Graham on Drone Shoot-Down: ‘Weakness Breeds Provocation’; Waltz: ‘They Smell Weakness in the White House’
A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle drone. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – Some Republicans are pointing an accusing finger at President Joe Biden, after two Russian fighter jets caused the crash of an unmanned drone that was flying in international airspace over the Black Sea on Tuesday.
According to a Defense Department spokesman:
“One of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9 (drone), causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless and unprofessional manner.
“This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” General Pat Ryder told a press briefing.
The incident also demonstrates Russia’s low regard for the weak Biden administration, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Michael Waltz told Fox News’s Sean Hannity Tuesday night:
Graham (R-S.C.) said the United States should hold Russia “accountable, and say that if you ever get near another U.S. asset flying in international waters, your airplane will be shot down.
“What would Ronald Reagan do right now?” Graham asked. “He would start shooting Russian planes down if they were threatening our assets.
“American foreign policy is in free fall…All I can tell you is that, on multiple fronts, we’re in a dangerous situation. Weakness breeds provocation. The spy balloon over the United States, shooting down an American drone, multi-million-dollar drone. They know they can get away with it. Mexico is blaming us for the fentanyl crisis. And Joe Biden is like a deer in the headlights. He needs to up his game quickly.”
Graham said America’s enemies were emboldened by the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan:
“When Biden got into power, he pulled out of Afghanistan. And that set everything else in motion. Obama’s president, Putin invades Ukraine, takes Crimea. Biden gets elected president, Putin’s trying to dismantle Ukraine.
“The border is completely broken. The Mexican president is taunting the United States, belittling the Republican Party, claiming Mexico is not responsible for the poisoning of America through fentanyl, and our commander in chief is sitting around, playing the fiddle while the world burns.
“So, President Biden, you’re the Rodney Dangerfield of world leaders. Nobody respects you. And if you don’t change your game, and up your game, we’re going to have World War III.
“Here’s the next war that’s coming. Israel is going to have to take military action to stop the Iranians from developing enriched uranium to the point it can become a weapon. They’re at 84 percent. All they have to do is get to 90 percent. And we’re not doing a damn thing about the Iranians trying to develop a nuclear bomb under our plain sight.”
Graham noted that President Donald Trump didn’t hesitate to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani “to stop a war,” as Trump said at the time. Trump said Soleimani was plotting attacks on American troops and officials across the Middle East.
“Do you believe for one minute that Russia would have invaded Ukraine if Donald Trump was president of the United States?” Graham asked. “There is no fear of Joe Biden. His policies are not working. We’re being walked on. We’re being crapped on. And we’re about to have a major war because China is sizing up Biden, and they’re going to go into Taiwan if we don’t up our game.”
Graham said he’s “never been more worried about world stability” than he is right now.
America’s enemies ‘on the march’
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), a member of the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and intelligence committees, told Hannity, “We should be putting three drones back in there to replace this one and sending a very clear message to Russia, this was over international waters.
“They don’t get to decide where the United States sends our aircraft, sends our ships, or who we decide, or how we decide to defend it.”
Waltz noted that even before Russia invaded Ukraine, President Biden voluntarily pulled U.S. ships and aircraft out of the Black Sea. “Putin believes he has an opportunity to force our drones out as well, because they smell weakness in the White House,” he said:
“Again, to Senator Graham’s point, what did Trump do with Iran when they attacked international shipping, when they attacked Saudi oil refiners? When they shot down one of our drones, if we remember that, and then attacked our embassy? He took out their field general, sent a clear message, and then it all stopped.
“That’s how you restore deterrence. That’s how you restore strength. And that’s how we keep the peace.
“But I am just as worried right now that we are slipping down a very slippery slope towards a total world in chaos between Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela — all on the March. Because again, they smell weakness.
“We can have the most powerful, capable military in the world but if our adversaries don’t believe we have the political will to use it, then they’re going to take advantage of us. And right now, they’re on the march.”
President Biden has been briefed on the downed drone, but as of Wednesday morning, he had not issued a statement or said anything publicly.