If we did it in Libya, we should do it in Syria. So says Sen. John McCain, anyway, who put out the call Monday for the U.S. to lead a war effort to stop the slaughter of civilians in Syria by taking to the skies above the imploding Middle Eastern nation. This statement represents a marked shift in strategy for the veteran senator—and it probably won’t fly. —KA
AP via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower,” McCain concluded. “The United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces.”
McCain’s proposal will likely divide American lawmakers, many of whom opposed a similar operation in Libya last year. Even if it were championed by the Obama administration and its NATO allies, the plan would divide other countries hostile to the Assad regime but unwilling to support another Western military intervention in the Muslim world. And it would be anathema to Russia, which sees Syria as its primary ally in the Middle East.
Unlike the international Libya campaign that ousted Moammar Gadhafi in Libya last year, military action against Syria would not have the backing of the U.N. Security Council and would be difficult to justify under international law. In many ways, it would also be a rejection of Obama’s doctrine stressing international collaboration on applying military force.