Senator John McCain issued a blunt warning on Tuesday to President-elect Trump and his emerging foreign policy team: Don’t try another “reset” with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump described Mr. Putin as a strong leader and suggested that the United States and Russia might join forces in fighting the Islamic State. Mr. Putin congratulated Mr. Trump on his election in a phone call on Monday and discussed working together to combat terrorism and resolve the crisis in Syria, according to the Kremlin’s account.
That was too much for Mr. McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who cautioned the incoming administration not to be taken in by “a former K.G.B. agent.”
John McCain’s full statement:
“Vladimir Putin has rejoined Bashar Assad in his barbaric war against the Syrian people with the resumption of large-scale Russian air and missile strikes in Idlib and Homs. Another brutal assault on the city of Aleppo could soon follow.
“With the U.S. presidential transition underway, Vladimir Putin has said in recent days that he wants to improve relations with the United States. We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies, and attempted to undermine America’s elections.
“The Obama Administration’s last attempt at resetting relations with Russia culminated in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East. At the very least, the price of another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people. That is an unacceptable price for a great nation. When America has been at its greatest, it is when we have stood on the side those fighting tyranny. That is where we must stand again.”