Tags: Iran | Middle East | Russia | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | vladimir putin | national security adviser

Reagan NSA McFarlane: Putin Trying for Mideast Dominance

(Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria")

By    |   Monday, 16 July 2018 11:35 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to expand his influence worldwide while displacing the United States, and that is the "one thing that's being missed entirely" in the news about the summit between the Russian leader and President Donald Trump, former President Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane said Monday.

"Putin is trying to expand his influence well beyond what he already has achieved in Ukraine and Syria," McFarlane told Fox Business "Mornings with Maria" host Maria Bartiromo. "He's trying to become the dominant power in the Middle East . . . he's doing it by the ability to sell nuclear power into these countries, and he's already got a contract in Egypt for building four plants, two more in Turkey, two more in Jordan."

The point is, he continued, "when you put yourself in a position to literally turn the lights off in a  country, you've achieved enormous political power."

The United States pledged to maintain the security of the Middle East 70 years ago, McFarlane said, but today, "Putin is moving to move us out, move his country in, and dominate a strategic, pivotal connection of three continents with all that implies for commerce. About 40 percent of the world's commerce goes through Suez. The price of oil, of course, is important dramatically not so much to us, but to Asia and to Europe."

Allowing Putin to become dominant in that part of the world is "very much against our interests," McFarland said, but the United States' performance "thus far hasn't been very good."

The "so-called agreement" to keep Russian and Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad and not to move beyond deescalation zones has been neglected and ignored, McFarlane said, and "we are very much at risk of making lines in the sand, which, when they're breached and violated, we do nothing about it."

Further, according to McFarlane, the Middle East is "going nuclear," but "we don't want that nuclear future to be controlled by Russia or China."

"The United States for 70 years has set the rules, the safety precaution, the security, the non-proliferation standards, and if we turn that over to Russia, the game is over in the Middle East," McFarlane warned.

The United States' nuclear industry, meanwhile, is in "very bad shape," McFarlane said.

"We haven't built a plant here for almost 30 years successfully," said McFarlane, so Trump should focus on rebuilding that capability.

"Only with our own industry can we demonstrate the credibility of setting the rules to the rest of the world," McFarlane said.

The United States has also given Iran the ability of moving toward a nuclear weapons program, and has intimidated the rest of the Sunni-Arab world while stimulating what will likely become a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, McFarlane also said.

"Iran is a wealthy country," he commented. "It has a lot of oil. Russia has the ability to dominate decision making in Iran by virtue of selling them sophisticated air defense weapons and other weapons and also to assure security of arms supply. So, it's very much in Putin's interest to maintain his relationship with Iran."

Steve Forbes, also on the program, asked what the United States can do to keep undermining Iran.

"The regime, the economy is weak, inflation has taken off, and people hate the regime," Forbes said. "This would seem a prime way of just totally upending Putin's plans to dominate the Middle East."

"We ought to resurrect what we had in the Reagan years of a broadcasting program that reaches into the grass roots of Iran, begins to stimulate formation of parties," McFarlane said. "In short, make it clear that the United States is not going to abandon the ability to influence stability throughout the Middle East from Iran to Egypt and all points between."

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According to former Ronald Reagan National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, Vladimir Putin is trying to expand his influence worldwide while displacing the United States, and that is the "one thing that's being missed entirely" in the news about the summit.
vladimir putin, national security adviser, robert mcfarlane, summit
Monday, 16 July 2018 11:35 AM
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