issues2000

Topics in the News: Syria


Donald Trump on Homeland Security : Oct 9, 2016
Replace a Muslim ban with an extreme vetting of Muslims

Q: Pence said this week that the Muslim ban is no longer your position. Is that correct? Was it a mistake to have a religious test?

A: The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into an extreme vetting from certain areas of the world. We are going to areas like Syria where they're coming in by the tens of thousands because of Obama, and Clinton wants to allow a 550% increase. People are coming into our country & we have no idea who they are, where they are from. This is going to be the greatest Trojan Horse of all time. I believe in building safe zones. I believe in having other people pay for them, as an example, the Gulf states, who are not carrying their weight, but they have nothing but money, and take care of people. I don't want to have, with all the problems this country has and you see going on, hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about them. We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Second 2016 Presidential Debate at WUSTL in St. Louis MO

Mike Pence on War & Peace : Oct 9, 2016
FactCheck: Pence says pressure Assad; Trump focuses on ISIS

Q: What would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the US should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

TRUMP: He and I haven't spoken, and I disagree.

Q: You disagree with your running mate?

TRUMP: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS We have people that want to fight both at the same time.

[OnTheIssues note: Russia & the Assad regime are bombing both ISIS & the Syrian rebels; the US is bombing ISIS but supports the Syrian rebels].

TRUMP: But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it's Iran, who [Hillary] made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation. I believe we have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: OnTheissues FactCheck on Second 2016 Presidential Debate

Tim Kaine on Foreign Policy : Oct 4, 2016
Create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria, with UN aid

Q: 250,000 people-100,000 of them children--are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to prevent mass casualties on this scale?

PENCE: What America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the US should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

KAINE: Hillary and I also agree that the establishment of humanitarian zones in northern Syria with the provision of international human aid, consistent with the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed in February 2014, would be a very, very good idea.

Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Tim Kaine on Foreign Policy : Oct 4, 2016
Create a humanitarian zone in northern Syria, with UN aid

Q: 250,000 people-100,000 of them children--are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to prevent mass casualties on this scale?

PENCE: What America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the US should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.

KAINE: Hillary and I also agree that the establishment of humanitarian zones in northern Syria with the provision of international human aid, consistent with the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed in February 2014, would be a very, very good idea.

Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Error processing SSI file

Mike Pence on Homeland Security : Oct 4, 2016
Rebuild military and project American strength in the world

Hillary Clinton's top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea. And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the US [in Syria]. Look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.

I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians & the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We've got to work with Congress, and Donald Trump will, to rebuild our military & project American strength in the world. We've just got to have American strength on the world stage. When Donald Trump becomes president, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they're dealing with a strong American president.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Mike Pence on Homeland Security : Oct 4, 2016
Rebuild military and project American strength in the world

Hillary Clinton's top priority when she became secretary of state was the Russian reset. After the Russian reset, the Russians invaded Ukraine and took over Crimea. And the small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the US [in Syria]. Look, we have got to begin to lean into this with strong, broad-shouldered American leadership.

I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. It begins by rebuilding our military. And the Russians & the Chinese have been making enormous investments in the military. We have the smallest Navy since 1916. We have the lowest number of troops since the end of the Second World War. We've got to work with Congress, and Donald Trump will, to rebuild our military & project American strength in the world. We've just got to have American strength on the world stage. When Donald Trump becomes president, the Russians and other countries in the world will know they're dealing with a strong American president.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Mike Pence on War & Peace : Oct 4, 2016
Protect civilians in Aleppo by enforcing Safe Zones

Q: 250,000 people-100,000 of them children--are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to prevent mass casualties on this scale?

PENCE: The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens in Aleppo. What America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the US should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo. There's a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well [to pressure Russia, such as] to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Mike Pence on War & Peace : Oct 4, 2016
Protect civilians in Aleppo by enforcing Safe Zones

Q: 250,000 people-100,000 of them children--are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to prevent mass casualties on this scale?

PENCE: The United States of America needs to begin to exercise strong leadership to protect the vulnerable citizens in Aleppo. What America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the US should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo. There's a broad range of other things that we ought to do, as well [to pressure Russia, such as] to deploy a missile defense shield to the Czech Republic and Poland.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University

Jill Stein on War & Peace : Sep 27, 2016
Nuclear disarmament with Russia, not threats over Syria

Hillary Clinton has said she would like to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, which basically means we are going to war with Russia, because imposing a no-fly zone [means] you shoot down people that are in that airspace. And remember, we have 2,000 nuclear weapons now, between us and the Russians, on hair-trigger alert. So, this is certainly a very dangerous territory, where Hillary Clinton has continued to beat the drums of war, leading us in a very dangerous direction.

