Arizona’s Republican U.S. Senator John McCain has just issued his first public statement since announcing he has brain cancer, and it shows a Senator as determined as ever to stick up against the Trump Administration’s belligerence.
McCain has, in the past, been so fiercely in opposition to the Trump Administration that when he recently underwent surgery, although they claimed other reasons for their statements, some Republicans said that they wish he would “just f*cking die already.”
McCain slammed the Trump Administration in a Thursday statement for reportedly ending a program to support Syrian rebels. He painted the move as yet another example of capitulation to Russia, since Russia supports the Syrian regime and so withdrawing support for those fighting against it gives the Russians a leg up. Moscow has explicitly expressed their desire to have the CIA program to covertly train Syrian rebels ended, and the president has now granted their wish.
The Washington Post reports that “[o]fficials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia,” but there’s at least one key problem. Quite simply, Russia and the United States do not traditionally share definitions of terrorism. In the eyes of the Russians and the Syrian regime they support, any interest which aligns itself against the government is terrorist.
Is that really the policy that Trump wants to align himself with? Well, the answer is, evidently, yes.
Of all of this, McCain said, in part:
‘[T]he administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted. The administration has yet to articulate its vision for Syria beyond the defeat of ISIL, let alone a comprehensive approach to the Middle East.’
The Senator went on to reference the Trump Administration’s now broken promise to have a plan for the Middle East promptly created saying:
‘Six months into this administration, there is still no new strategy for victory in Afghanistan either. It is now mid-July, when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to Congress, and we are still waiting.’
In addition to all of this, McCain also called for the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to be removed from power, a goal that those in power elsewhere in the government do not necessarily share.
‘A key pillar of American strategy must be the removal of Assad from power as part of an end to the brutal conflict in Syria, which has fueled ISIL’s growth through its cruelty, extended malign Iranian influence, and undermined broader regional stability.’
Other officials have also expressed their discontent with the president’s decision to end the CIA’s program of covertly training Syrian rebels, although not on the record.
One anonymous current U.S. official told the Washington Post:
‘This is a momentous decision. Putin won in Syria.’
We are still supporting anti-ISIS fighters in Syria; we just aren’t supporting anti-Assad fighters any longer.
The United States took its first direct military action against the Syrian regime earlier this year after the Syrian government was alleged to have carried out a chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians.
Featured Image via Haroon Sabawoon/ Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images