Tags: Barack Obama | Russia | Karl Rove | Vladimir Putin | president | bully

Karl Rove: Putin Knew From Start He Could Bully Obama

Image: Karl Rove: Putin Knew From Start He Could Bully Obama

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama. (AP Photo)

By    |   Monday, 02 Jan 2017 03:53 PM

President Barack Obama's actions against Russia last week were "too little, very late," following years of President Vladimir Putin considering him a weak leader who could be pushed around, political strategist Karl Rove, a deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, said Monday.

"Putin took the measure of Barack Obama and his administration early on," Rove, a Fox News contributor, told the "Happening Now" program. "They were desperate to achieve a good relationship with Russia to the point that we messed over two of our allies."

The drama began, Rove said, when Obama, immediately after taking office, withdrew missile defense systems and facilities scheduled for Poland and the Czech Republic, when both countries had undergone "incredible turmoil."

"Without any negotiation with Russia over what we get in return, and with no forward notice, advance notice to Poland or Czech Republic, Obama withdrew those facilities," Rove said. "I think what Putin took from that was 'this is a weak man who wants to be on my good side, so I can push him as far as I can possibly push him.' He's done so in the last eight years, almost consistently."

While some said the move was a "goodwill gesture," Rove it was a move that benefited Russia.

"They annex Crimea, they're destabilizing Ukraine, threatening the Balkans and Scandinavia, in every international issue – virtually every international issue – the Russians have been undermining the United States' interests," Rove said. "That goodwill gesture bought him nothing."

Even this fall, when Obama told Putin to "cut it out" when it came to hacking into United States' election matters, Putin had already gathered materials and set up the network to distribute them, Rove said.

"The president – can you imagine – here's a tough thug, which is what Vladimir Putin is, a tough thug, and some guy says 'cut it out,' you take that as a statement of weakness," Rove continued.

President-elect Donald Trump has referred to Putin often as smart, but Rove said he does not agree.

"I think he has sort of an animal-like instinct for advancing his cause," said Rove, and the United States should recognize he is not a friend.

"He has worked actively against our interests and will continue to do so unless the new president makes it clear from the beginning that he isn't going to be pushed around," Rove said.

"Putin respects strength."

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President Barack Obama's actions against Russia last week were "too little, very late," following years of President Vladimir Putin considering him a weak leader who could be pushed around, political strategist Karl Rove, a deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, said Monday.
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