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Ex-UK Defense Chief: Fight ISIS, Use Sanctions Against Russia

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 10:10 PM

Former British Defense Minister Liam Fox made a strong pitch Tuesday for a "coalition to fight ISIS," but on the Crimean crisis, he said sanctions rather than intervention were needed "to get Russia to behave more rationally."

During a wide-ranging speech in Washington, the physician and onetime candidate for leadership of the British Conservative Party also took a not-too-disguised jab at President Barack Obama.

Offering what he called a "simple" explanation of the economic behavior of the Obama administration, Fox said, "This is not the behavior of a political outlier, but fits perfectly the pattern of European social democracy."

Fox, who reportedly declined offers to return to government earlier this year after Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet shakeup, spoke to a full house at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday morning.

Hours after airstrikes against ISIS by the U.S. and other countries commenced, the United Kingdom's former defense chief told his audience that a coalition to defeat the terrorists was critical so the attack would be perceived as "not U.S.-enforced."

"But [the U.S. attacks last month] did not stop ISIS from beheading British subjects," Fox quickly added. "They'll view any incursion from the outside West as an assault."

But action by the West against ISIS was immediately required, he warned, or radical Islam would be "even more widespread."

Left alone, "the international university of jihad will be very willing to export its graduates throughout the world."

With the Obama administration saying no last week to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's pleas for lethal weapons to stop Russian-backed insurgents, Newsmax asked Fox whether he thought that what was needed was a "lend lease" program similar to that with which the U.S. lent military hardware to the British and other allies in 1941.

"I don't think intervention is necessary," he told Newsmax. "Economic sanctions are enough to get Russia to behave more rationally."

But Fox also strongly warned of the dangers to the West posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasizing that the Russian strongman "takes the old Soviet view that Russia has a sphere of influence."

Moreover, he said, Putin believes in the protection of Russian ethnics in other countries and "that drives a coach and horses through our notion of sovereignty."

The Conservative politician also faulted the West for permitting "wishful thinking to take the place of critical analysis in its dealings with Russia."

"When Russia launched a cyber-attack on Estonia, we did nothing," said Fox, "and when Russia cut off gas from Ukraine, we did nothing. When Russia attacked Georgia, we did nothing."

So, Putin "had a good idea what the response would be to the annexation of Ukraine."

In placing the blame for encouraging Russia's adventurism, Fox cited as an example former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, "who made his country more dependent on fossil fuels from Russia" and, as a result, Germany abstained at the United Nations on sanctions over Ukraine.

"[Schroeder] got a good job out of it," he added, referring to the former German chancellor's current employment as a top executive of Gazprom, Russia's largest energy firm.


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Former British Defense Minister Liam Fox made a strong pitch Tuesday for a "coalition to fight ISIS," but on the Crimean crisis, he said sanctions rather than intervention were needed "to get Russia to behave more rationally."
Liam Fox, Vladimir Putin
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2014-10-23
Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 10:10 PM
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