Instead of spending a trillion dollars creating a new generation of nuclear weapons and modes of delivery, it's time to instead change direction here and move as quickly as humanly possible towards nuclear disarmament. And instead of blaming the Russians, we need to acknowledge it was actually the Russians who tried to engage us in a nuclear disarmament process, again, several decades ago. We need to revive that proposal, take them up on it and move to nuclear disarmament as quickly as we possibly can.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: DemocracyNow interview on First 2016 Presidential Debate

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Sep 26, 2016
Take out current ISIS leaders like we took out bin Laden

We need to do much more with our tech companies to prevent ISIS and their operatives from being able to use the Internet to radicalize, even direct people in our country & Europe & elsewhere. We also have to intensify our air strikes against ISIS and support our Arab & Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Raqqa. We're making progress. Our military is assisting in Iraq. We're hoping that within the year we'll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then really squeeze them in Syria. They've had foreign fighters coming to volunteer for them, foreign money, foreign weapons, so we have to make this the top priority. I would also do everything possible to take out their leadership. I was involved in a number of efforts to take out Al Qaida leadership when I was secretary of state, including, of course, taking out bin Laden. We need to go after Baghdadi, as well, make that one of our organizing principles. We've got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: First 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University

Ajamu Baraka on War & Peace : Jul 6, 2016
CIA training & equipment created ISIS in Syria & Iraq

With the CIA fully involved in training and equipping what was referred to as the "rebel" forces, the Administration didn't appear to be too concerned when ISIS broke off from al-Qaeda and began to establish its own independent economic base once it captured the oil fields in Syria. It all seemed like part of the plan, especially when it became clear that NATO member Turkey was being used to get the Syrian oil to world markets.

But this strategy turned into disaster when ISIS double-crossed their benefactors by breaking the rules and attacking the "good Kurds" in Iraq. The strategy appeared to be more concerned with holding territory in Iraq and Syria than carrying out their assignment to overthrow the Assad government and completing the dismemberment of the Syrian state--the strategic objective of U.S. and Israeli policy to counter the regional power of the Iranians. This "blowback" theory is controversial.

Click for Ajamu Baraka on other issues.   Source: 2016 vice-presidential campaign website, AjamuBaraka.com

Bill Weld on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2016
Don't intervene abroad when people are mean to each other

I was a little surprised this week to see 51 State Department diplomats say we want to bomb to force regime change in Syria. "Regime change?" I say to myself, "that sounds familiar." It takes a lot of boots on the ground to effectuate regime change, if you want to make sure it sticks. [So we are] a pair of skeptics when people say we should intervene on the ground because these people are being mean to each other and we can't stand that. That's not going to sell as a matter of first impressions.
Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: CNN Libertarian Town Hall: joint interview of Johnson & Weld

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2016
No U.S. military intervention in Syria

Q: Do you believe that there should be US military intervention in Syria, if without US help, they can get it done?

JOHNSON: No. There should not have been military intervention in Syria. And it has had the unintended consequence of actually growing ISIS. The Pentagon itself says that we could reduce bases in the US by 20%. But you don't have Congress going along with that, because that's bases in home states, and that's what Congress does, is protect their own interests.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: CNN Libertarian Town Hall: joint interview of Johnson & Weld

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Mar 3, 2016
I've warned about ISIS in Libya for 2 years; US troops there

Q: You proposed sending a larger number of American ground troops to help defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq...

RUBIO: That's correct, and Libya.

Q: Because military commanders say the biggest ISIS threat to Europe now is coming from Libya, not Syria?

RUBIO: Correct.

Q: So if you're for putting more U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria, are you also ready to send U.S. ground troops on the ground in Libya?

RUBIO: Well, what I've argued from the very beginning is that in order to defeat ISIS, you must deny them operating spaces. Today that operating space has largely been based in Iraq and Syria, but I've been warning about the Libyan presence for the better part of two years. So they need to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. They can only be defeated if they are driven out and the territory is held by Sunni Arabs. But it will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2016 Fox News GOP debate in Detroit Michigan

Error processing SSI file

Jill Stein on Foreign Policy : Feb 29, 2016
U.S. meddling in Mideast exacerbates terrorism

"After 9/11 the US told the Saudis to clean up their act, stop sanctioning terror, etc.," said Stein, "But as recently as 2009, Hillary Clinton wrote in a State Department memo that they were still the overwhelming funders of international terrorism. It's crazy to spend $6 trillion on fighting terrorism when we turn blind eye to the Saudis."

It's not only the Saudis, though. Stein argued that US involvement in sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, like the ongoing Syrian civil war, only exacerbate tensions in an already volatile region. "We're funding the 'good-guy terrorists' now, they might become 'bad-guy terrorists' later." Stein went on to draw a more complex picture of forces on the ground in the conflict: "They're hybrids of freedom fighters, resistance fighters. Then there are the religious extremists and the warlords. It's complicated."

One thing's for sure, said Stein: constant US meddling in the region is "putting a flamethrower to Middle East."

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: American Herald Tribune foreign policy interview

Jill Stein on Foreign Policy : Feb 29, 2016
Back to the drawing board on our relationship to the Mideast

Stein's opinion on foreign policy centered on the Middle East: "We need to go back to the drawing board on our relationship to the Middle East," Stein said, "Our foreign policy has had catastrophic consequences; it's based on economic and military domination rather than human rights and diplomacy."

Stein pointed to the Syrian conflict as an example of the failure of US diplomacy in the region. "It's no secret that the Saudis have been behind the terror groups tearing Syria apart," she explained, citing US patronage of the oil-rich kingdom as a driving force behind instability in the war-torn country. "Saudi Arabia has been given blanket permission to instigate religious extremism to the tune of $100 billion in US weapons," she said, "Freely distributed to whichever terrorists they want to support." Stein believes that there needs to be a full weapons boycott in Syria and a freeze on the bank accounts of countries sponsoring terror, including Saudi Arabia.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: American Herald Tribune foreign policy interview

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2016
Russia too strong for Syria cease-fire to hold

Q: Do you support the ceasefire in Syria?

