ATLANTA – Georgia’s freshman senator called Monday for President Barack Obama to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while at the same time Obama should lead a coalition of European countries to oust Putin’s troops from Crimea.

Sen. David Perdue, a Republican who entered office 11 months ago, also warned that the United States is cutting its military at a critical time.

“I’m sorry. We’re heading down the wrong road in that regard. I’m very concerned. The problem is, to have a strong foreign policy, you have to have a strong military,” he said.

Addressing the Atlanta Press Club, Perdue laid the blame at Obama’s feet for multiple foreign threats against the United States. That includes the Islamic State terrorists that he said sprang up in the leadership vacuum after U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq prematurely.

The Syrian refugees are fleeing the Islamic State and Assad, said the senator who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But he would not allow any to enter this country until the administration devises better screening, something he admits is difficult without American personnel in Syria to do the background checks.

“Before we take any more Syrian refugees, we need to assure the American people that we can guarantee that those bad guys are not going to come in with the people we need to help,” Perdue said.

Nuclear attack is another threat he warned about. North Korea is developing missiles that can deliver their nuclear bombs to the U.S. West Coast. At the same time, Iran is developing a bomb that could wind up in the control of the Islamic State. Neither fears the massive retaliation that has historically been a deterrent for other nuclear nations, he said.

“We’re living in the most dangerous time in my lifetime, and that’s saying something because I’m a product of the Cold War,” he said.

Perdue also mentioned the national debt, a theme familiar from his campaign last year. The costs of Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act are draining U.S. resources needed for national defense while also weakening the country’s economic future, he said.

But he wanted to leave on a positive note, so he said he’s also optimistic the country will meet its challenges.

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