Former Congressman Allen West of Florida says Russian President Vladimir Putin used the ideology behind martial arts and his days as a spy to outmaneuver President Barack Obama on Syria.
"Putin is a judo master and if you understand what judo is, it's to take the perceived strength and the weight of your opponent and counterbalance it and use it against them, and that's exactly what Putin did," West told former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoeskstra, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"He was able to lay out all of his points, really attack what we feel have been our strengths as the United States of America — our respect of international law, human rights and dignity, our use of military force only when we believe it was necessary, and our belief that we are an exceptional nation.
"Barack Obama said that we're really not. He said every country feels that they're exceptional. So he was pretty self-consistent."
West, director of NextGeneration.TV, said Putin's former position as senior official head of the KGB, also helped in his argument that the United States should not use military force against the Assad regime.
"They know how to get inside your head and get inside your decision cycle, and that's exactly what he has been able to do," he said.
West said Putin's opinion piece in Wednesday's New York Times, in which he argued against U.S. military action, made him look "like the adult in the classroom ... like the global diplomat."
Putin also is setting the stage to be a major wheeler-dealer in the Middle East, West believes.
"He is going to really start being the influencer in Middle East politics ... He is engaged in Syria, which they want, need, because of the long water seaport," he said.
"He's making, cutting deals with Iran, selling them the new S300 anti-aircraft systems, which means that it'll be really tough for us to come in and conduct the air strikes against them, which [means] eventually we're going to have to contend with Iran.
"Iran has been our enemy ever since they took our embassy, and they've been supplying al-Qaida forces and other radical Islamic forces, especially Hezbollah, ever since."
But West said Americans are "living in bizarro world when a Russian president is lecturing the United States of America about respecting international law, human rights, dignity, not utilizing brute force, and then about American exceptionalism.
"That's the point where we have gotten with this presidency. Really, when you think about the Barack Obama in this second term, now we know what a second term under Jimmy Carter would have looked like."
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