TRUMP: I don't because it not working and the countries aren't agreeing to it and the rebels aren't agreeing and Syria is not agreeing. It's a meaningless ceasefire. I would love it, but all parties have to be part of it.

CRUZ: We're hopeful that the violence will cease, but there's reason to be highly skeptical. Russia has enhanced its position because of Obama's weakness in the Middle East, weakness in Syria.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

John Kasich on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2016
Arm the Ukrainians and fight ISIS in Syria, Libya

Libya didn't go down because there was a people's revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and they have created a cesspool in Libya. We have ISIS in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong foreign policy, one of us is going to inherit a mess and we're going to have to work our way out of it, including the need to arm the Ukrainians.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Feb 25, 2016
Cease-fire in Syria only if all parties involved

Q: Do you support the ceasefire in Syria?

CRUZ: We're hopeful that the violence will cease, but there's reason to be highly skeptical. Russia has enhanced its position because of Obama's weakness in the Middle East, weakness in Syria.

TRUMP: I don't because it not working and the countries aren't agreeing to it and the rebels aren't agreeing and Syria is not agreeing. It's a meaningless ceasefire. I would love it, but all parties have to be part of it.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Feb 23, 2016
Post-Gadhafi Libya replaced dictator with democracy

Q: You are for a regime change in Syria. But as we have learned in Libya, getting rid of longtime dictators can lead to problems?.

CLINTON: Libya is a little different [than Syria]. Libya actually held elections. They elected moderates. They have tried to piece together a government against a lot of really serious challenges internally coming from the outside with terrorist groups and other bad actors. Let's remember what was going on at the time. This was at the height of the Arab spring. The people in Libya were expressing themselves, were demanding their freedom, and Gadhafi responded brutally. Now, they had an election, and it was a fair election, it met international standards. That was an amazing accomplishment for a nation that had been so deprived for so long. This doesn't happen overnight. And, yes, it's been a couple of years. I think it's worth European support, Arab support, American support to try to help the Libyan people realize the dream that they had when they went after Gadhafi.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 CNN Town Hall on eve of South Carolina primary

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Feb 13, 2016
Figure out who our allies are

Q: What three questions do you ask your national security experts?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? We are going to have to hit hard to knock out ISIS. We're going to have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Feb 13, 2016
Three main threats: Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Russia

Q: What three questions do you ask your national security experts?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? We are going to have to hit hard to knock out ISIS. We're going to have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia? But very important, who are we fighting with? Who are we fighting for? What are we doing?

RUBIO: There are three major threats. No. 1 is, what are we doing in the Asia-Pacific region, where North Korea and China pose threats to national security. No. 2 is, what are we doing in the Middle East with the combination of the Sunni-Shia conflict driven by the Shia arc that Iran is now trying to establish in the Middle East, also the growing threat of ISIS. The third is rebuilding NATO, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, where Vladimir Putin is threatening the territory of multiple countries.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Feb 13, 2016
I voted against the president's inadequate Syria strategy

In 2014, Barack Obama said he would not take military action against Assad unless it was authorized by the Senate. I saw the images of children who were gassed by their own leaders and we were angry. Something had to happen. Then I looked at Barack Obama's plan, and I concluded that his plan would allow Assad to stand up to the US, survive a strike and stay in power. I voted against Barack Obama's plan to use force.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy : Feb 13, 2016
Russia's Putin is not an ally of the US & everyone knows it

Q [to Gov. Kasich]: Russia is being credited with bombing U.S.-backed rebels on behalf of Assad in Syria. They've moved into eastern Ukraine. You've said you want to punch them in the nose. What are you going to do?

KASICH: First of all -- yes. We have to make it clear to Russia what we expect. We don't have to declare an enemy or threaten, but we need to make clear what we expect. Number one is we will arm the folks in Ukraine who are fighting for their freedom. Secondly, an attack on NATO is an attack on us.

TRUMP: We're going to have to learn who our allies are [against ISIS]. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

BUSH: The very basic fact is that Vladimir Putin is not going to be an ally of the United States. The whole world knows this. It's a simple basic fact.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Jeb Bush on Homeland Security : Feb 13, 2016
Reverse the sequester and rebuild the military

Q: What three questions do you ask your national security experts?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? We are going to have to hit hard to knock out ISIS. We're going to have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia? But very important, who are we fighting with? Who are we fighting for?

BUSH: This is the problem. Donald Trump brought up the fact that he would accommodate Russia. Russia is not taking out ISIS. It is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that Russia could be a positive partner in this. I would restore the military, the sequester needs to be reversed. I would destroy ISIS, and I would create a policy of containment as it relates to Iran's ambitions and make it make clear that we are not going to allow Iran to move towards a nuclear weapon Those three things would be the first and foremost things that we need to do.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Feb 13, 2016
Overwhelming air power against ISIS, & arm the Kurds

CRUZ: When it comes to ISIS, we've got to have a focused objective. We need overwhelming air power, we need to arm the Kurds. We have Kurds in Iraq and Syria. They are fighting ISIS right now. They are winning victories right now. The Obama administration refuses to arm the Kurds. We ought to be arming them and letting them fight.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

John Kasich on War & Peace : Feb 13, 2016
How to deal with Russia on Ukraine: Punch 'em in the nose

Q: Russia is being credited with bombing U.S.-backed rebels on behalf of Assad in Syria. They've moved into eastern Ukraine. You've said you want to punch them in the nose. What are you going to do?

