President Joe Biden's administration and Democrat majorities in the House and Senate are "weakening America" as challenges from both China and Russia emerge on the world stage, according to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on Newsmax.
"Let's face it, you achieve peace through strength, and everything President Biden is doing, Democratic governance is doing, is weakening America," Johnson told Tuesday's "Stinchfield." "Open borders, the embarrassing and dangerous surrender in Afghanistan, growing our debt, massive deficit spending, all this weakens America, and that encourages aggression from our enemies."
Johnson's remarks come the same day Biden had a two-hour video conference call with Russian President Vladimir Putin where the main conversation focused on diffusing tensions after thousands of Russian troops continued massing at the border with Ukraine, The New York Times reported.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden "was direct" with Putin regarding Ukraine during the call.
"President Biden was direct and straightforward with President Putin, as he always is," Sullivan told reporters at Tuesday's briefing. "He reiterated America's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. [Biden] told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures.
"We would provide additional defensive material to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing – and we would fortify our NATO allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation."
Johnson said, should Russia take the step of invading Ukraine, the United States and other NATO allies should start dismantling the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that Russia uses to supply natural gas to Europe and the region.
"If Russia actually does invade Ukraine, you dismantle the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, you dismantle it, and you tell Vladimir Putin out front that will be the sanction, together with cutting you off from the world's financial system," Johnson continued. "You need to be very blunt with Vladimir Putin, and then you need to follow up on those actions."
According to the New York Post, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connects Russia with Germany, but bypasses Ukraine by running under the Baltic Sea, but has yet to start pumping natural gas through the line.
Sullivan said the pipeline could be used as leverage to de-escalate the Ukraine situation because sanctions against it could "decimate" Russia.
"It is leverage for the West," Sullivan said. "If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine."
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