The Biden administration's "mismanagement" of Russia's threat to Ukraine, including allowing the buildup at the country's border over the summer, is "all too obvious," Rep. Dan Meuser said Tuesday on Newsmax.
"We [have] let things unfold without the United States having a seat at the table," the Pennsylvania Republican said on Newsmax's "National Report." "Afghanistan had a lot to do with this. We let the barbarians get to the gate, and now we are reacting in the appropriate, necessary manner, with allied forces."
However, comments from Pentagon press secretary John Kirby about keeping U.S. troops out of Ukraine should not have been made, said Meuser.
"The last thing the U.S. wants is to see American troops going up against Russian troops, but the idea of taking that off the table, like that, I don't know. That's almost like rule one, you don't do that," said Meuser.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will speak on a telephone call Tuesday, and there is an in-person meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelinskyy, and Meuser said President Joe Biden should also participate in a similar sit-down meeting soon.
"We've been quite reactionary, and we certainly need to be there and have a unified message and a coalition force within the Balkans that would be on alert," said Meuser. "There's a lot at stake here. We must be able to clearly show Vladimir Putin that the consequences will outweigh any aggression. Certainly any further aggression, but what we need to act now, not after the barbarians get through the gates."
However, the White House is "unfortunately" waiting for Putin to act, but should be making it clear to him that the consequences of an invasion would outweigh any gains, the congressman said.
"From Putin's side of things, he thinks Ukraine will, over the next several years, become a member of NATO," said Meuser. "He sees this as a major energy power grab, and what will glorify him? In his view, a unification of part of the Soviet Union."
He added that the rest of the world is watching what is happening in Ukraine and what the United States' response will be, so the response must be one of strength, and to "not just have a seat at the table, but take that leadership role."
Meuser also on Tuesday spoke about the winter Olympic Games, which open in Beijing this coming weekend, and said now he thinks the United States should have pulled out and had its own games.
"I initially agreed that a diplomatic boycott was appropriate," he said, but after China threatened criminal charges against athletes who speak out against the Communist Party, "right then and there, we should have pulled back."
"I am very concerned for our athletes and for the propaganda that's going to come out of Communist China," he concluded.
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