KASICH: First of all -- yes. We have to make it clear to Russia what we expect. We don't have to declare an enemy or threaten, but we need to make clear what we expect. Number one is we will arm the folks in Ukraine who are fighting for their freedom. Secondly, an attack on NATO is an attack on us.

TRUMP: We're going to have to learn who our allies are [against ISIS]. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

BUSH: The very basic fact is that Vladimir Putin is not going to be an ally of the United States. The whole world knows this. It's a simple basic fact.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Feb 13, 2016
Policy of containment against ISIS just doesn't work

TRUMP: We're supporting troops [in Syria against ISIS] that we don't even know who they are.

BUSH: The lack of leadership in this country by Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, thinking that the policy of containment with ISIS works. It's a complete disaster. They're not attempting to take out ISIS. They're attacking the troops that we're supporting. We need to create a Sunni-led coalition on the ground with our special operators to destroy ISIS. You can't do that with Assad in power.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Feb 11, 2016
Do not negotiate with Iran about Syria

SANDERS: The agreement on a cease-fire is something that has to be implemented more quickly than the schedule the Russians agreed to. The Russians wanted time. Are they buying time to continue their bombardment on behalf of the Assad regime to further decimate what's left of the opposition, which would be a grave disservice to any kind of eventual cease-fire?

CLINTON: This is one of the areas I've disagreed with Senator Sanders on, who has called for Iranian troops trying to end civil war in Syria, which I think would be a grave mistake. Putting Iranian troops right on the border of the Golan right next to Israel would be a nonstarter for me. Trying to get Iran and Saudi Arabia to work together, as he has suggested in the past, is equally a nonstarter.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 PBS Democratic debate in Wisconsin

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Feb 4, 2016
Encourage Saudis and Iran to work together, despite distrust

CLINTON: A group of national security experts issued a concerning statement about Senator Sanders's views on foreign policy and national security, pointing out some of the comments he has made on these issues, such as inviting Iranian troops into Syria to try to resolve the conflict there; putting them right at the doorstep of Israel. Asking Saudi Arabia and Iran to work together, when they can't stand each other and are engaged in a proxy battle right at this moment. You are voting for a president and a commander in chief.

SANDERS: I concede that Secretary Clinton, who was secretary of State for four years, has more experience in foreign affairs. But experience is not the only point, judgment is. In terms of Iran and in terms of Saudi Arabia, of course they hate each other. That's no great secret. But John Kerry, who is I think doing a very good job, has tried to at least get these people in the room together because both of them are being threatened by ISIS.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Feb 4, 2016
4,000 U.S. trainers & special forces in Iraq & Syria

Q: Is President Obama right to escalate the number of U.S. troops fighting ISIS now?

A: We have to support Arab and Kurdish fighters. It is important to keep the Iraqi army on a path where they can take back territory. They're doing the fighting. We're doing the support and enabling. I am against American combat troops being in Syria and Iraq. I support special forces. I support trainers. I support the air campaign. I want to continue, and that's what the president is doing.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Jan 17, 2016
Work with Russia & Iran to get rid of Assad in Syria

Secy. CLINTON: Assad has waged one of the bloodiest, most terrible attacks on his own people--250,000-plus dead, millions fleeing. One criticism I've had of Sen. Sanders is his suggestion that Iranian troops be used to try to end the war in Syria.

SANDERS: I think we do have an honest disagreement: in the incredible quagmire of Syria, where it's hard to know who's fighting who and if you give arms to this guy, it may end up in ISIS' hand the next day. And we all know--the secretary is absolutely right--Assad is a butcher of his own people, a man using chemical weapons against his own people. But I think in terms of our priorities in the region, our first priority must be the destruction of ISIS. Our second priority must be getting rid of Assad, through some political settlement, working with Iran, working with Russia. But the immediate task is to bring all interests together who want to destroy ISIS, including Russia, including Iran, including our Muslim allies to make that the major priority.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 NBC Democratic debate

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Dec 19, 2015
If the US does not lead, there is a vacuum

Q: What's your proposal for what comes after Assad?

O'MALLEY: I believe that we need to focus on destroying ISIL. But we shouldn't be the ones declaring that Assad must go. Where did it ever say in the Constitution, that it's the job of the U.S. to determine when dictators have to go?

CLINTON: Assad has killed, by last count, about 250,000 Syrians. The reason we are in the mess we're in, that ISIS has the territory it has, is because of Assad. We now finally have a strategy and a commitment to go after ISIS. And we finally have a U.N. Security Council Resolution bringing the world together to go after a political transition in Syria. If the United States does not lead, there is not another leader. There is a vacuum. And we have to lead, if we're going to be successful.

SANDERS: Of course the United States must lead. But the US is not the policeman of the world. The US must not be involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Dec 19, 2015
Think about what happens AFTER we get rid of dictators

CLINTON: [In Syria, we should work with Russia to] turn their military attention away from going after the adversaries of Assad, & put the Assad future on the political & diplomatic track.

