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GOP senator: Miscalculations with Russia 'could lead us to a very bad place'

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerIt's time for Biden's Cuba GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Former GOP senator: Republicans cannot let Trump's 'reckless' post-election claims stand MORE (R-Tenn.) warned on Sunday that a military miscalculation amid simmering tensions between the U.S. and Russia could lead the country to "a very bad place."

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Corker acknowledged that U.S.-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but said that Washington is not yet preparing for a military confrontation with Moscow.

"It’s not that we’re preparing," said Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "It’s that we should be aware that miscalculations could lead us to a very bad place."

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He said that the threat of a possible misstep is why Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisRejoining the Iran nuclear deal would save lives of US troops, diplomats The soft but unmatched power of US foreign exchange programs The GOP senators likely to vote for Trump's conviction MORE had urged caution ahead of a U.S.-led strike in Syria, one of Moscow's closest allies.

Tensions between Russia and the West have deteriorated sharply in recent years, particularly after the U.S. intelligence community released an assessment in 2017 that Moscow sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. 

But those tensions worsened after the British government blamed Moscow for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in southern England last month. The Kremlin has denied that allegation.

The U.S., France and the U.K. also carried out "precision strikes" on targets in Syria associated with the country's chemical weapons arsenal last week, further angering Russia. 

The allied strikes in Syria came in response to a suspected chemical weapons strike in a suburb of Damascus allegedly carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Still, President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE has taken some criticism over his apparent friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Last week, he told the press, "Russia will tell you, there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump."

"If we can get along with China, and if we can get along with Russia, and if we can get along with Japan and other nations that's a good thing, not a bad thing," he added, speaking at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "Just remember that. If we got along with other nations, that's good, not bad."