It's time for President Barack Obama to emulate former Republican President Ronald Reagan and call out Russia for the "evil empire" it is, in light of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, said Capt. Pete Hegseth.
Obama should exhibit "the willingness to stand up like the Gipper would, like Ronald Reagan would, and call out an evil empire, and tell it like it is. This president's unwilling to do that," Hegseth told "Fox & Friends" on Friday.
The downing of the passenger plane over eastern Ukraine on Thursday reignited the debate over an appropriate response to the threat Russia posed by its aggressive actions, which included the takeover of Crimea earlier this year. A missile launched by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine was suspected of causing Thursday's crash that killed all 298 aboard.
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The jet carried passengers from at least nine countries, and Hegseth suggested the incident highlighted the need for a greater U.S. response to the threats Russia's aggression posed beyond its borders.
Obama should send U.S. troops to "align NATO countries in the eastern part of Europe to bolster and demonstrate the support we have for NATO and former satellite states to the Soviet Union, like Ukraine," Hegseth, a former Army captain, said.
The president could also "reinstitute some of the missile defense systems that we've pulled out of the eastern Europe," Hegseth said, adding that other options include "stronger sanctions that actually do put pressure on financial institutions or defense institutions in Russia."
Hegseth, who is CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, called for a U.S. military buildup, in light of the events in Ukraine, as well as other conflicts around the world. He indicated recent military cuts endanger the United States, and said "weakness is dangerous."
"People might be weary [of war]. That's fine. They may want to quit on these conflicts. The problem is, our adversaries aren't quitting on us.
"If our leaders don't find a backbone, and stop faking and pretending that we live in a tranquil world of the global community, as the president's spokesman said. That is a joke. We live in a dangerous world," Hegseth said.
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