SANDERS: I have a difference of opinion with Secretary Clinton on this. I worry that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change without knowing what the unintended consequences might be. Yes, we could get rid of Saddam Hussein, but that destabilized the entire region. Yes, we could get rid of Gadhafi, a terrible dictator, but that created a vacuum for ISIS. Yes, we could get rid of Assad tomorrow, but that would create another political vacuum that would benefit ISIS. Getting rid of dictators is easy. But before you do that, you've got to think about what happens the day after. We need to put together broad coalitions to [avoid having a] political vacuum filled by terrorists. In Syria the primary focus now must be on destroying ISIS and [it's a] secondary issue to get rid of Assad.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Dec 19, 2015
Not policeman of the world; focus on ISIS first

Hillary CLINTON: The reason we are in the mess we're in, that ISIS has the territory it has, is because of Assad. We now finally have a strategy and a commitment to go after ISIS. We finally have a U.N. Security Council Resolution bringing the world together to go after a political transition in Syria. If the United States does not lead, there is not another leader. There is a vacuum. And we have to lead, if we're going to be successful.

SANDERS: Of course the United States must lead. But the US is not the policeman of the world. The US must not be involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East. The United States, at the same time, cannot successfully fight Assad and ISIS. ISIS, now, is the major priority. Let's get rid of Assad later. Let's have a Democratic Syria. But the first task is to bring countries together to destroy ISIS.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Martin O`Malley on Homeland Security : Dec 19, 2015
We need to collect and share more intelligence

We have a lack of investment over these last 15 years in intelligence gathering, intelligence analysis, intelligence sharing. Not only in Syria and Iraq, but here in the homeland. I believe that what's happened here is that the president had us on the right course, but it's a lack of battle tempo. We have to bring a modern way of getting things done and forcing the sharing of information and do a much better job of acting on it in order to prevent these sorts of attacks in the future.
Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Martin O`Malley on Homeland Security : Dec 19, 2015
Stop creating safe havens where ISIS can flourish

We have not made the investments we need to make to have relationships with future leaders. Now what we have is a whole stretch of the coast of Libya, 100 miles, 150 miles, that has now become potentially the next safe haven for ISIL. They go back and forth between Syria and this region. We have to stop contributing to the creation of vacuums that allow safe havens to develop.
Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Dec 19, 2015
3-part plan to go after ISIS: territory; network; safety

I have a plan to go after ISIS. Not to contain them, but to defeat them. It has three parts. First, deprive them of territory they occupy in Syria and Iraq. Second, dismantle their network of terrorism. Third, do more to keep us safe. We have to have an American-led air campaign, we have to have Arab and Kurdish troops on the ground. We have got to go after everything from North Africa to South Asia and beyond. Here at home, we have to share information and work closely with Muslim-Americans.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Dec 19, 2015
Support Sunni Arab and Kurdish forces against ISIS in Syria

What we're facing with ISIS is especially complicated. It was a different situation in Afghanistan. We were attacked from Afghanistan. We went after those who attacked us. What's happening in Syria and Iraq is that, because of the failures in the region, there has been a resurgence of Sunni activities, as exemplified by ISIS. We have to support Sunni-Arab and Kurdish forces against ISIS, because I believe it would be not only a strategic mistake for the US to put ground combat troops in.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Dec 19, 2015
We won't have to shoot down Russians in Syrian no-fly zone

One of the reasons why I have advocated for a no-fly zone is to protect people on the ground from Assad's forces and from ISIS. I am advocating the no-fly zone both because I think it would help us on the ground to protect Syrians; I'm also advocating it because I think it gives us some leverage in our conversations with Russia. The no-fly zone, I would hope, would be also shared by Russia.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Martin O`Malley on War & Peace : Dec 19, 2015
Constitution doesn't let us say when dictators must go

Q: What's your proposal for what comes after Assad?

O'MALLEY: I believe that we need to focus on destroying ISIL. That is the clear and present danger. And I believe that we can springboard off of this new U.N. resolution; there should be a political process. But we shouldn't be the ones declaring that Assad must go. Where did it ever say in the Constitution, where is it written that it's the job of the United States of America or its secretary of State to determine when dictators have to go? We have a role to play in this world. But it is not the role of traveling the world looking for new monsters to destroy.

CLINTON: Assad has killed, by last count, about 250,000 Syrians. The reason we are in the mess we're in, that ISIS has the territory it has, is because of Assad. I advocated arming the moderate opposition back in the day when I was still secretary of State, because I worried we would end up exactly where we are now.

SANDERS: The US is not the policeman of the world.

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Rick Santorum on Homeland Security : Dec 15, 2015
Iranian nuclear deal was worst treaty in US history

SANTORUM: The fact that we have a nuclear treaty with the Shiites in Iran, that we have now partnered with the Russians and appearing to allow Assad to stay, this looks to ISIS like we are now lining up with the Shiite world against the Sunni world. Well, the Shiite world is 15% of the Muslim world. The Sunni world is 85%. We're picking the wrong horse here. Not only is the Iranian deal the greatest betrayal of this country in the history of our country by signing that deal, but secondly, we have now lined up to empower ISIS by partnering with the Shiites.

