As tensions mount over Russia's aggression into Crimea, a handful of American companies with business interests in Russia must not dictate U.S. foreign policy as the White House considers economic sanctions, said Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush.
"We can't have our foreign policy determined by a few companies that are going to have some investments marked down," Abrams, also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
, told Fox News' "Happening Now."
Story continues below video.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held last-minute talks with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov on Friday over security in Ukraine before a vote in Crimea Sunday. Citizens of the region of Ukraine will decide if they want to rejoin Russia. U.S. lawmakers are considering economic sanctions to punish Russia for invading Crimea, and to deter further aggression into Ukraine.
Abrams suggested the White House was afraid of how Russian President Vladimir Putin would respond if the United States decided to impose sanctions against Russia. He said the administration of President Barack Obama might be fearful Putin would "hurt some American companies that are invested in Russia."
"Putin is trying to scare us. And I'm actually unhappy, disappointed that he seems to be succeeding — not in the State Department. But he seems to be scaring people in the White House," Abrams said.
Abrams called it "bizarre" for the United States to fear Russia's reaction to sanctions.
Abrams said U.S. credibility in the world could be destroyed "if the Russians commit this kind of aggression, and we don't even impose sanctions."
© 2016 Newsmax. All rights reserved.