Sen. Graham to Newsmax: Ukraine Attack Would 'Turn the World Upside Down' A Ukrainian Military Forces serviceman gives the thumbs-up as he stands in a snow covered trench on the frontline with the Russia-backed separatists near Zolote village, in the eastern Lugansk region, on January 21, 2022. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 26 January 2022 10:53 AM
If the situation between Russia and Ukraine isn't handled correctly, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is allowed to "dismember" the neighboring country, there will be a "ripple effect that will turn the world upside down," Sen. Lindsey Graham warned in an interview on Newsmax Wednesday.
"If we allow Putin to dismember Ukraine, then the Chinese are all in, I think to take Taiwan," the South Carolina Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
"The biggest world change of all would be that the Iranians break out to try to get a bomb. If the Iranians see Putin getting away with dismembering Ukraine, they're going to make a dash for a bomb, and then you're going to have a war between Israel and Iran."
Graham's comments come as Russia intensifies military exercises near Ukraine's border. He told Newsmax he met with senators from both sides of the aisle Monday to discuss sanctions against the Kremlin in response to the buildup.
"Look at the damage done to the Ukrainian economy," said Graham. "Look at the disruption to world order, so impose sanctions now for the provocation of some 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border…we should have sanctions now, not after the invasion."
Graham also said he believes there will be a great deal of support to move NATO forces into the Baltics, and to have a "lend-lease program with the Ukrainian military "where we provide advanced weaponry [so there will] be as many dead Russians as possible if the Ukrainians want to fight. "
Meanwhile, the United States must act aggressively to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany.
"During the Trump administration, we were buying 18,000 barrels of oil from Russia a day," said Graham. "Now it's over 250,000 barrels a day, so our energy policies are empowering Putin. The gas line into Germany from Russia is a cash cow for Putin. And we should be more aggressive in trying to shut it down."
Graham, however, said he is not asking for U.S. troops to go into Ukraine, but instead "to provide them the weaponry that they need to defend themselves against an invasion by Putin, who's a thug."
However, Germany is being "less than helpful" by threatening to block arms from going into Ukraine, said Graham, and even though Ukraine is not a NATO member state, the country has been friendly to the United States and "we need to help them with arms."
"We need to send more troops into the NATO regions that live in the shadow of Russia to show a commitment for our allies in the region," he added. "If we don't we're going to pay a heavy price with China and Iran."
Graham also said Putin doesn't understand that President Joe Biden won't likely be reelected in 2024, and that the actions Moscow takes now against Ukraine will determine Russia's future with the United States for years.
"Putin doesn't understand the likelihood of Joe Biden being president in 2024 is about as likely as me being in the NBA in 2024," said Graham. "I don't like my chances. The next president of the United States will not be Joe Biden. I hope it's Trump. But if Putin invades Ukraine, the next president cannot have a normal relationship with Russia after a Ukrainian invasion, and I hope the Russians are understanding that you're going to sever the relationship for a very long time."
And, Graham added that Putin should know that, "if Donald Trump is in power in 2024, you will regret invading Ukraine in 2022."
The senator also discussed politics in the United States, and dismissed the idea that he'd want to replace Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as Senate majority leader. However, he said the person who is elected must be able to get along with Trump, "the most consequential Republican in the nation."
"Republicans like what he did as president," said Graham. "They would like to see him run again. Count me in that camp."
But a congressional GOP leader who can't work with Trump on "a common America first agenda," then they won't be successful in the House or Senate, said Graham.
"If you're going to run to be the leader of the Republican Senate in 2022, you've got to have a working relationship with the most powerful Republican in the country, and that is Donald Trump," said Graham.