Gov. George PATAKI: Iran is our enemy. They are the number one sponsor of state terror. The Iranian Deal is a disaster. And by the way, I don't think the next president has to abrogate it. It was never ratified by the Iranians. They have tested long-range ballistic missiles in violation of U.N. resolutions. They have broken the agreement. It is void. They can never have a nuclear weapon and should not get relief.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
Assad is bad, but toppling him gives Syria to ISIS

Sen. Lindsey GRAHAM: To my good friend Ted Cruz, please ask him the following question, you say you would keep Assad in power, I will tell you that is the worst possible thing that could come out of an American leaders mouth. It would be disastrous. Ted, getting in bed with Iran and Russia to save Assad is inconceivable.

CRUZ: We need to learn from history. Obama, Clinton, and far too many Republicans--want to topple Assad. Assad is a bad man. But if we topple Assad, the result will be that ISIS will take over Syria, and it will worsen U.S. national security interests. And I'll tell you whose view on Assad is the same as mine. It's Prime Minister Netanyahu. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said Israel doesn't have a dog in that fight because Assad is a puppet of Iran, a Shia radical Islamic terrorist, but at the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn't want to see Syria governed by ISIS. And we need to focus on American interests, not on global aspirations...

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

John Kasich on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
Find moderate rebels in Syria; work with them against Assad

Q: Should the US work with moderate Syrian rebels?

CRUZ: We keep hearing from President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Washington Republicans that they're searching for these mythical moderate rebels. It's like a purple unicorn. They never exist. These moderate rebels end up being jihadists.

KASICH: I don't understand this thing about Assad. He has to go. Assad is aligned with Iran and Russia. The one thing we want to prevent is we want to prevent Iran being able to extend a Shia crescent all across the Middle East. Assad has got to go. And there are moderates there. There are moderates in Syria who we should be supporting. I do not support a civil war. I don't want to be policeman of the world. But we can't back off of this. And let me tell you, at the end, the Saudis have agreed to put together a coalition inside of Syria to stabilize that country. Assad must go. It will be a blow to Iran and Russia.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
We must take land from ISIS Caliphate, under their own law

Q: You've called for more US troops in Iraq, but you say that sending US troops into Syria would be a mistake?

SANTORUM: ISIS is a caliphate, the first Sunni caliphate since 1924, when Ataturk disbanded the Ottoman Empire. Under Islamic law, good Muslims who see them as a legitimate caliphate are required to follow them. How do we defeat their caliphate? Well, it's very clear in Islamic law how you do so. You take their land. You have to take land back from the caliphate and in the Islamic world that delegitimizes the caliphate. It makes the caliphate unsuccessful. Therefore not blessed by Allah. Therefore, you should not follow it. We need to take back the land in Iraq and we need to use Sunni, not Shiites, not Iranian troops, not Shiite Iraqis, but Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the Kurds, the Peshmerga, and take back Iraqi land. I believe if we did that, you would see ISIS begin to collapse.

GRAHAM: You're not going to win that way, Rick. There's nobody left in Syria to train.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
There's nobody left in Syria to train; bring in other Arabs

Sen. Rick SANTORUM: ISIS is a caliphate. Under Islamic law, good Muslims who see them as a legitimate caliphate are required to follow them. How do we defeat their caliphate? Well, it's very clear in Islamic law how you do so. You take their land--in the Islamic world that delegitimizes the caliphate. We need to use Sunni, not Shiite Iraqis, but Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the Kurds, the Peshmerga, and take back Iraqi land.

GRAHAM: You're not going to win that way, Rick. There's nobody left in Syria to train. Between the Russians and Assad, they have killed all the people we trained. I would get the Arabs who are threatened by ISIL just as much as we are, along with Turkey. We would use their armies. They have modern armies. 90% them, 10% us, and we go in and destroy the caliphate.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
Form army--90% them, 10% us--to destroy Caliphate

Q: How would you fight ISIL?

GRAHAM: I would get the Arabs who are threatened by ISIL just as much as we are, along with Turkey. We would use their armies. They have modern armies. 90% them--but some of us have to go, folks. You're not going to keep the war from here if some of us don't go over there. 90% them, 10% us, and we go in and destroy the caliphate. There must be American boots on the ground in Syria to win. If you don't understand that, you're not ready to be Commander in Chief.

Q: You called for U.S. ground troops in both Iraq and Syria...

GRAHAM: Two years ago. If we had 10,000 troops left in Iraq, there would be no ISIL and I hate what Obama did. He gave away everything we fought for.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria means WWIII against Russians

Q: Gov. Christie, if the US imposed a no-fly zone over Syria and a Russian plane invaded that no-fly zone, would you be prepared to shoot down that Russian plane and risk war with Russia?

CHRISTIE: Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it. Yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots.

PAUL: Well, I think if you're in favor of World War III, you have your candidate. My goodness, what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, "Yes, I'm going to shoot down Russian planes." Russia already flies in that airspace. It may not be something we're in love with the fact that they're there, but they were invited by Iraq and by Syria to fly in that airspace. And so if we announce we're going to have a no-fly zone, it is a recipe for disaster. It's a recipe for World War III. We need to confront Russia from a position of strength, but we don't need to confront Russia from a point of recklessness that would lead to war.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
10,000 US troops in Iraq; 10,000 in Syria; plus 90,000 Arabs

Q: I just want to remind our viewers, you want 10,000 U.S. ground troops in Iraq, and 10,000 in Syria?

