Carson to Putin: ‘We are a peaceful nation. But we are not a marshmallow.’

Katie Couric
Global Anchor

By Sarah B. Boxer

In an exclusive interview Friday, Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric asked Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson how he would handle dealings with Russia and he talked about the threat of the Islamic State prior to the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

Ahead of the G-20 summit in Turkey, which President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are attending this week, Couric asked Carson what he would say to Putin if given the opportunity.

“I would tell him that we are a peaceful nation. But we are not a marshmallow,” said Carson. “And we will not allow the extension of his influence in places where we have an interest.”  

The Republican presidential candidate said he would enforce that by having “one or two” armored brigades throughout the Baltic region, providing offensive arms to Ukraine and upgrading the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Earlier in the week, Carson said he would implement a no-fly zone in Syria and said that if Russia violated it, he would be willing to shoot down their planes.  

“Is Syria worth potentially going to war with Russia?” asked Couric.

Carson stood by his remarks. “We have to have a plan, we have to be willing to enforce that plan, and if we continue to back down, we will become a paper tiger.”

He also doubled down on comments he made in the last Republican presidential debate about the necessity to make the Islamic State look like “losers” in Iraq and Syria. In order to do this, Carson said, “We’re going to have to put boots on the ground. We’re going to have to have real leadership there.”