WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A top foreign policy adviser warns Russian President Vladimir Putin is just what he appears to be…an old KGB agent with a deep hatred and distrust of the West.
General Jim Jones tells CBS News “This Morning” that Putin has been acting with the same belligerence of a Soviet leader.
“There’s definitely a seismic shift, if you will, in terms of the relations between Russia and the West and the United States in particular, and it’s one that’s been brought about by Mr. Putin himself,” Jones told CBS News. “If you contrast the relationship between his predecessor and President Obama, and Mr. Putin and President Obama, you have really a marked shift not only in personal relationships but also as a consequence, national relationships.”
Jones advised President Obama on national security matters and served as an envoy to the Middle East.
He said Putin comes across as a bully and a thug. “I was privileged to be with the president in the first meeting that he ever had with Mr. Putin,” Jones said. “It was supposed to be a short meeting, but it turned out to be an hour and a half lecture from Mr. Putin on global events since 1945 and how he interprets them. And basically he is what he appears to be. He’s a longtime KGB agent, he was brought up in the Cold War, the West is his natural enemy.”
Jones also said he believes Putin has never gotten over the breakup of the Soviet Union. “He believes that the West treated Russia horribly in its hour of need. And he also believes that we reneged on a gentlemen’s agreement that we wouldn’t annex any of the former Soviet states in NATO. All of which he says you did, and you did it with impunity, and that’s something I can never forgive.”
Putin, he adds, has been playing a dangerous game in Ukraine, and it has come back to bite him with the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines jet. “You’d have to be really naive to try to come to the conclusion that there’s no Russian involvement here,” Jones said. “Now I don’t know if there’s a fingerprint on the launch button, but time will tell. So I think that if this isn’t a defining moment, it should be, and shame on us and shame on our European friends if they don’t react accordingly.”
In the CBS interview, Jones said it’s time for Western leaders to take seriously the threat posed by the Russian strongman.
“Mr. Putin is engaged in a long-term, strategic plan to get as much separation between us and our European allies as he possibly can,” Jones said. “And energy comes into play dramatically here. So, I think our response shouldn’t be completely tactical, it ought to be very strategic as well.”
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