Cruz: Trying to Find Moderate Rebels ‘Fiction’ ‘Naive’ To Believe Putin Is Fighting Terrorists

Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz argued the US “should stop engaging in the fiction of trying to find these moderate rebels,” and “No one in their right mind would believe Putin’s assertion he’s there to help go after the terrorists” on Wednesday’s “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel.

Cruz stated, “It is extraordinarily dangerous, and the tensions between Russia and America are only escalating, and sadly, this is a direct manifestation of the weakness of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, leading from behind, this is what it produces. And we’ve got a reality now that Vladimir Putin, not only doesn’t respect the president of the United States, but he considers him a laughingstock, and that is profoundly dangerous for America and the world, and we’re seeing the chaos in Syria and the chaos in Iraq is also a direct consequence of the failed foreign policy of this administration.”

When asked if the president was right to let Russia “have at it,” Cruz stated, “of course he’s not. And this is what happens — if you look at leading from behind, which is one of the most honest characterizations of Obama-Clinton foreign policy, America recedes. So, Russia is stepping in and taking advantage. … In this instance, Putin is being opportunistic, there’s an opportunity to go to Syria to strengthen his position, to become a dominant force in the Middle East, and that’s possible only because because America is so weakened, that it’s created the opportunity for them to do so. And unfortunately, what we’re seeing, is our friends and allies are getting the message that President Obama is not a reliable ally, and at least Putin, you know what you are getting, and our enemies are learning america can be trifled with, there’s nothing to worry about there, but Putin’s far more dangerous.”

Cruz continued, “No one in their right mind would believe Putin’s assertion he’s there to help go after the terrorists. You know, Obama did, but it’s only because he’s hopelessly naive. Listen, Putin is supporting Iran. Iran is the world’s leading in the state sponsor of terrorism. There is — it was sadly to the surprise of nobody, that Putin’s military began bombing the so-called moderate rebels that we spent hundreds of millions of dollars training, because his intention is to boost and to prop up Assad, who is a puppet for Iran, and that is not furthering US interests. Now, you ask, Bill what should we be doing? We should stop engaging in the fiction of trying to find these moderate rebels and support them. We should stop the fiction of trying to bring together the Sunnis and Shias, to put down their arms and embrace like brothers, and instead, we should defend US national security interests, and do what works to defeat ISIS. Now what would that mean? That would mean, number one, using overwhelming air power to target and destroy ISIS. But number two, we ought to be arming the Kurds. The Kurds are on the ground, they’re fighting, the Peshmerga, the fighting forces of the Kurds are terrific fighters. They’re strong allies of America. Yet the Obama administration refuses to fund them, because it wants to send the weapons to Baghdad, who’s not using it to defeat the terrorists.”

He concluded, “Putin is playing to win, and Putin is not a complicated man to understand. He is essentially a KGB thug. You know, Putin very candidly said, in his opinion, the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. And I think what Putin is attempting to do, is systematically reassemble the old Soviet Union, expand Russia’s influence. We ought to be standing up to Russia. Now, we don’t want to do so through direct military conflict. No one in their right mind wants to see a shooting a war between the world’s two leading nuclear superpowers. But what should we doing? Well, when Putin invaded Ukraine, I called on President Obama to do two things. Number one, immediately install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic, that were scheduled to go into effect in 2009, that Obama canceled in a failed effort to appease Putin. And number two, there were at the time 22 applications pending to export liquid natural gas. Putin uses energy to blackmail Europe and to fund his military aggression. The president should have approved all 22 of them, export our natural gas, to help people stand free of Russia’s blackmail and to hit Putin where it hurts, in the pocket.”

Cruz also said that President Obama is free to go to Oregon, but added, “I would note, he didn’t come to the funeral of Deputy Goforth in Texas, who was murdered, and murdered because, in significant part of the escalating rhetoric from President Obama, from the attorney general against law enforcement. He doesn’t seem to stand with the brave men and women, the police, and firefighters, and first responders, and instead he’s vilified them.”

He also stated, “it’s sad and cynical that the president’s response, and Hillary Clinton’s response, is to immediately try to politicize this, not to go after violent criminals, which is what we should be doing, but instead to try to go after the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I think that’s wrong.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett