In an interview with RealClearDefense editor Harry Kazianis, Sen. John McCain explains the how he feels about new Russian government sanctions leveled against him and what Obama must understand about Putin.
HARRY KAZIANIS, REALCLEARDEFENSE: I want to start out with some breaking news actually out of Russian media that has come out over the last few hours. There are reports actually, Senator, that you have been sanctioned by the Russian governemnt. So my question to you sir is, do you have any trips to Russia planned over the next few days?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Well I had been hoping to spend Spring Break in Siberia again this year, but unfortunately I don't quite understand. This is the second time I have been sanctioned. I thought, maybe one sanction was sufficient.
But it really shows to a large degree --a moment of seriousness-- it not only doesn't harm me, it actually helps me with my constituents. I believe U.S. senators are important, but enough for Vladimir Putin to personally want to "sanction" is frankly a bit bizarre.
HARRY KAZIANIS: So let's take a step back, speaking a little more about Russia and the situation with Ukraine. President Obama took office to great fanfare, there was this reset of U.S.-Russia relations. Looking back, do you think that was a mistake?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I think it was a legitimate aspiration. At the time, relationship between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin had been good. Even though I strongly disagreed when George W. Bush said he looked into his eyes and saw a soul. I met him and looked into his eyes and saw a K, G, and B.
But to start out a new presidency, to try to establish a relationship-- my problem with Barack Obama is what does it take to make you understand exactly who this guy is and what he wants to do? He is a KGB apparatchik who wants to restore the Russian Empire.