Sen. John McCain blasted President Obama's international leadership during the weekend, saying "we cannot change course soon enough."
While addressing a security conference in Munich on Sunday, the Arizona senator who was beaten by Obama in the 2008 presidential election, did not refer to the president directly. But in a speech about the West's failure to deal appropriately either with Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Middle East turmoil, McCain clearly denounced the direction coming from Washington.
One day earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described "a new Cold War" between Russia and the West.
In the strongest section of his speech, McCain posed searching questions of world leaders, and by implication condemned Obama's failure to hold together the western alliances that brought order and security.
"Don't we see what is happening," McCain asked, "Do we care? What would our predecessors think if they were here today? Would they think that we are succeeding? Do we? The world order that we built, our dearest inheritance that we shored up every year here in Munich, is coming apart."
"It isn't inevitable that this happen. It isn't occurring because we lack power or influence or options to employ. No, this comes down ultimately to our judgment and resolve."
McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, blasted Russia for deceptive policies in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
He also faulted the actions of the Iranian regime in the wake of the nuclear deal western states cut with the former rogue state.
But the underlying critique was that Obama's foreign policy is naive and weak.
He faulted the planned ceasefire that Secretary of State John Kerry has helped negotiate in Syria, and said Putin is exploiting the talks.
"Mr. Putin is not interested in being our partner," McCain said with clear contempt in his voice for that belief.
"I want to be wrong, but I fear I am not," he said.
Russia supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Obama has called for Assad to step aside. Since September, Russia has bombed Syrian rebels, helping Assad's forces gain momentum in the country's bloody civil war.
Putin "wants to re-establish Russia as a major power in the Middle East. He wants to use Syria as a live-fire exercise for Russia's modernizing military," McCain said, charging that Putin hopes to win a permanent military outpost there.
"He wants to exacerbate the refugee crisis and use it as a weapon to divide the Transatlantic alliance and undermine the European project," McCain charges.
The senator charged Russian pilots with deliberately targeting Syrian civilians. The ceasefire, will force "opposition groups to stop fighting," but will allow "Russia to continue bombing terrorists which it insists is everyone, even civilians," McCain said.
"Putin's appetite is growing with the eating," McCain said.
McCain remarks came after Obama and Putin spoke by phone about Syria on Saturday.
Obama made the call to "stress the importance of rapidly implementing humanitarian access to besieged areas of Syria and initiating a nationwide cessation of hostilities," the White House said in a statement. "In particular, President Obama emphasized the importance now of Russia playing a constructive role by ceasing its air campaign against moderate opposition forces in Syria."
Obama also urged Russian and Russian-separatist forces in Ukraine to fulfill terms of a cease fire agreement, according to the statement.
McCain also used his speech Sunday to renew his criticism of the nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement has emboldened Iran to seek to expand its influence while freeing up previously frozen Iranian funds that will fund Iran's military ambitions, McCain said.
McCain said the agreements with Syria and Iran will convince allies that the United States is "untrustworthy and feckless."
"This comes down ultimately to our judgement and our resolve," McCain said.