GRAHAM: Yeah. I just don't make this up; I talk to people who are combat trained who have won in Iraq who I trust. Here's what I want to tell the Arab world and Turkey. We're not going to send 100,000 troops. You're going to do the fighting this time and we're gonna help you. We paid for the last two wars, you're gonna pay for this one. They get it because ISIL wants to cut their heads off, too. [The Turks and Arabs] have modern armies: 90% them, 10% us, and we go in and destroy the caliphate. The point I'm trying to make is, there needs to be a ground component. We need to be smart, and we need to fight the war over there. And to the people in my party who believe you can withdraw from the battlefield like Senator Cruz and Paul and we be safe, you really don't understand this war.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
Don't collaborate with Russia & Iran to keep Assad in power

GRAHAM [to Cruz]: I would partner with the Arabs and Turkey [to fight ISIS in Syria]. But, the reason they don't partner with Obama is they just don't trust him. To my good friend Ted Cruz, please ask him the following question, you say you would keep Assad in power, I will tell you that is the worst possible thing that could come out of an American leaders mouth. It would be disastrous. Ted, getting in bed with Iran & Russia to save Assad is inconceivable.

Sen. CRUZ: We need to learn from history. Obama, Clinton, and far too many Republicans--want to topple Assad. Assad is a bad man. But if we topple Assad, the result will be that ISIS will take over Syria. And I'll tell you whose view on Assad is the same as mine. It's Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Netanyahu doesn't want to see Syria governed by ISIS. And we need to focus on American interests, not on global aspirations...

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Dec 15, 2015
To destroy ISIL in Libya, take the Caliphate's headquarters

Q: Are you ready to commit U.S. ground troops to Libya?

GRAHAM: I want to talk to General Keane first. I want to find out, what do we need militarily to keep them contained and eventually destroy them in Libya? They're in nine countries. You want to deal with Libya, go to Iraq and Syria. You want to prevent another 9/11, take the caliphate headquarters away from ISIL. There is no other way to do it without a ground force going into Syria.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Ben Carson on Foreign Policy : Nov 29, 2015
Political solution must accompany military solution in Syria

Q: You said on Facebook, "We must find a political end to this conflict," meaning you don't think there is a military solution to the Syria situation?

CARSON: I think the military solution is to try to exterminate ISIS and the other radical jihadists who will not allow peace to occur under any circumstances until they achieve their goals. But in terms of a place like Syria, the likelihood of an Assad regime maintaining peaceful control is extremely small. And the likelihood of El Masrah or any of the anti-Assad factions maintaining control is also very small. So, you need to be working on some type of mechanism to keep it from being in perpetual turmoil. I think the most compassionate thing when you're fighting a war is to do it quickly. The longer you drag it out, the more people are hurt. And I think we need to work in close conjunction with our Department of Defense, with our Pentagon, with our experts.

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy : Nov 29, 2015
Russia won't be an ally in Syria but maintain communication

Q: You have said that Russia could be an ally against ISIS, but only if they abandon their alliance with Assad in Syria. How do you get them to do that?

BUSH: I don't think we will. I have great doubts whether Russia would make that big kind of sea change. But we always should be in dialogue with Russia. My problem is, talking to Russia from a position of weakness only enables their objectives. It has nothing to do with ours. If we were stronger, we would be in a better position to deal with them.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

Ben Carson on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
Military intelligence underused in crafting Syria strategy

Q: About the war on ISIS: You have new advertisement out entitled "Winning vs. Whining." Who is whining?

CARSON: My point is let's not sit here and talk about what we can't do. Instead, we have some terrific military intelligence and advisers who know how to get the job done. Let's ask them.

Q: Are those advisers not being consulted? What do you think that they're saying that is not being paid attention to?

CARSON: All you need to do is go out and talk to a number of the generals who have retired, in many cases prematurely. You want to know the exact reasons why we're not winning and ask what advice has been given and how it has been ignored. I would suggest that you talk to them.

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation AdWatch on 2016 presidential hopefuls

John Kasich on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
Invading force but no occupying force in Syria

Q: You called for boots on the ground in Syria before. You're talking about an invading force? An occupying force?

KASICH: No, I'm not talking about an occupying force, I'm talking about a coalition that looks awfully like the coalition we had in the first Gulf War. It would involve our friends in the Middle East who want to contribute, also to our NATO allies, because we're not going to solve this problem with ISIS by just sitting back and delaying or dithering, which is what we've done.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria; arm Kurds; establish Sunni coalition

Q: How is your strategy to defeat ISIS any faster or more effective than the current one?

BUSH: I would say a no-fly zone, creating safe zones in Syria, directly arming the Kurds in Iraq, reengaging both politically and militarily with the Sunnis - the Sunni tribal leaders who were effective partners in the creation of the surge. Have our troops be embedded with the Iraqi military. But, basically, all of this needs to be a strategy, not just one-off kind of incremental decisions being made by this president who wants to run out the clock. The strategy ought to be, how do we destroy ISIS and how do we create stability in the aftermath? And, right now, we have neither.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
Send troops to Syria to then remain to maintain stability

Q: One of the things the president has said is that his military advisers have told him that if you were going to put U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq, they would have to stay as an occupational force. Is that wrong?

BUSH: I think it is wrong. I think that had we kept a small force in Iraq, we wouldn't have the mess that we have right now.

Q: You want troops to go in, but then everybody agrees there need to be some kind of stability afterwards. If 10,000 was a good sustaining force in Iraq after all the activities, but this is a totally new adventure, it would seem that upwards of 10,000 troops would be necessary for the kind of engagement you're talking about.

