GOP's Corker: Obama Must Quit 'Tweaking' Putin

Image: GOP's Corker: Obama Must Quit 'Tweaking' Putin (Getty Images)

Sunday, 27 Apr 2014 01:55 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. Bob Corker says new sanctions against Russia won't go far enough if they fail to target businesses and banks that would further weaken the country's economy.

Appearing Sunday on "Face the Nation," Corker was skeptical that President Barack Obama would do that. Corker said he has been involved in talks with the White House urging such action.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken seemed to confirm Corker's concerns, when he told host Bob Schieffer that sanctions set to be imposed as early as Monday would designate people in Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

Schieffer told Blinken that sanctions already imposed against Russian oligarchs have had no effect.

Corker agreed, noting that the Russian economy is very fragile. Hitting four of the largest banks there would "send shock waves" into the economy, he said.

"All we're doing is tweaking folks," Corker said. Targeting banks and businesses would affect more members of the upper middle class and cause more pain that would get Putin's attention.

Hitting oligarchs, not upper middle class that will cause pain in Russia.

Corker accused the administration of being overly cautious like he said it was with Syria. He even brought up the "red line" that Obama used with Syria, which he later backed away from.

"The red line has now moved," with Russia, Corker said. Last week the "red line" was demobilizing the 40,000 Russian troops on the border that are intimidating the people inside Ukraine, he said. Now, it is just not going inside Ukraine.

Russia already has taken over Crimea from Ukraine without firing a shot. Many fear Putin has his eyes of eastern Ukraine, which has large ethnic Russia populations, too, in an effort to rebuild the former Russian empire.

Over time, Putin can achieve his goals without actually sending troops into Ukraine, Corker said. "He has little green men, black ops, inside fomenting problems inside eastern Ukraine."

Obama's policies, Corker said, always come too late, "after the point in time that we could have made a difference in the outcome."

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