On Sunday, during an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) tore apart Sen. John McCain’s idea that the United States needs to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. Feinstein, who is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, discussed Russia’s involvement with separatists in Ukraine and the rebels’ culpability in the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner on Thursday. Crowley then brought up McCain’s comments from Friday where he called President Obama “cowardly” for not giving weapons to Ukraine’s government.
The following is from the show’s transcript:
CROWLEY: I want to play you something that John McCain said in terms of this administration as it deals with Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: It’s just been cowardly. It’s a cowardly administration that we’ve failed to give the Ukrainians weapons with which to defend themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Should the U.S. now give Ukraine the lethal weapons it has been asking for?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I don’t know with specificity what weapons these are. I think the Ukraine has this ground-to-air missile system, but it’s not in the area, and they’re not using it. So, here’s the thing —
CROWLEY: Right, there’s not — I mean the rebels don’t have that many planes to shoot down, right?
FEINSTEIN: I don’t think you can win this that way.
FEINSTEIN: I think you can only win it diplomatically.
CROWLEY: But if they’re being given, if the rebels are being given all the sophisticated equipment from Russia, shouldn’t the Ukraine government have what it needs that it feels to help get rid of the rebels?
FEINSTEIN: Well, this is — emotion is at an all-time high. You see trees that are stripped by bullets. I’m opposed to giving this kind of equipment to anybody, to be honest with you, because we have now seen a major misuse. If this is what senator McCain is talking about, I’m not for this kind of thing.
CROWLEY: I’ve got less than a minute so I just need a yes or a no.
FEINSTEIN: OK, sure.
CROWLEY: Do you believe that the U.S./Russian relations are now at cold war levels?
CROWLEY: Thank you very much.
Feinstein clearly pointed out why you don’t just provide high-grade military weapons to other groups involved in a conflict. Russia provided extremely lethal weaponry to militias that it supports in Ukraine and look what occurred. An international crisis has now developed due to inept rebels having access to a missile system that only the largest militaries in the world utilize. Only highly trained soldiers under the guidance of a developed country’s military organization should operate weaponry of this type.
However, in McCain’s vision, the United States would just take sides in every conflict in the world and provide high-tech military-grade weapons to whomever we deem worthy, no questions asked. If the conflict became widespread, American troops could get involved as well. That is the McCain Doctrine. American military weapons for all and boots on the ground everywhere.
Thankfully, McCain has little to no pull in Washington these days. He talks a big game and gets his face on TV on a daily basis. However, other than the Beltway media and his buddy Lindsey Graham, nobody cares what bitter ol’ Johnny thinks. He can constantly malign the President and call him names, but that’s the limit of his influence. He is the least popular Senator in the country. Even his constituents in Arizona hate him. It is probably for the best that he not seek re-election in 2016 and just retire.
Se. Feinstein, on the other hand, takes her job seriously and discussed the situation regarding Russia with the gravity and thoughtfulness the subject deserves.She highlighted the fact that Europe needs to play a greater role in diplomatic negotiations with Russia and not just rely on the United States to issue tough sanctions. At the end of the interview, she said she feels that the relationship between Russia and the US is at Cold War levels. She did not sugarcoat anything in her conversation with Crowley and pointed out that there are no simple solutions.