A suicide bomber on the loose. Western governments warned of an imminent terrorist attack. Nearby U.S. warships on stand-by.
That was the grim security scenario laid out for next month's Sochi Winter Olympics by former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on his Fox News talk show on January 26.
But martial-arts expert Steven Seagal knows better, apparently.
Speaking as Huckabee's guest on the conservative U.S. TV news station, the action-movie hero assessed the danger of an attack in Sochi as "extremely remote," citing his acquaintances in the Russian security forces.
Although he acknowledged that absolute security is impossible ("You could walk out to go buy a bag of sugar and get hit by a car" was how he put it), Seagal used the Fox News appearance to lavish praise on Russia's President Vladimir Putin and its Federal Security Service (FSB).
Seagal also urged U.S. President Barack Obama to pursue closer relations with Russia.
"They are a very powerful country with spectacular natural resources and a wonderful leadership," he said. "And, I believe that they are our friends and I think one of the only ways we are going to survive without getting swallowed by other superpowers or adversely affected is to be best friends with Russia. I think they should be our great allies."
On Sochi, Seagal reasoned that the colossal security presence in the region would prevail during the games.
"The chances of any of these suicide bombers actually being able to pull it off are extremely remote by virtue of the fact that Sochi is on such high alert," he said. "They've got amazing assets in place with great liaison over the world. President Putin is doing the very, very best he can. And, like I said, the FSB and [their elite counterterrorism taskforce] Alfa Spetsnaz are really some of the best on Earth, so it's going to be pretty tough for anybody to pull it off."
WATCH: Steven Seagal discusses Sochi security measures.
Huckabee introduced Seagal as "the unofficial ambassador who’s developed a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, something our president has not been able to do."
The comment appeared to be a jibe aimed at the cool relationship between Putin and Obama, who is one of several Western leaders skipping the Olympic opening ceremonies.
Seagal does indeed enjoy good relations with Russia. He has been photographed with Putin, and he was asked in March 2012 by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to lobby in the United States for opening up the U.S. market to Russian rifles.
The actor was also scheduled to lobby for Kalashnikov rifle sales
at an arms exposition in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Seagal was less voluble, however, when asked about U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who has been given temporary asylum in Russia.
Without knowing the actual content of the material Snowden leaked, Seagal said, "it's not easy for me to comment [on the matter]."
-- Tom Balmforth