Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | Pete Hoekstra | Barack Obama | Vladimir Putin | Ukraine

Pete Hoekstra: Obama's 'Strategic Patience' Is a Failure

By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 03:17 PM

This week's show of urgency from Western leaders over the crisis in Ukraine is too little, too late, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Monday.

"This is the strategic patience that the president is talking about in foreign policy," said former House Intelligence Chairman Hoekstra, referring to Ukraine's ongoing civil war against separatists backed by Russia.

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"In situations like this in the past, the United States would lead and Europe would follow," said Hoekstra. "In this case, there has been nobody leading for the last 12 to 18 months.

"We've had this discussion repeatedly … about what Vladimir Putin is doing — the threat not only to Ukraine, but to greater Europe. And now the west is racing?" he said incredulously.

With German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Monday to discuss Ukraine, Hoekstra welcomed the fact that the extent of Russian President Putin's belligerence is finally dawning on world leaders, however belatedly.

But President Barack Obama is still equivocating in the face of growing pressure to arm Ukraine.

"I have not made a decision about that yet," Obama said at a joint news conference with Merkel.

Hoekstra wondered what the president is waiting for.

"We tried sanctions. They've been ineffective, and Putin is having his way with the west in Europe," he said.

"It really is appalling," said Hoekstra, describing the West as "totally befuddled" by Russia's aggressive expansionism.

"Our leadership has believed that with minimal sanctions against Russia, Putin would change behavior in Ukraine," he said.

"What we're seeing now, a year later, is that it is only emboldening Putin," said Hoekstra.

"As Russia is becoming more aggressive in threatening an expansion of activity in Europe, rather than a pullback … we now have to race and try to come up with something that Putin believes will actually have an impact, and that the west will carry through on."

Meanwhile, Putin is "accomplishing his political ends at home and he's also gaining territory in Ukraine," and "the west is not rushing to any solutions or any aid to Ukraine," he said.

Hoekstra also discussed the emergence of Jordan as a leading foe of the Islamic State (ISIS) after the terrorist group burned a Jordanian pilot.

New Jordanian airstrikes are helpful but not enough in the fight to crush ISIS and its dream of a jihadi caliphate, he said.

"The Jordanians are very, very good at what they do, but they're a small factor in this and they're asking for more help," said Hoekstra. "We'll see if they get it."

Hoekstra described a pattern of U.S. allies embroiled in conflicts — Kurds fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Libya's government battling militants there — and pleading for U.S. help to little or no avail.

"The Kurds are asking for more help and they're not getting it very quickly," he said. "There are good guys in Libya who are asking for more help and they're not getting it.

"If we were enabling our allies in the Middle East, empowering them and giving them the equipment to follow the lead of the king of Jordan, ISIS would be scared," said Hoekstra. "But they're not seeing that happen."

For the Kurds, Hoekstra recommended an all-out U.S. air power commitment.

"Let's run 150-200 sorties a day going after ISIS and let's equip the Kurds," he said. "I do work for the Kurds. They've taken 1,000 casualties. This is a region that has 5 million to 6 million people. They have 1,000 killed in action. Give them the equipment they need. They're willing to go to the front lines, and they are the boots on the ground.

"The same thing for the Jordanians and the Libyans. Equip them, let them fight, we can provide the logistics, the intelligence and the air support. They will be the boots on the ground," said Hoekstra. "Then ISIS will start to get concerned. But right now, they're not."

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This week's show of urgency from Western leaders over the crisis in Ukraine is too little, too late, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Monday.
Pete Hoekstra, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine
Monday, 09 February 2015 03:17 PM
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