Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters questioned whether President Barack Obama fears Vladimir Putin because of the way the U.S. leader has dealt with the Russian president over violence in Ukraine, as well as issues involving Syria, Iran, and ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden.
"On some profound psychological level, he seems to be really afraid of Vladimir Putin because he's let Putin run all over us on Iran, Syria, Snowden, the dreadfully one-sided START deal," Peters told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" Friday.
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Peters echoed the sentiments of Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, who called Obama "the most naïve president in history" for his mishandling of relations with Russia. Not only was Obama naïve, Peters added, "he appears willfully naïve."
With the situation in the Ukraine between the government and freedom protesters spiraling further into violence, Peters charged Obama with a "reluctance to say anything of meaning, anything forceful, about the freedom struggle in Ukraine." He said the message Obama's hesitance sent to Putin was that the United States regarded Ukraine "as falling within Russia's sphere of influence."
The tentative agreement between the Ukraine government and the protesters, calling for new elections and a return to the country's 2004 constitution, would not be a solution, Peters predicted. He said, instead, it offered a "pause" and "breathing space."
"Putin is not going to give up. He wants Ukraine back. And he may literally fight for it if necessary," he said.
While the United States would likely not get involved in the struggle with military support, "moral support matters" to the protesters, Peters said.
"They're fighting against Russian barbarism and oppression. They want to be part of the West," he said. "The people in the streets of Kiev and other cities that are not being covered in the Ukraine are fighting for freedom."
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