Amid a seemingly intractable problem on the Korean peninsula, an expansionist China and the persistent threat posed by the Islamic State, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) he considers Russia a greater threat to global security than ISIS.
While discussing a myriad of global security threats with ABC, McCain, who is on a trip to the Asia-Pacific region for security conferences, told current affairs program, 7.30, as menacing as ISIS has become, Russia remains a more significant threat.
“I think he is the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS. I think ISIS can do terrible things and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith and I worry about a whole lot of things about it. But it’s the Russians who are trying to destroy the very fundamental of democracy — and that is to change the outcome of an American election,” McCain said on 7.30.
McCain followed his remarks with a vow to hit the Kremlin with further sanctions:
“We need to have increased sanctions and hopefully when we come back from our recess the Senate will move forward with sanctions on Russia, and enact other penalties for Russian behavior.”
The Arizona senator also told ABC he understands why some countries are “nervous” about Donald Trump being the proverbially leader of the free world.
“I am nervous from time to time. I do believe that the president has great confidence in the national security team. I do believe most of the time that he accepts their advice and counsel,” he said.
“Can I tell you that he does [that] all the time? No. Does it bother me? Yes, it bothers me.”
Earlier in the trip, McCain met to hold talks with with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at Parliament House in Canberra.
In contrast to Mr. Trump, who favors rapprochement with Moscow, McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has remained a fierce critic of the Kremlin and has long supported a policy of confronting Russia, placing him at odds with the White House.
Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has consistently denied interfering in either the U.S. presidential election in 2016 or the recent French presidential elections.
Following a speech at an event organized by the United States Studies Center in Sydney, McCain is expected to travel to Singapore for a second regional security meeting.
Watch McCain’s full comments about Russia below.
[Sydney Morning Herald] [ABC.net.au] [IBTimes UK/YouTube] [Photo courtesy AFP via The Guardian Nigeria]