Rubio: Obama 'can't seem to understand' Putin
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Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPhase-four virus relief hits a wall On The Money: Senate aims to quickly approve more small-business aid | Dems seek conditions on new funds for small-business loans | Pelosi says next round of relief will top T The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Debruyne Says Global Response Platform Needed; Navarro Saw It Coming MORE (R-Fla.) writes in a new op-ed that President Obama is incapable of anticipating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move.


Rubio added in National Review that Putin is acting against America’s national interests in both the Middle East and Ukraine.

“Ever since then-secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump, Biden set for tight battle in Florida We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida MORE announced a ‘reset’ of relations with Russia in 2009, the consequences of six years of failed U.S. policy towards Russia have played out in the annexation of Crimea and the battlefields of Ukraine,” the White House hopeful writes.

“This policy has also helped prolong the humanitarian and strategic nightmare that Syria has become,” he added.

“Somehow, as the evidence of failure grows, President Obama still can’t seem to understand Vladimir Putin’s goals,” the senator writes. “Putin wants nothing less than the recognition of Russia as a geopolitical force.

“He has already achieved this in Europe, and he is now pursuing the same goal in the Middle East, exploiting the vacuum left behind by President Obama’s ‘leading from behind’ approach.”

Rubio argues that Russia’s involvement with Syria is especially troubling, given Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Putin’s support of Assad, Rubio charges, will likely increase the level of bloodshed resulting from Syria’s brutal civil war.

“In the absence of American leadership, Syria has become a playground for malign, anti-American forces such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Iranian Quds Force — and now Russia,” Rubio writes.

“The situation will only get worse until the U.S. provides leadership to counter the forces of extremism,” he adds. “We must work with moderate elements of the opposition and step up training of rebels to fight not only ISIS but also Assad.”

Rubio’s op-ed follow reports earlier this month that Russia is expanding its military presence in Syria and helping Assad’s forces fight rebels and terrorists.

Rubio, one of 16 Republicans running for the 2016 nomination, has repeatedly tied Obama’s foreign policy decisions to those made by his former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for next year’s Democratic presidential nomination.