Senator John McCain said Tuesday President Obama gets no respect from Vladimir Putin and "we are paying a very, very heavy price for it."
The Republican senator from Arizona and former presidential candidate told Greta Van Susteren on "On the Record" that the president has “totally misread” Putin.
“President Obama said, ‘20 years ago the Cold War ended,’” McCain said. “He said to (former Russian President Dmitry) Medvedev, ‘Tell Vladimir when I’m re-elected I will be more flexible.’ A gross misreading of the nature and the ambitions of Vladimir Putin and we are paying a very, very heavy price for it.”
McCain also said that Obama has underestimated Putin’s Cold War-like tactics.
“Unless we understand that Vladimir Putin is an old KGB colonel apparatchik that wants to restore the Russian empire – he said, not me, he said, Vladimir Putin said the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century was the breakup of the Soviet Union,” McCain said.
“And so this president totally misread him, ridiculed (Mitt) Romney in their debate when Romney said that Russia was a major geopolitical foe.”
“They keep saying that, well this isn’t East-West, this is the old Cold War chess game,” he added.
“As I guess (Rep. Mike) Rodgers said, we’re playing marbles and he’s playing checkers. But to Putin it is still the Cold War. It is still the Russian empire. That’s why he still has troops in Transnistria, in Moldova. That’s why he continues to occupy Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He believes in the near-abroad and the Russian empire and we need to judge him as he is, not in a delusional fashion, which is the way President Obama has viewed him.”
The senator also pointed out that “he [Putin] even denies that there are Russian soldiers there. We all know that. And that is the height of arrogance in my view.”
“You saw the picture of those two sitting next to each other, you’ve seen the attitude that Putin has toward the president of the United States. He doesn’t respect him.”