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McFarlane: US Must Respond to Russian Aggression With 'Strength'

Image: McFarlane: US Must Respond to Russian Aggression With 'Strength'

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 07:13 AM

By Cathy Burke

Former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane called on U.S. officials to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine with "strength and leadership," according to The Washington Free Beacon.

In a speech at a Foreign Policy Initiative event Thursday, McFarlane said the West assumed after the fall of the Soviet Union that Russia would become democratic, even as Eastern European countries continued to rely on the West’s security guarantee.

"We have seen, since the end of the Cold War, the ease with which the West has taken these [peace] dividends, whistling past the graveyard, wanting to believe that its former adversary was somehow going to morph into us," McFarlane said, according to the Free Beacon. "We’ve had a very striking, sobering awakening from that, I hope."

McFarlane, who championed the Strategic Defense Initiative during the Reagan administration that bolstered U.S. missile defense to deter the Soviet Union, said the West must keep all options on the table during Ukraine's current crisis. Russia has massed troops near its border with Ukraine. Pro-Russian militants have occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

He said options need to include helping Ukraine develop its domestic energy sources – adding nothing less than the Western alliance is at stake.

"This is an opportunity that after the peace dividend and 20 plus years of shielding our eyes from what was bound to happen, we have a shot to bring the West together again at the end of the day," he said. "We cannot let this pass."

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