ORLANDO, Fla.—Sen. Josh Hawley accused President Joe Biden of “haphazard, feckless foreign policy” Thursday, insisting that “we do not need American soldiers fighting in Europe.” 

The Missouri Republican discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a Thursday interview with The Daily Signal at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where he repeatedly emphasized that Biden’s “weakness” has led to the escalating situation in Ukraine. 

“We need to be really clear that what the Russians are doing is absolutely wrong, that it is a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and now we need a policy,” Hawley said. “Joe Biden hasn’t had any policy.”

“We should shut down Russia’s energy production and open ours,” he added. “We are the greatest energy-producing nation in the world. Joe Biden has shut down our energy production, that’s sent a message of weakness, it’s sent a message of dependence, that made us more dependent on foreign adversaries.”

If Hawley were in charge, the senator said, he would open up that energy production, sanction the Russians, and arm the Ukranians. 

“And at the same time, let’s not take our eye off of China,” he warned. “They are our No. 1 security threat and we’ve got to make sure we are ready to counter them.” 

Biden’s sanctions are “half-hearted,” Hawley told The Daily Signal. The president has applied sanctions on Russian banks and on “corrupt billionaires” close to the Kremlin, as well as export blocks on technology, according to CNN

“This is the guy who … lifted the sanctions on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s pipeline, he greenlighted it,” the senator said, referring to the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. “Why do you think Putin feels so emboldened? It’s because of Joe Biden’s weakness. He shut down our pipeline, he opened up the Russians’ pipeline, we should do just the opposite.” 

The Missouri Republican tore into Biden’s handling of foreign policy during the last few years, saying, “This has been a guy who stumbles from one foreign policy disaster to another, he’s managed to lose two nations in the space of six months, first Afghanistan with his disastrous and chaotic withdrawal, and now Ukraine with his haphazard feckless foreign policy.”

“So it’s time to show some strategic purpose backed up by clear-eyed American resolve,” he continued. “That’s what we need right now. We don’t need to panic, we don’t need to send thousands more troops to Europe, I think that’s a mistake. What we need to do is bring the Russian energy sector to its knees, open up America’s energy sector, and help the Ukrainians defend themselves.” 

The United States needs to make sure that the Ukrainian people get the military help they need so they can defend themselves, Hawley said. 

“I don’t want to send our troops to Ukraine, I don’t want to send more American troops to Europe than are there already. I think that’s a mistake,” he said.

What we need to do is equip the Ukrainians to defend themselves and we need to open up American energy production. I can’t stress how important I think this is. Where does Russia make its money? Energy. What has Joe Biden given them? Energy. He’s allowed them to have energy dominance in the world—huge mistake. Now is the time to fix that.

If Biden isn’t careful, things could escalate into a world war, Hawley said. 

“This is why I am opposed to sending more troops to Europe than are already there,” he explained. “Listen, we have thousands of thousands of thousands of troops in Europe, we do not need more troops in Europe, we do not need American soldiers fighting in Europe. We need to be clear about that.”

“We need to be focusing our military might and our military posturing on China,” Hawley added. “China is our No. 1 security threat.”

The president’s mismanagement of the Afghanistan withdrawal absolutely emboldened figures like Putin, the senator said. 

“I don’t know how you can look at Afghanistan and look at the total incompetence that Joe Biden showed in that evacuation, and not think that it would be emboldening to people like Putin,” Hawley said. “I think what they saw was: This administration can’t plan, this administration can’t execute, this administration has no sense of strategic purpose, and frankly, I think you are seeing some of the consequences of that right now.”

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.