Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Monday said that the U.S. should refrain from using its military to intervene in Ukraine.
“Military action is off the table right now,” McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But let’s go back to peace through strength. What kind of a message are we sending when we’re slashing our military and at the same time, the world is as disruptive and dangerous as any time since the end of the war?”
McCain said that the U.S. should instead pursue economic sanctions against Russia. When Blitzer asked the senator if sanctions would have an immediate impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions, McCain admitted that it wasn’t likely.
“In the short-term, probably not, because we have to regain our credibility, which we have none,” he answered. “And, by the way, again, there are significant Russian populations in many countries — in Poland, in Romania, in the Baltic countries. Does this mean that we will now acquiesce to Putin acting on behalf of the Russian population in parts of all these countries in the region?”
While McCain wants to hold off on military intervention for the time being, he also said that the U.S. should be helping NATO prepare for action.
“We need to increase our capabilities in order to shore up and for military operations, exercises, with these countries,” he said about U.S. aid to NATO nations. “We need to have a broad array — and when people say we can’t do much, then I don’t agree. I think the strongest, most powerful nation in the world economically and every other way can do a lot of things.”