Dr. Ben Carson has joined the growing chorus of outrage over Russian President Vladimir Putin's military muscle flexing, telling Newsmax TV
a no-fly zone should be created along the Turkish border.
A sophisticated missile defense system should also be put in place to keep Russia's fighter jets in check, according to Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon seeking the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
"Vladimir Putin has expansionist ideas. He wants to really re-establish a worldwide Soviet influence," Carson told Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg in an interview aired Thursday.
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"He was very unhappy with the dissolution [of the Soviet Union]. Now he's looking for weakness. What we need to do is demonstrate that there is no weakness there."
And that means putting the kibosh on Russia's bullying of surrounding nations, he believes.
"We need to stand our ground with the airspace. I would establish a no-fly zone along the border with Turkey, in no way would I back off," Carson said.
"I would also face him in other parts of the world. The whole Baltic region and Eastern Europe. I'd re-establish the missile defense system. I would have more than one or two armored brigades there."
"I would face him down. I would give weapons to Ukraine, offensive weapons because they gave up their nuclear weapons with the thought that we would back them up. I would be arming the Kurds directly."
Carson unveiled his plan as Russia continues its aggressive airstrikes in support of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in defiance of Washington, which wants the Assad regime toppled.
But the U.S. has remained on the sidelines as Putin insists the Assad regime is fighting the Islamic State.
"Why are we just like sitting and only reacting when somebody does something? You can't do that in the kind of world that we live in," Carson said.
He said that Russia's aggressive movements extend even further, possibly all the way to Iran.
"Recognize that there's a bigger picture. Vladimir Putin has been friends with [Supreme Leader of Iran] Ali Khamenei since the time when Khamenei was in Russia as a student at Patrice Lumumba University graduating in 1968," Carson said.
"These are deep complex relationships and they're not going anywhere. We have to really understand what's going on out there and we have to have a policy of leading, of being proactive and not just reacting to what people are doing because we'll always be behind the eight ball."
Carson also discussed the strained relationship between Israel and the United States, which has been further troubled by the inking of the Iran nuclear deal.
"I was in Israel last December. Couldn't find a single person who didn't believe that we had turned our backs on them," Carson said.
"If we will turn our backs on Israel, if we will renege on Ukraine, how can we expect the rest of the world and our other allies to have any confidence in us?"
"And how can we expect them to get behind us when we call for a coalition or anything else?"
Carson was asked by Malzberg if there is a rising tide of anti-Christian sentiment in this country.
"I believe there is and I don't think most people if they really stopped and thought about it would say 'I'm anti-Christian', but they'd buy into the PC methodology and hence find themselves going with that crowd," he said.
Turning to the historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide — a decision that sparked Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to refuse to issue marriage licenses in the name of religious freedom — Carson said:
"I believe the Congress has a real opportunity now with the recent ruling on gay marriage to come out with some legislation that protects the First Amendment rights of the American people. I'm not an anarchist. It is the law of the land but that doesn't mean we can't change it."
"It doesn't mean that there isn't a reason that we have separation of powers and checks and balances. Clearly when one branch oversteps their boundaries, it's time for the next one to act."
According to a Real Clear Politics
number-crunching of the top national GOP presidential polls, Carson is in second place, trailing only Donald Trump, 23.2 to 17.2 percent.
They are followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina with 10.4 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 9.9 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 8.4 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 6.2 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 3.2 percent.
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