Republican Congressman Steve King says it appears Russian President Vladimir Putin has revived the Cold War.
“Putin has reconstructed the iron curtain and he’s in the process of reconstructing the old Soviet Union,” King says. “The first strong move was Georgia. We were weak then. We were offering Georgia NATO membership. Some of our European allies in NATO rejected that idea and shortly after that Putin moved into Georgia.”
The Russians invaded Georgia in 2008. King says once the referendum was scheduled in Crimea earlier this month, the outcome was already determined.
“Who would go to the polls and vote to the contrary?” KIng asks. “They’d have to fear the retribution.”
King says now is not the time to cut the U.S. military’s budget or reduce troop levels.
“We’re back in the ‘Cold War’ and we need to start setting ourselves up in the Cold War posture militarily, diplomatically, economically. One of them would be to freeze those military cuts,” King says. “We just cannot be advertising to the world that we’re determined to be weak.”
In February the U.S. Defense Department proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years, cancelling orders for a class of attack jets and reducing personnel costs to adjust to budget limits imposed by congress.
Russia’s president has recognized Crimea as a “sovereign and independent country.” President Obama has imposed sanctions against several Russia and Ukrainian officials. The European Union has announced travel bans and the accounts 21 Russians have in European banks have been frozen.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)