunni side are going to replace Assad as well as create a caliphate. He is allied with Iran. So Russia supporting Assad means the war continues. The Syrian people will not accept him as their legitimate leader.”
“So this is another example of how President Obama’s foreign policy has significant, long term detrimental consequences,” Graham continued. “He has allowed Russia back into the Middle East in a strong way. I would not be meeting with Putin if I were president.”