Abrams: Obama White House Afraid of Putin

'I think we should be making the Russians a little afraid of us'

• March 14, 2014 12:14 pm


Former Reagan and Bush administration official Elliott Abrams argued the United States should not fear any retaliation that results from sanctions against Russia Friday on Fox News.

The White House, according to Abrams, appears "scared" of the Russian president and his ability to inflict damage on American geopolitical and economic interests.

Ironically, the former diplomat added the State Department seems to be less skittish than the rest of President Obama's foreign policy team.

U.S. economic interests in Russia, Abrams said, are relatively small and are confined to a few firms, reducing the likelihood Russian penalties against American companies would have any effect on the average American citizen.

"Look, our country is twice the population of Russia. Our economy is many times greater. [Putin] has got an economy that depends on one thing, which is the sale of oil and gas. For us to be afraid of him economically is really quite bizarre," Abrams said.

Host Jenna Lee asked about Josh Rogin's article in The Daily Beast which described a number of possible retaliatory scenarios for any punitive measures against the Russian oligarchy.

Abrams replied Russia is not keeping up with efforts to destroy Syria's chemical weapons and American forces do not need Russia's cooperation to continue withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"I don't think Americans need to worry about this at all. What we need to worry about is that American credibility in the whole world, in Asia, with China, the Middle East, in Europe can be destroyed if the Russians commit this kind of aggression and we don't even impose sanctions."

As far as the possibility of any further military assistance to Ukraine, Abrams recommended the White House defer until Putin makes his next move.

"I hope, Kerry is telling Lavrov today, look, if you push into east Ukraine, Ukrainians are going to fight and we are going to be giving them some military assistance. I think we should be making the Russians a little afraid of us, not just vice versa."