McCaul Says US Got Into New Cold War With Russia, Calls for ‘Sanctions, More Arms Sales to Ukraine’
© AP PhotoIn this image from video, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 23, 2020.
© AP Photo
The specter of a possible "Russian invasion" in Ukraine has been in the international focus since October. The West accused Russia of a military build-up near the Ukrainian border, threatening another batch of sanctions, despite Kremlin repeatedly stating it has no plans to attack any state, while it is free to move troops within its own territory.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview with CNN Sunday that the United States and Russia are once again in a state of "cold war".
He told the host of “State of the Union” Jake Tapper that deterrence is a way to prevent a purported Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“But I'm not seeing a lot of deterrence. I'm seeing some tough rhetoric, but not a lot of action,” McCaul complained. "Rather than threatening after an invasion takes place, we ought to be providing deterrents before an invasion takes place.”
Michael McCaul, who has received several political contributions from US defense giants like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, also spoke in favor of more arms sales to Ukraine.
“I would recommend — I talked to Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman prior to her negotiations — that you have to put things on the table like sanctions. You have to talk about more arms sales, weapon sales to Ukraine,” he said.
According to the lawmaker, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has made world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping "all view that as a moment of weakness."
When asked by the host whether the current state of US relations with Russia is reminiscent of the years of the Cold War, McCaul responded, "I do. I do, because I think Putin again smells weakness here."
Remarks similar to McCaul’s are seen by many as a tool to denigrate the policy of the current administration. Still, the fact that the United States has to deal with its extremely polarized political arena recklessly jeopardizes the world’s stability, according to professor of Government and Chair in Government and Business Relations at the University of Texas, James K. Galbraith.
Observers: After 20-Year War US Simply Abandoned Afghanistan Without Political & Economic Solution
28 December 2021, 17:25 GMT
Meanwhile, some analysts have been quick to point that the US’ deterrence, already demonstrated near Russian borders, has already contributed to the current stalemate-like situation. Former Central Intelligence Agency agent Joseph Weisberg told media that the deployment of US military personnel and weapons in neighboring former Soviet republics would be considered a threat by anyone.
Along with many Russian politicians, who have accused Washington of escalating tensions near the Russian borders and intentionally pushing the hostile mentality of the Cold War era, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that the sanctions proposed in the US could terminate relations between the two countries.
The urgent need to outgrow the Cold War mentality amid officials and politicians in Washington was also stressed by Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, who also noted that the recent US and NATO talks with Russia were intended to "preserve peace and stability" in Europe by putting legally binding guarantees down on paper.
"As [NATO] approaches our border proper, the flight time of NATO air and missile weapons to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities in the European part of the country is reduced. How would the US government react if Washington, New York or Los Angeles were 'under the bomb-sight'?" he said.
Earlier this week, a group of House Republicans, including McCaul, introduced Ukraine-related legislation, The Guaranteeing Ukrainian Autonomy by Reinforcing its Defense Act, that includes sanctions against “Nord Stream 2” and $200 million in military aid for Ukraine. Legislation projects with sanctions against Russia have been also put forward by other lawmakers in Congress.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden earlier noted that he doesn’t seek a new "cold war", nor does he want a world "divided into blocs."
Russia held a series of high-level security talks with the United States, NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe early this week. During the negotiations, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko pointed out that a further deterioration in relations between Russia and NATO countries could lead to the most unpredictable and grave consequences for European security.
In its NATO proposals, Moscow said that the alliance should end military cooperation with the post-Soviet countries, stop establishing military bases on their territory, limit the deployment of strike weapons near Russian borders, remove American nuclear weapons from Europe and guarantee NATO's non-expansion further eastwards.
11 January 2022, 17:41 GMT
The Russian ambassador to the US said on Saturday that Moscow was waiting for a written response to its security proposals to consider the next step.
With both sides apparently admitting that negotiations were fruitless, the US has remained pesistent in its accusations against Russia. On Sunday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS that the Biden administration was ready to move forward with diplomacy or take a "robust response," in coordination with the transatlantic community, if Russia went down the path of escalation in Ukraine.