Obama’s weak Russia policy emboldened Putin to invade Ukraine, and Biden’s is emboldening Xi: MSNBC guest

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MSNBC guest Hagar Chemali said on the network Tuesday that former President Obama’s evasive foreign policy emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, and that President Biden’s handling of the current crisis will likely have a similar effect on Chinese President Xi Jinping in future years.

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Addressing the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine in an appearance on “Deadline: White House” Tuesday, Chemali, who held various national security and public affairs positions under the Obama and Bush administrations, said that Putin has become noticeably more aggressive on the world stage after Obama’s “relatively weak response” to Russia’s 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin prior to a working session at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Pool

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) chats with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin prior to a working session at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Pool
(REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Pool)

“When he saw a relatively weak response from the Obama administration at the time for something so brazen, for taking territory, I think to him that was a message of okay, great, this is something I can continue to do with little recourse,” Chemali told guest host John Heilemann.

“The bottom line is, he’s going to see that he can behave this way as a thug and get something out of it,” she said

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Biden on Tuesday announced new sanctions against Russia, calling Kremlin-led activities in recent hours “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” and dispatched additional U.S. forces to the region, but maintained that the United States has “no intention” of fighting Russia.

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chemali said that while she agrees military intervention would be “catastrophic” for the country, she is concerned about the message Biden is sending to dictators around the world who are keeping close watch of the United States’ response.

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“My real concern here is not just that he won’t end. It’s the message to the other dictators that are watching around the world, in particular, President Xi,” she said. “President Xi is watching every minute of this and thinking to himself, okay, I see. This is how this is all going to do down. I’m going to start my playbook to invade Taiwan because I know the U.S. is not going to militarily intervene.”

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