Jones urges Obama to avoid military escalation

Gen. James Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser, on Sunday urged his one-time boss to avoid a tit-for-tat escalation with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Crimean Peninsula.

Jones warned the situation could spiral out of control and lead to a military confrontation.

“I think we don’t want to knee-jerk and overreact,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“A lot of the things that we’re talking about in terms of some of the tit-for-tat gestures that only tend to exacerbate the situation,” he said.

Jones said the administration should focus more on economic steps than military exercises, an option endorsed earlier on the program by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“This is a strategic question I think that has long-term strategic consequences,” he said. “And it’s more about economies and about the future of the region than it is about troop displacements right now.”

He noted, however, that NATO’s Ukraine and Russia councils are in “full gear.” The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the principle defense alliance between the United States and Europe.

He said “precipitous moves that preclude people from being able to step back” could allow the situation to quickly get out of control.

He held up economic measures as more promising, noting that Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have asked Congress to accelerate shipments of liquefied natural gas.

“This just underscores the fact that in a long-term, and maybe even mid-term scenario, our energy potential has the capacity of lowering the dependence of Europe on Russian energy. And therefore effecting the economic liability of Russia for a long term,” he said.