Veteran political strategist Hank Sheinkopf says Hillary Clinton should tackle the issue of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Ukraine power play early on if she is going to run for president in 2016.
"You take it on early, you define your position aggressively," Sheinkopf told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"You say, look, this kind of behavior will not [abide] – you know, the United States will do x, y, and z when I'm president.
"That's a much better position to be in. The Barack Obama response is to lay back and do nothing and set this up by not warning the Russians in the beginning that Poland and Ukraine were off limits," he said Tuesday.
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Sheinkopf, president of Sheinkopf Communications and a longtime Democratic adviser, said Putin knows exactly what he's doing by moving in on Crimea.
"It was an aggressive move. This is a man who controls Moldova, which lives in poverty, Belarus, which has a dictatorship . . . who would like to walk back into Europe through Poland and the Ukraine," Sheinkopf said.
"He controlled the Ukraine before it blew up and on and on and on and on. And Georgia now too is under his realm.
"This is a guy who controls anything he wants to, to show that the Russian empire in fact exists again. That's what this is about, and he's extending his reach."
But Putin's aggression should not be considered the launch of a new Cold War, Sheinkopf said.
"We're not in a second Cold War over this. We have other problems, which is protecting and honoring our arrangements with Poland and other nations in Europe," he said.
"And what will happen to the Turks with the Russians being so very close now, closer than they've ever been."
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