Rep. Mike Rogers: Obama Foreign Policy 'Hard to Define'

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 01:29 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Lawmakers have been critical of President Barack Obama and his handling of the Russian invasion into Crimea due to frustration over a foreign policy that has been "really hard to define," Rep. Mike Rogers told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"What you're seeing now is a bubbling up of frustration on a foreign policy that has been really hard to define in this administration. And, it seems, disjointed," the Michigan Republican said Wednesday.

Rogers was one of a number of voices critical of Obama's handling of the Russian occupation of Crimea. He said Sunday, shortly after troops were spotted in Crimea, "Putin is playing chess, and I think we're playing marbles. And I don't think it's even close."

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Rogers, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the early criticism was aimed at working to persuade the president not to "waffle in the first few days." He maintained it was important to be specific about what the U.S. position would be, in light of Russian troops invading Crimea and the threat it posed to Ukraine.

"Lay out the first three things that you are going to do. And then start doing them, so that you get their attention," he said.

The United States was at a disadvantage in working out an agreement with Putin, Rogers said. Negotiations now favor the Russian president, because he has "set the table in the Crimea for negotiations the way he would like them to go."

Obama should have put together a contingency plan earlier that included how the United States would work with its allies, Rogers suggested. He said the White House tendency was to "run to the problem, and they don't do any of the work leading up to it."

"You can't have the [John Kerry] announcing that we're going to do sanctions and the international community is going to support us in these sanctions, and then have Germany come out and say, 'No, we're really not for sanctions.' It just weakens our position as we move forward," he said.

Rogers said his ultimate goal was for all parties "to be on the same page about how we push back on what Putin is clearly trying to do."

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