President Joe Biden has "boxed himself into a corner" with his pledge affirming the United States' "unwavering support" for Ukraine's "sovereignty and territorial integrity" after the Kremlin earlier this week denied U.S. claims that the Russian military is building up troops near the Ukraine border, former ambassador Pete Hoekstra said on Newsmax Thursday.
"Biden has drawn his red line," Hoekstra told Newsmax's "National Report," drawing comparisons to former President Barack Obama and the warnings he'd made to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad concerning the use of chemical weapons against his country's people.
"Assad crossed that red line and we did nothing," said Hoekstra, adding that if Russian President Vladimir Putin "crosses that red line, President Biden will have to act."
If not, Biden's credibility will be ruined with Russia, as well as China and Iran, and they will respond, he warned.
In addition to Biden's words of support, the administration is reportedly considering whether to send military advisers and weapons to assist Ukraine amid the growing threat of a Russian invasion.
Hoekstra told Newsmax that Putin, meanwhile, is doing what he does best.
"He thrives in an environment where he's got leverage," said Hoekstra. "He has leverage right now over Europe because [it] is going into a winter season where it has low natural gas supplies, and it is dependent on Russia for its natural gas."
It's not certain that Putin would want to enter another shooting war in Ukraine, Hoekstra continued, but there are other things he wants.
"He wants a guarantee that Ukraine doesn't make it into NATO," said Hoekstra. "Let's see exactly where he's headed."
Further, he said it would be a "terrible scenario for the United States" if Russia would make a move on Ukraine, or if China moves on Taiwan, especially if Russia and China act together against a perceived weakness in Biden, said
"I think they both see [him] as a weak president who is weak in terms of his philosophical approach towards defense, but also weak in terms of the public support that he has in the United States," said Hoekstra.
The United States does have its allies, but many of them have "put themselves in a position where they are susceptible to blackmail" from Putin, he continued.
"They do not invest in defense, and the biggest culprit of that is Germany," said Hoekstra. "We have allies. They want to be part of the discussion and all of those types of things, but when it comes to any type of response they're going to be very, very limited in what they can do, other than rhetorical support. That's why you know it's us against China and Russia. It's not us and our allies, they're the voice of public opinion ... if it ever gets to be a gunfight, they don't bring many other things to this gunfight."
And Biden is being perceived as being "very weak" overseas, especially after he did not press China's President Xi Jinping on COVID-19 during their recent virtual summit, said Hoekstra.
"How could you not, when you see the COVID pandemic ravaging Europe, reaching new heights in the United States, press Xi into becoming more transparent with what happened with COVID?" he said. "They are still withholding information from us that would enable us to fight this virus more effectively, and we have a president who does not even bring it up. Xi walked away from that summit thinking wow, what a weak position that president is in. I think even he was surprised."
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