Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said President Obama was right to announce new sanctions against Russia in response to aggression in Ukraine, but suggested that his actions were "far too little and too late."
Cruz pointed out in an interview with radio host Ben Shapiro on Tuesday that the Russian stock market actually jumped in response to Obama's sanctions announcement, which he suggested was a result of continued weakness from the president.
"In my view, Putin's aggressiveness and his act of war against Ukraine is a direct product of the lack of leadership of the United States over the last five years," he said. "America has receded in leadership across the world and into that vacuum has stepped nations like Russia and Iran and China and made the world a much more dangerous place."
Cruz suggested that the United States should move to install ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe, sign a free trade agreement with Ukraine and help the country build infrastructure for importing natural gas.
Cruz explained that the United States had to move beyond the "fundamental naiveté" that marked the foreign policy set by Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, which he said was marked by singing "sweet Kumbayas" to countries like Iran and Russia.
"They seem not to understand one of the simplest and most irrefutable principles of foreign policy from time immemorial, which is that bullies and thugs don't respect weakness and appeasement, the only language they understand is strength," he said.