Tags: Syria | john mccain | trump | syria | airstrikes

McCain: Trump's Syrian Airstrikes Sent Important Message to World

("Today")

By    |   Friday, 07 Apr 2017 10:33 AM

President Donald Trump, by ordering airstrikes against a Syrian airfield, reacted to events that were "so horrific that it required American reaction," Sen. John McCain said Friday.

"I believe that not only was the act itself important, but the signal that it sent to the world from President Trump was as important," the Arizona senator told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." 

McCain said he would not expect more airstrikes on Friday, but he does hope that the action reinvigorates the United States' support for the Free Syrian Army's efforts and for the establishment of a no-fly zone.

"It is the beginning of a departure from the failed policies of the last eight years, and you're not going to repair that overnight," McCain said. "The other point I would like to make is that the president showed me that he has interest in what I believe is the strongest national security team assembled.

"I was not sure, frankly, whether he listened to them or listened to others. I think it is very clear that he values their advice and counsel,and this action is a result of the collective wisdom of some of the wisest people I have known."

McCain told NBC's "Today" show that he does not think the airstrikes are a "one-off" military action, however, because Russian President Vladimir Putin "believes that we are weak."

He also believes there is "too much euphoria" over the action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as further actions are necessary to stress to Putin that the United States is serious when it comes to Syria.

That could include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meeting with Putin and telling him it is not acceptable to support a regime that uses chemical weapons," said McCain. "And it has to be a strong message because Vladimir Putin believes that we are weak."

There is still much more to do, McCain said, but the fact that Trump reacted quickly, rather than through the "usual Washington consultations," was also important.

There is still the problem with the Islamic State to deal with, as well as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "committing war crimes, and these are war crimes," said McCain. "It is unacceptable."

The airstrikes also send a message to Russia that the United States will not stand by while it supports Assad, "who is committing gross war crimes with the use of chemical weapons. It is complex, difficult, and there is a long way to go. Real quick, it's a long way to go, but this beginning had to happen."

Taking down Assad means eliminating one of the "worst war criminals" in recent history, but then will come the hard work to replace him.

"We walked away from Libya, and that had disastrous consequences," said McCain. "We learned that lesson. Don't walk away . . . it is a hard slog and very unglamorous but you have to plan for that."

But allowing Assad to remain in power, especially after he used chemical weapons against civilians, is an "unacceptable situation," McCain said. "This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end."

The attack also sends an important message to Putin, who is an "old KGB colonel" who only "understands force."

"He is hell-bent on expanding the Russian empire," said McCain. "When he is faced with reality, we are a stronger nation."

McCain, also appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, said that it's obvious that Trump, by taking the action, respects his national security team.

Further, he said, when former President Barack Obama drew his "red line" but didn't react when it was crossed, and "we all know what the results were. Now the president basically has reversed that action and restored credibility. Coincidences are nice, I'm glad he's talking to the Chinese president at the same time."

Overall, however, the United States' most immediate crisis is not in the Middle East, but with North Korea and its dictator, Kim Jong-un, said McCain, once again calling the dictator a "crazy fat kid," words that in the past led North Korea to denounce him as launching a "declaration of war."

"He's not rational, from everything I've read about them," said McCain. "The worst kind of adversary is a nonrational person with nuclear weapons."

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President Donald Trump, by ordering airstrikes against a Syrian airfield, reacted to events that were "so horrific that it required American reaction," Sen. John McCain said Friday.
john mccain, trump, syria, airstrikes
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2017-33-07
Friday, 07 Apr 2017 10:33 AM
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