How to handle Putin's invasion of Ukraine

Charles Krauthammer reacts to a new poll on the crisis in Ukraine


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 11, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight, a new poll from ABC News shows there is division about how to handle Putin's invasion of Ukraine. When asked if you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation: 42 percent approved, 43 percent disapprove, 15 percent not sure.

Do you support or oppose the United States and its European allies imposing economic sanctions on Russia: 56 percent support, 31 percent oppose. But if the Europeans back out, should the USA impose sanctions alone: just 40 percent support, 51 percent oppose.

Joining us now from Washington to sort it all out for us is Charles Krauthammer. First I want to get your take on the Funny or Die thing. Does that bother you?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well considering what's going all the way back to Richard Nixon in 1968 when he appeared on "Laugh In" which was kind of a sketch comedy show at the time and said one line, "Sock it to me." I think Nixon set the bar about as low as it can go.

So I find myself generally undisturbed by these kinds of appearances and the point you brought up in the other segment. You know I'm not sure that the Russians care one way or the other about what Obama does on the Internet. What they care about what he's done in geopolitics. What makes them have no respect for Obama is not a minute and a half of sketch comedy with this guy. It's the fact that Obama comes into office. He appeases the Russians by canceling a missile defense agreement with the Poles and the Czechs unilaterally, by the way. He then goes ahead and does a reset with Russia which the Russians understand is a complete give away to them with no quid pro quo and then they watch his stunt on Syria where he says there is a red line. He threatens to attack and then he clearly finds himself in a box and he boxes down and allows Putin of all people to come in and to rescue him with a phony deal about chemical weapons.

Once you've got that they don't give a damn what show he is on. It has no effect whatsoever on the perception of Obama around the world.

O'REILLY: Ok. The poll was interesting because it does -- it doesn't cut across ideological lines in the sense that there are a lot of conservatives who don't want to mess with Russia on this one. And a lot of liberals who are supporting you know aggressive action against Putin. So it's all over the place and it's evenly divided.

You are President Obama, what do you do to Putin? I mean you've got to make a statement, I think. And the President is very quiet this week. What do you do?

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I think he should have made a statement. He shouldn't have been out there playing golf. I mean, he plays a lot of golf. And I don't begrudge him the rest. But this is not the week to play golf during an invasion of a sovereign country in Europe.

O'REILLY: He's playing golf in Key Largo and then Biden was playing golf in the Virgin Islands so they know nothing.

KRAUTHAMMER: And remember, after Obama made his first statement on the invasion, he went right away within 30 minutes he was in a pep rally for Democrats here in D.C. and declared by presidential decree that it was happy hour. That's not exactly a serious presidential response.

O'REILLY: Why do you think he does this stuff? He is smart enough to know the perception is going to be guys like you and me we're going to say what are you playing golf for when you have a crisis in this area. He knows that. What why does he do it?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it's kind of arrogance. He thinks he actually has a good foreign policy. I think he's semi-delusional about the results of these five years. There is not a spot in the world -- you can go from Syria to Libya to Iran to China, to Russia, to Ukraine -- where the United States is not worse off, less regarded, considered weak than it was five years ago. This is a completely failed foreign policy. And he seems radically unaware of that.

O'REILLY: Do you -- is it all about power? Because Cheney and Bush were very aggressive, they were aggressive in foreign policy. I mean "don't mess with us". Yet it didn't really work to our advantage because we -- some would say and I think there is a point to be made here. They were overly aggressive, particularly in Iraq. Or is there something else that a President has to have to make other people respect this country?

See look, I agree that we're not better off foreign policy wise than we were when President Obama took office.

KRAUTHAMMER: We're worse off. We are a lot worse off.

O'REILLY: Ok. And I don't think there is much argument there, I really don't. He tried the kinder, gentler, he tried the we are all in it together -- it didn't work. It's not working all right. It's not working in Afghanistan, it's not working at Syria. Not working in North Korea. It's not working. All right?

But I don't know if you get a bellicose guy like Cheney back whether that's going to make any difference these days.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well let me give you one example. The other President who was rather weak in his foreign policy was Jimmy Carter until the Russians invaded Afghanistan. At which point the scales fell from Jimmy Carter's eyes. You remember what Carter did right away? He imposed a grain embargo on the Soviets. He boycotted the Olympics. And the most important step he did is he sent Brzezinski to the Khyber Pass carrying a rifle and then increased hugely the amount of USAID to the Mujahedeen which would in the decade bled Russia dry until it limped out of Afghanistan.

The problem today and what really scares me is that given the same kind of shock watching Russia invade another country, Obama's scales remain on his eyes. The stuff he has been saying -- this is 19th century behavior in the 21st century as if a turn of the calendar has changed human nature and the (inaudible) international system is now a gentleman's club is absurd. It's what he said in his first U.N. speech. You could attribute that to being naive.

But he's been around now for five years. He sees the wages of weakness and he does not understand that he is now feeding the bear.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, he's got to do something. The vote in Crimea is already, we know, the fix is in -- it's on Sunday. And you expect something done after that -- soon after that.

All right Charles, as always, thank you. And the doctor's book, "Things that Matter" still a mega best seller.

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