Russian President Vladimir Putin will not test NATO by making a strike against Turkey for shooting down one of Russia's fighter jets
, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio predicted Tuesday.
"At the end of the day, although Vladimir Putin is a gangster and a criminal, he's also a geopolitical actor who makes decisions on a cost benefit analysis," the Florida Republican senator told Fox News' "Happening Now"
program. "He will have to save face, but ultimately he won't test the alliance if the alliance stands up to him, because he would lose in that confrontation, and that would be a bigger setback for him."
As Turkey is a member of NATO, the United States will have to live up to its commitments if the alliance is to remain vibrant, Rubio said, admitting he has concerns that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has taken that country "in a more radical direction" that includes breaking away from Israel.
"You have seen him turn to more radical Islamic elements of his party," Rubio said, and there has been "a little lack of cooperation on their part in the fight against ISIS, until recently."
But still, Turkey is a member of the NATO, Rubio said, and "if we were not to come to their defense, it would undermine the NATO alliance."
Rubio said it was concerns such as the fighter jet attack that led him to warn about allowing Russia to become involved in the Middle East from the beginning.
"I warned specifically this could happen, that there could be an incident with Turkey, a NATO ally," Rubio said, "that they could fly over their territory and be shot down."
If Russia does retaliate against Turkey, Rubio said, it will be because it believe NATO won't do anything about it, "so it's important for us to be clear that we'll respond and defend Turkey."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.