Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered a sobering view of the present situation across the Middle East along with a harsh critique of the Administration’s foreign policy. The remarks were offered during this morning’s Foreign Policy Roundtable at AIPAC’s annual policy conference in Washington, DC.
Senator McCain expressed grave concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the response thus far from the United States. McCain stated, “it’s very clear they [the Iranians] are on a path to having a nuclear weapon.” And he did not shy away from condemning the most recent overtures to Iran by the Administration. According to McCain, “This latest offer on the part of the United States and its allies was doomed to failure. In Tehran, it’s viewed as weakness because of additional concessions.”
The Senator expressed concern over other aspects of the Administration’s messaging on Israel. McCain stressed, “They [the Iranians] must understand that there is no space between the United States and Israel…They believe in Tehran right now that there is space between the United States and Israel…We need members of the National Security team who are pro-Israel, not anti-Israel.”
McCain’s foreign policy critique continued regarding Syria. McCain exclaimed that, “Syria is a national and international shame that we’ve allowed Basher Assad to massacre 80,000 people, and we’ve done nothing about it.” McCain warned that, “jihadists are flowing into Syria in large numbers…they are the bravest fighters. Arms and equipment are going to the wrong [factions].” The senator stated, “It’s time the United States establish no fly zones and provide arms and equipment to the right factions.”
Many foreign policy hawks were dismayed by McCain’s vote for cloture on the Chuck Hagel nomination. However, Senator McCain’s strong admonishment on policy relating to Iran, Israel, and Syria suggests that he will remain a strong advocate of our national security interests and of Israel throughout President Obama’s second term.