By TAL KOPAN
First Ukraine, then the Bering Strait?
Sen. Lindsey Graham joked Monday that the U.S. might need to watch out for Russian President Vladimir Putin on our own turf if things continue.
“I just hope we don’t lose Alaska. The more [President Barack] Obama talks to Putin the worse we do,” the South Carolina Republican cracked on “Kilmeade and Friends” on Fox News Radio.
Appearing on the show with his frequent partner in foreign policy, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Graham said the situation in Ukraine is a “defining moment” for Obama and he needs to rally Europe to stand up to Putin.
“[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel’s the key here. The president has to rally the European nations, the Western European nations,” Graham said. “[Putin]’s a one-trick pony when it comes to the economy. Russia’s an oil and gas company corruptly run called a country. They have one commodity, they need to sell it as much as Europe needs to buy it.”
Both senators agreed that the Obama administration has not been projecting enough strength in the world, and that decisions Obama made about Syria last year, among other issues, led Putin to think he could make a move on Ukraine.
Graham said it’s time for the hourlong phone conversations between the two leaders to end.
“The next phone call needs to be Putin calling Obama because we did something consequential,” Graham said. “It’s almost like we’re chasing him as a small child chasing an adult. Quit talking to the guy for an hour and a half; this is a five minute conversation. ‘If you continue to occupy the Crimea by force of arms … you will pay a heavy price. Mr. President, turn around the behavior.’”