Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Thursday that any opportunity for the United States and Russia to work together to destroy the Islamic State in light of the Metrojet plane crash is hampered by Russian President Vladimir Putin's disdain for President Barack Obama.
"This is an opportunity for the United States to focus Russia's energy on ISIS," the Texas senator told Jake Tapper on CNN. "ISIS is the face of evil.
"And if they're responsible for this horrific terrorist attack, that's all the more reason for a concerted effort and a concerted commitment to destroy them.
"If you look right now, part of the problem is that Putin I think has taken the measure of the man in Barack Obama and doesn't respect him," Cruz added. "Once Putin determines that Obama's not credible, that he won't do what he says, that makes the prospect of our working together seriously to target ISIS a lot less plausible."
Obama's current efforts to destroy the terrorist group are "utterly ineffective," Cruz said, adding that the United States needed to intensify air strikes and provide updated weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting on the ground in Syria.
The United States won the Persian Gulf War from 1990 to 1991 because of "overwhelming air power," he said.
"We had about 1,100 air attacks a day. It was overwhelming.
"After 37 days, Saddam Hussein's army was crippled — and we mopped in there in 36 hours because of the impact of that overwhelming air attack," he said. "Right now, we're launching 15 to 30 air attacks. It's photo-op foreign policy."
The Kurds "are the boots on the ground right now," Cruz said.
"They're fighting. They're effective fighters. They're loyal to us. They've been strong allies.
"ISIS is using U.S. military equipment they seized in Iraq," he added. "The Kurds are using outmoded equipment and the Obama administration refuses to provide weaponry to the Kurds because they think it would dismay Baghdad.
"I think that makes no sense."
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