Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe said Friday the uncertainty over Russia's aggression in Ukraine is causing "Cold War II."
In an interview with Fox News' Defcon 3
program, Poe said Russia President Vladimir Putin "does have his eyes on the former Soviet republics."
"That uncertainty is causing the international tension," said Poe, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"We're in Cold War II. The Russians know it ... but I don't think the United States knows it."
Two days after Ukraine conceded defeat
in the face of Russia’s takeover of its military bases in Crimea, Poe asserted Russia is "in Crimea to stay."
"We seem not be concerned about the Russian aggression in the east," he said, adding: "I'm not sure NATO would come to the defense if [Russia were to make a move on] Estonia. I think Putin is going to wait and see."
Despite the Obama administration's assurance to NATO allies, Poe said the United States “hasn’t done anything” effective in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea.
But there is one way the the United States might be able to effectively respond, he said.
“Russia’s number one economic policy for its income is energy,” Poe said. “That is their economic advantage.”
Poe said the United States should give eastern European NATO nations "an alternative to depending on Russia" for the natural gas, and "expedite the exporting."
"We have to make the economic statement now to let these countries know the United States will be an alternative," he said.
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