Cruz Campaign Press Release - CRUZ: Chaos in Syria and Iraq is Direct Consequence of Administration's Failed Foreign Policy
Calls for U.S. to Arm Kurds, Increase Air Strikes, Stand Up to Russia
HOUSTON, Texas – Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today joined Fox News's Bill Hemmer to discuss how the U.S. should approach Russia President Vladmir Putin's involvement in Syria and the ongoing success the Cruz Campaign has seen in its ground operations in the early states and beyond.
Cruz called for an end to arming the "so-called" moderate Syrian rebels, and instead to focus efforts that will dramatically increase U.S. air operations targeting ISIS and directly arm the Kurds, our allies who are already fighting on the ground.
He also identified what the U.S. can do to stand up to Russia absent military conflict, saying, "We ought to be standing up to Russia.... When Putin invaded Ukraine, I called on President Obama to do two things. One, immediately install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic that were scheduled to go into effect in 2009, but Obama canceled in a failed effort to appease Putin. Number two, there were at the time twenty-two applications pending to export liquid natural gas... The President should have approved all of them, export our natural gas to help people stand free of Russia's blackmail and to hit Putin where it hurts, in the pocketbook."
Later in the segment, Cruz discussed the success of his growing grassroots operation in the states, most recently with the announcement that the campaign has a county chair operating in all 171 counties that comprise the early states.
"I am incredibly encouraged because what we're seeing are conservatives coalescing behind our campaign," Cruz said. "The moderates are fighting like scorpions in a bottle, but conservatives are coming together and I could not be more encouraged by where we are right now."
The full interview and transcript are included below.
HEMMER: Texas Senator Ted Cruz is running for President, on the Armed Services Committee, with me now out of Washington, Senator how are you? And welcome back here to America's Newsroom.
CRUZ: Thank you Bill, good morning, good to be with you.
HEMMER: Here is the quote from our folks at the Pentagon, 'the first time it happened we thought the Russians got lucky then it happened two more times.' How dangerous is this Senator?
CRUZ: Look it is extraordinarily dangerous and the tensions between Russia and America are only escalating. And sadly this is a direct manifestation of the weakness of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, leading from behind. This is what it produces, and we've got a reality now that Vladimir Putin not only doesn't respect the President of the United States, but he considers him a laughing stock. And that is profoundly dangerous for America and the world. We are seeing the chaos in Syria and the chaos in Iraq is also a direct consequence of the failed foreign policy of this administration.
HEMMER: Let me go through a numbers of things. You heard what the President said last Friday, 'have at it Russia, we tried, we failed, have at it. You'll be there for a long time.' Is he right about that?
CRUZ: Of course he's not and this is what happens when you look at leading from behind is one of the most honest characterizations of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, America recedes and so Russia is stepping in and taking advantage.
I'm reminded of former Democratic Senator Scoop Jackson's characterization of the old Soviet Union, he characterized them as a burglar who walks down the halls in a motel jiggling the door handles to see what's open and to go in and rob. In this instance Putin is being opportunistic there's an opportunity to go into Syria to strengthen his position to become a dominant force in the Middle East and that's possible only because America is so weakened that it has created the opportunity for them to do so. Unfortunately what we're seeing is our friends and allies are getting the message that President Obama is not a reliable ally and that at least with Putin you know what you're getting. Our enemies are learning that America can we trifled with, there's nothing to worry about there but Putin is far more dangerous. That is very bad for America and for the world.
HEMMER: Deal with what's happening right now, we can debate decisions of yesterday. What should our role be now there? And what should our role be in cooperation perhaps with Russia? Are we now finding ourselves moving towards that direction? Or not?
CRUZ: No I don't think so at all. No one in their right mind would believe Putin's assertion that he's there to help go after the terrorists. Obama did but it's only because he's hopelessly naïve. Putin is supporting Iran. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. It was sadly to the surprise of nobody that Putin's military began bombing the so-called moderate rebels that we spent hundreds of millions of dollars training. His intention is to boost and prop up Assad, who is a puppet for Iran and that is not furthering U.S. interests.
Now, you ask Bill what should we be doing? We should stop engaging in the fiction of trying to find these moderate rebels and support them. We should stop the fiction of trying to bring together the Sunnis and the Shias to put down their arms and embrace like brothers. Instead we should defend U.S. national security interests and do what works to defeat ISIS. Now what would that mean? That'd mean number one, using overwhelming air power to target and destroy ISIS. Number two, we need to be arming the Kurds, the Kurds are on the ground, the Peshmerga, the fighting forces of the Kurds are terrific fighters, they're strong allies of America and yet the Obama administration refuses to fund them because it wants to send the weapons to Baghdad, who's not using it to defeat the terrorists. We need to focus on what works.
HEMMER: We've been having that specific debate for a long time. Politico this morning talks about the President urging strategic patience with Russia, says Vladimir Putin is playing a psychological game. Is there truth to that?
CRUZ: Putin is playing to win. Putin is not a complicated man; he's essentially a KGB thug. Putin very candidly said in his opinion the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century and I think what Putin is attempting to do is systematically re-assemble the old Soviet Union and expand Russia's influence. We ought to be standing up to Russia. Now, we don't want to do so through direct military conflict, no one in their right mind wants to see a shooting war between the world's two leading nuclear super powers. But what should we be doing? When Putin invaded Ukraine, I called on President Obama to do two things. Number one, immediately install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic that were scheduled to go into effect in 2009 that Obama canceled in a failed effort to appease Putin. Number two, there were at the time twenty-two applications pending to export liquid natural gas. Putin uses energy to blackmail Europe to fund his military aggression. The President should have approved all of them, export our natural gas to help people stand free of Russia's blackmail and to hit Putin where it hurts, in the pocketbook.
HEMMER: Once a spy, always a spy. The psychological game continues. I want to pivot quickly to two other topics. Do you have a problem with President Obama going to Oregon this week? To console the community in Roseburg.
CRUZ: He's welcome to go anywhere. Now, I would note that he didn't come to the funeral of Deputy Goforth in Texas who was murdered and murdered because a significant part of the escalating rhetoric from President Obama, from the Attorney General against law enforcement. He doesn't seem to stand with the brave men and women, the police and fire fighters and first responders and instead he's vilified them. In regard to Oregon, our hearts go out, every one of us should be lifting up those families in prayer for the victims of that horrific crime. Especially, as facts came out that it appears this shooter was targeting Christians for their faith. It is all the more horrific. But it's also sad and cynical that the President's response and Hillary Clinton's response is to immediately try to politicize this, not to go after violent criminals – which is what we should be doing, but instead to try and go after the second amendment rights of citizens. I think it's wrong I think it's cynical.
HEMMER: We'll see if this visit involves politics or not on Friday. Now quickly hard turn here. You're trying to move in the polls it really has not happened just yet. Are you satisfied with the state of your campaign today, Senator?
CRUZ: Beyond satisfied. I am incredibly encouraged the momentum we're seeing on the ground. This week we rolled out county chairmen in all 171 counties in the first four primary states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada. No other Republican has that. Our grassroots support is enormous, and then our fundraising. To date we have received over 350,000 contributions. In the last two quarters we have outraised every other Republican candidate as people all over the country went to tedcruz.org, contributed, signed up, volunteered. I am incredibly encouraged because what we're seeing are conservatives coalescing behind our campaign. The moderates are fighting like scorpions in a bottle, but conservatives are coming together and I could not be more encouraged by where we are right now.
Ted Cruz, Cruz Campaign Press Release - CRUZ: Chaos in Syria and Iraq is Direct Consequence of Administration's Failed Foreign Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/315279