Sen. John McCain on Monday called out President Barack Obama’s refusal to intervene more forcefully in Syria’s ongoing civil war, labeling his policies “feckless,” “disgraceful” and “shameful.”
“Because of our feckless foreign policy, we now have the danger of chemical weapons being transported to Hezbollah,” the Arizona Republican said on Fox News. “[Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] has threatened to use those chemical weapons. The situation has worsened.”
On Monday, Syria acknowledged for the first time it possessed biological and chemical weapons. But the country’s foreign ministry said it would use them only in response to “external aggression,” not against the rebels. The Associated Press reported nerve agents and mustard gas were believed to be in Syria’s arsenal.
McCain, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. shouldn’t be deterred by the weapons.
“I think it is a sign of desperation,” he said. “I don’t think there is any doubt Bashar al-Assad will fall.”
The New York Times reported Sunday the Obama administration has given up on finding a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis, and is now working with Israel and Turkey to plan for the aftermath of Assad’s fall.
McCain has been an unrelenting critic of the administration’s policies in Syria and has called for the creation of a no-fly zone along the Syrian-Turkish border and said the U.S. should supply weapons to rebels fighting Assad’s dictatorship. More than 19,000 Syrians have died in the 16-month crisis, which began as part of the Arab Spring.
“The president does not believe in American exceptionalism and doesn’t want America to lead,” McCain said.