Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2012

McCain seeks airstrikes on Syria; U.S. presses Putin

March 6, 2012


WASHINGTON — Frustrated by a diplomatic logjam and a bloody Syrian offensive, Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday urged the United States to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s regime to force him out of power — a call for dramatic military intervention that wasn’t supported by the Obama administration or its European or Arab partners.

McCain’s statement on the Senate floor came as the U.S. and European governments pleaded for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to rethink his anti-interventionist stance on Syria, in what appeared to be an increasingly desperate effort for consensus among world powers to stop a crackdown that has killed more than 7,500 people. Hundreds fled to neighboring Lebanon on Monday fearing they’d be massacred in their homes.

But the trans-Atlantic calls for Russia to abandon its opposition to strong U.N. action were delivered at a curious time: a day after Putin showed his strength by resoundingly winning re-election as president, a position he held from 2000 to 2008. Even the modest aim of gaining Russian support for a humanitarian strategy in Syria faced renewed resistance Monday — showing just how limited the diplomatic options were despite the ongoing violence.

McCain’s strategy would be far more direct, though it’s unclear how popular it would be. His statement was as much a critique of President Barack Obama as a rallying call for an international military campaign, accusing the president of being too soft on Assad.

McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008 and his party’s senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should change policy by arming Syria’s rebels and spearheading a military effort to support them.

“The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower,” McCain concluded. “The United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces.”

McCain’s proposal will likely divide American lawmakers, many of whom opposed a similar operation in Libya last year. Even if it were championed by the Obama administration and its NATO allies, the plan would divide other countries hostile to the Assad regime but unwilling to support another Western military intervention in the Muslim world. And it would be anathema to Russia, which sees Syria as its primary ally in the Middle East.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

The U.S. should not get involved in the problems in Syria unless it is absolutely necessary, because those are problems that we have no way of solving by using the methods of war. I believe that it is an established fact that there are many problems in the world today that the U.S. will never be able to solve by using military weapons. By definition, anything we do in the Middle East is wrong by many people's standards, and that is demonstrated by our name in many parts of the world: The Great Satan.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 3 months ago

Ron.Good points. There is nothing to look forward to but a disaster if we attack either Syria or Iran, not to mention the fact that a unilateral attack by the US would be illegal, absent authorization from the UN.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Sure is a good thing that McCain isn't president right now.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Sure is a good thing Assad doesn't have nuclear weapons right now.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

I doubt that as well. Just as Hussein sent scud missiles into a non-combantant Israel during the first gulf war as a distraction, Assad might well do the same with a nuclear weapon. Israel was encouraged to ignore Hussein's ploy, I doubt they could be persuaded to ignore a nuclear attack.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

"Just as Hussein sent scud missiles into a non-combantant Israel"

Saddam Hussein was under full-out attack at the time-- an attack promoted, planned and carried out by neocons in both Israel and the US. To claim that Israel was a "non-combatant," merely sweeps Israel's complicity in the war in Iraq under the rug.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

You're just plain wrong. That Israel and the U.S. might have common interests in some areas has nothing to do with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent war to expel Iraq. Clearly the coalition was set up in such a way as to include Arab countries in the region while specifically not inviting Israel. Had that not been the plan, the U.S. alone could have easily expelled Iraq. The U.S. and Israel could have cooperated in an expulsion. But that was not the plan. You're the one who always complains that Israel exerts a special "right". With scud missiles landing in their country, didn't Israel have the "right" to respond with whatever force is necessary? Yet they didn't exert their "right". I guess you believe that "right" extends one way, and not the other. A bit of a double standard. For you to say Israel was complicit is either a misinterpretation of events or a lie.

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