One day after calling the lack of U.S. military involvement in Syria shameful, Senator John McCain repeated his call to action in a speech at AEI by appealing to the memory of President Bill Clinton’s decision to intervene in Bosnia.
McCain called the situation in Syria “indistinguishable from the situation in Bosnia in the 1990s, with one exception—President Clinton summoned the courage to intervene in Bosnia.”
The senator decried President Obama’s focus on diplomacy, saying, “The President does not seem to realize what Clinton realized in Bosnia—that a diplomatic resolution is not possible until the military situation on the ground changes.”
McCain emphasized that he was advocating “non-lethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition.
McCain acknowledged that “Americans are very world-weary” after the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he pointed to the U.S. intervention in Libya as an example of a limited and successful engagement abroad.
While McCain was critical of President Obama’s lack of leadership on Syria, McCain said, “I think the administration is moving a little bit in the right direction.
When asked by a representative of the Swedish Youth Green Party whether he felt that diplomatic options had truly been exhausted, McCain retorted, “Do you have any ideas how to be more active diplomatically? If you do I’d love to hear them.”
Obama is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin today to discuss Syria. Despite these efforts, McCain said Putin is “unlikely to ever support regime change in Syria,” and the U.S. should “refuse to let China and Russia dictate our actions.”