U.S. Sen. John McCain (Pete Marovich / Getty Images / AFP)
Who needs diplomacy, or international law? Not former presidential candidate (R-AZ) John McCain, who became the first senator to publicly call for a US-led military strike on Syria in order to halt the nearly year-long conflict there.
Taking the Senate floor, McCain said there will be no UN mandate for the air strikes he deems the only way to stop the violence – but that a mandate isn’t necessary. All the Arizona senator needs, apparently, is a somewhat dubious – and violent – precedent. “NATO took military action to save Kosovo in 1999 without formal U.N. authorization. There is no reason why the Arab League, or NATO, or a leading coalition within the Friends of Syria contact group, or all of them speaking in unison, could not provide a similar international mandate for military measures to save Syria today”, he said.
He spoke at length about the Bashar Assad government, and said that the only realistic way to preserve
“innocent lives … is with foreign airpower.”
The Arizona senator pointed out that President Barack Obama characterized the prevention of mass atrocities as “a core national security interest” when speaking about Libya, and has committed the credibility of the United States to his repeated calls for Assad to step down.
“If Assad manages to cling to power – or even if he manages to sustain his slaughter for months to come, with all of the human and geopolitical costs that entails – it would be a strategic and moral defeat for the United States. We cannot, we must not, allow this to happen,” McCain said.
“Some kind of intervention will happen, with us or without us,” he said. “The real question for U.S. policy is whether we will participate in this next phase of the conflict in Syria, and thereby increase our ability to shape an outcome that is beneficial to the Syrian people, and to us.”