Warily, McCain Supports Russian Plan for Syria’s Chemical Weapons

McCain says he thinks Russia and Syria may just be stalling, but ‘you have to give it every chance’

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Republican Senator John McCain told TIME on Monday that the U.S. “can’t say no” to the Russian proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons and submit to United Nations inspections, though he believes that the move is “just a stalling tactic.”

“If there is an international [agreement], if you have the guidelines, the requirements, the reporting, the dates— all of that guided by a very detailed resolution to the UN Security Council, I think that you can’t say no to it even though I’m very dubious that this is a real proposal,” McCain said in a phone interview. “I think it’s just a stalling tactic but to reject it out of hand is obviously not something that you can do.”

McCain’s remarks come hours after Secretary of State John Kerry floated a solution where Syria gives up its chemical weapons stockpiles in order to avoid U.S. punitive strikes. Up until today Syria has refused to even acknowledge it has chemical weapons. Assad is accused of gassing anywhere from 400 to 1,400 Syrians in a chemical attack last month. “I tell you the main reason why Bashar Assad ain’t going to do it is because he needs them, he’s been using them,” McCain said. “This isn’t the first time that he’s used them. There have been at least 10 times documented that he used them before. But to reject [the Russian deal] out of hand obviously is not something that we can do.”

McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, has been the lead Republican pushing a Senate resolution giving President Obama the ability to use force in Syria against Assad’s regime. The resolution has been greeted with skepticism from factions of both parties and is facing an uphill battle, particularly in the House. “The lesson here I think is obviously they wouldn’t be agreeing to this proposal, as flimsy as it may be, if it hadn’t been for a threat of a strike,” McCain said. “So that lesson should not be lost on my colleagues who are against it.”

14 comments
AZWI
AZWI

Nobody really gives two hoots what John (warmonger) McCain says, thinks or does! McCain isn't a military or foreign affairs expert. He's only a bloodthirsty warmonger 

SpikeLee
SpikeLee

"There have been at least 10 times documented that he used them before."

 Jay Newton-Small made no comment on this quote because (a) TIME magazine has evidence that these attacks exist outside John McCain's mind, and is covering that up, or (b) TIME magazine has no interest in reporting?

iongeopol
iongeopol

leftcoastrocky :  Which side are you supporting?  From your gung ho attitude, we can assume that you are dead set against the Assad regime, and wanted the "rebels" to win?  Did you read Thunderbob's comments?  So you want to support a group of savages who ate their enemies' still-beating heart, told the Christians in the Christian town to convert or else - which even Assad and his father didn't do.  I had asked this question before in other postings on the Syrian situation but it seems no one who was making loud war cries bothered to answer this question.  And, what happens after Assad is gone?  There are already warnings from people who are familiar with the ME situation that the "rebels (or freedom fighters as we call them?" had been infiltrated by radical groups, including that infamous name Al something.  So, before rushing to war, give this more thought.  

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

This is just a stall, Mr. President.  Please proceed with your military strike plan.

Thunderbob
Thunderbob

Here we are getting ready to start a war in Syria and the Rebels we are supposed to be helping are doing things like this; captured a Christian village and tell  the people; either accept Islam or die! They have used gas on the people and actually bit into the heart of a dead soldier, they split open! Who are we supporting! It is evident to me that the President is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood! We have NO business in Syria!


JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi

Obama has to come down on the ground rather than dreaming for the War. He is not fit for any war, he has no guts to stand up to any dictator and the bottom line, he is timid by nature to pick up 4 am phone call. Thank God, he received the golden opportunity from Russia and Syria, and should not wait to grab it. Otherwise, he will lose the vote and the golden deal too, and will be impeached in due course. Hope, Obama will tell Israel to follow the path and destroy her WMD's too.

anon76
anon76

@iongeopol 

"The Rebels" are not a monolithic bloc.  The FSA is more-or-less a Sunni-led version of Assad's regime, which would spell trouble for the Alawites, but not so much for the Christians.  The Kurds are also Sunni led, and are somewhere in between rebels and government supporters, and are much more interested in carving out a Kurdish Nation (possibly with pieces of Iraq and Turkey thrown in) than in punishing Alawites or Christians.  Then you have al Nusra and a couple of other Islamist groups within the rebel movement- they're the ones responsible for converting Christians and eating soldier's hearts on YouTube.  If Assad is deposed these groups will turn against each other, with each one pursuing their own agenda (and each one receiving international support from different regional players), probably with a good helping of ethnic-religious cleansing going on.

In any case, being dead set against Assad does not equate to supporting al Nusra/al Qaida any more than being dead set against the Nazis during World War II equated to supporting communism.

Batman
Batman

@Thunderbob You say rebels as if they are one group, how do you know that these were all of them? How do you know it wasn't al-Qaeda?

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

@JohnDahodi actually it is the isolationist Neville Chamberlain (Rand Paul) wing of the GOP which has "no guts to stand up to any dictator."

RobertMiller1
RobertMiller1

@Leftcoastrocky @JohnDahodi 

America is a Bully 237 year history and all but 24 years of it we have been at war, why for what to be slaves to this evil system, there is no freedom left in america, we are slaves to the government and banking system think about this 70 percent of every thing you do in your life benefits them NOT YOU that is slavery