House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Sunday that President Obama should not “underestimate” Russian President Vladimir Putin in the current military standoff over Ukraine.
Russian troops have taken control of the Crimean Peninsula, which is located in the southern portion of Ukraine, angering U.S. and European officials, who argue the peninsula is already part of a sovereign nation.
Rogers said Sunday during an appearance on ABC News’s “This Week” that the Russian president was desperate for attention.
Rogers accused the Obama administration of being naïve in its dealings with Putin during the president’s tenure in office leading up to the Crimea standoff.
“I think the administration thought, ‘Well, it’s a different century, and if we just act nice, everyone will act nice with us,’ ” the Michigan lawmaker said. “That’s just unfortunately not the way that Putin and the Russian Federation sees the rest of the world.”
Rogers said the Crimea situation was concerning because of “the continuing advancement, for reasons of influence or, in this case, taking land, by Putin and Russia."
“We’ve seen this story before, and when we didn’t react as the United States, we thought it would settle itself, we ended up buying into a bigger trouble later,” he said. “I think that’s what you’re seeing happening and at least some notion that we have to diplomatically apply pressure, get our European allies together to start pushing back on what I think is an expansionist attitude by Putin.”