Senator John McCain’s floor statement on Syria today rightly focused on the Obama administration’s bizarre conviction that the Russians have the ability and perhaps even the desire to get Bashar al-Assad to step down.
How, McCain asked his senate colleagues, is that “policy working out?”
“Well, last week, a human rights organization disclosed that on May 26, a Russian ship delivered the latest Russian supply of heavy weapons to the Assad regime in the port of Tartus. Last Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the Houla massacre – and blamed it on the opposition. President Putin, after blowing off a trip to Washington in favor of a visit to Europe, suggested that foreign powers were also to blame for the Houla massacre. He went on to reject further sanctions on the Assad regime and to deny that Russia is shipping any relevant weapons to Assad.
“Not to be outdone, the Russian Foreign Minister, also last week, described the situation in Syria this way: ‘It takes two to dance – although this seems less like a tango and more like a disco, where several dozens are taking part at once.’
“You might think this alone would be enough to disabuse the Administration of its insistence, against all empirical evidence, that Russia is the key to ending the violence in Syria. You might think so, but you would be wrong. Asked last week whether he could envision some kind of military intervention in Syria without a U.N. Security Council resolution, which is subject to a Russian and Chinese veto, the Secretary of Defense said no, he cannot envision it. Similarly, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, rejected the idea of providing weapons to the Syrian people to help them defend themselves, saying that would lead to, quote, ‘chaos and carnage.’ The White House, he said, prefers not to militarize the conflict.
“It is difficult even to muster a response to statements and actions such as these. U.S. policy in Syria now seems to be subject to the approval of Russian leaders who are arming Assad’s forces and who believe that the slaughter of more than 10,000 people in Syria can be compared to a disco party. Meanwhile, the Administration refuses even to provide weapons to Syrians who are struggling and dying in an unfair fight – all for fear of, quote, ‘militarizing the conflict.’ If only the Russians, and the Iranians, and Al-Qaeda shared that lofty sentiment.”
McCain closes with a question for the White House: “How many more have to die? How many more people have to die in Syria before the United States will assume its responsibility of leadership?"