BUSH: If I'm commander in chief, my first order is, give me options, and if the military says that we need a fighting force of X- thousand, and this is the best way to destroy ISIS, then I would take that under advisement for sure.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
Military commitment of regional troops in Syria is necessary

Q: Do you think the American people are ready for a military commitment in Syria to take out ISIS and Assad?

GRAHAM: They better be, because if we don't destroy ISIL in Syria, which is their headquarters, we're going to get attacked at home. The entire region wants Assad gone, so there's an opportunity here with some American leadership to do two things, which is to destroy ISIL before we get hit at home and also to push Assad out and not give yet another Arab capital to Damascus.

Q: Robert Kagan wrote that the kind of operation that you are recommending could require 40,000 - 50,000 troops.

GRAHAM: I think it will require more than that, but the good news,10% of the force will come from Western powers. The force that we're talking about will come from regional armies from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey. They have regional armies. They would go into the fight if you put Assad on the table. They will pay for this war.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Nov 29, 2015
Regional, not US, army would keep stability in Syria

Q: The President says, because there is no ground force, military advisers tell him that it would require an occupational U.S. force. And that is a recipe for lots forces for a long period of time. What is your response to that?

GRAHAM: I haven't been told that by anybody. The holding force would be the region. We're talking about region coming together with a Western component, 90 percent them, 10 percent us. The holding will be done by Sunni Arab states. We will turn to Assad and say, you must go. Russia and Iran will be on the outside looking in to an entire regional army, including Turkey, with Western elements. They will fold like a cheap suit.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Nov 22, 2015
Only Sunni-Shiite coalition forces, not US, in Syria

Q: You have consistently been cautioning your party about overseas military involvements. But has the growth of ISIS changed your mindset in terms of this argument that you've got to go get them there?

PAUL: I think the first thing we have to do is learn from our history. In the past several decades, if there's one true thing in the Middle East, it's that when we've toppled secular dictators, we've gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam. So if we want a long lasting victory and peace, the boots on the ground are going to have to be Arab, and you're going to have to have Sunni Muslims defeating Sunni Muslims because even the Shiite Muslims can't occupy these Sunni cities. ISIS is essentially surrounded, but what we have to do is, we do need a ceasefire in Syria, and probably Russia's going to be part of that solution if we're willing to talk with them, but we also need to engage Turkey on one side. We need to engage the Kurds on one side.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls

John Kasich on War & Peace : Nov 17, 2015
US ground troops in Syria, but not involved in civil war

As for his policy to defeat ISIS, he proposed leading a coalition that includes soldiers fighting on the ground in both Syria and Iraq. He would not indicate a number and said the coalition should not be involved in Syria's civil war. "Civil wars do not work out well for the U.S.," he said. "Nation building. Count me out."
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: NBC New on 2016 presidential hopefuls on Syrian Refugees

Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy : Nov 15, 2015
America needs to lead in fight against Assad and ISIS

Q: Do you agree with Governor O`Malley that the fight in Syria is America's fight more so than the world's fight?

BUSH: It's both. And I think Governor O`Malley probably agrees with me that we need to lead. We cannot lead from behind. We have to take a leadership role to inspire our Arab partners and the European countries, NATO allies, all of them together, create a strategy, act on it, unleash a strategy on ISIS and we'll be successful.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on Homeland Security : Nov 15, 2015
Let military experts determine troop count

Q: Do you think we should send more troops into Syria, more troops into Iraq?

BUSH: I would listen to the military commanders and give them the mission, which is, how do we destroy ISIS?˙It is Islamic terrorism. It's not a law enforcement engagement. And listen to them and then develop a clear strategy. I can't tell you the force levels required to do this. I do know that it has to be done in unison with our allies. We can't do this alone, but we must lead.˙

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 15, 2015
Declare a war in Syria, take out ISIS and Assad

Q: Our coalition partners like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, they care more about getting rid of Assad than they do in dealing with ISIS. Should the United States pause on getting rid of Assad?

BUSH: No, I think we need to do both. We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear both diplomatic and military, of course, to be able to take out ISIS. We need to declare a no-fly zone over Syria. Directly arm the Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Build up the Syrian Free Army. Re-engage with the Sunni tribal leaders. Embed with the Iraqi military. Be able to create safe zones in Syria. Garner the support of our European allies and the traditional Arab states. This a threat to Western civilization and we should consider it that way.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 15, 2015
Best way to defeat terrorist ideology is to destroy ISIS

Q: The French president says we are at war [with radical ideology after the Paris terrorist attacks]. How do you defeat an ideology?

BUSH: You take it to them in Syria & Iraq. You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country & to Europe & to the region with something that is more peace loving. We have to be engaged. This is not something you can contain. Each day that ISIS exists, it gains new energy and more recruits around the world.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 15, 2015
War is the only option in Syria, to take out Caliphate

Q: What do you tell an American public who says, "You know what, the Iraq War, Afghanistan, we've had a lot of blood and nothing's changed in the Middle East. We've tried intervention, we've tried toppling dictators, we've tried nation building. None of it has worked. What do you tell the American public?

BUSH: I tell the American public that a caliphate the size of Indiana garners strength each and every day if it's not taken out. 30,000 to 40,000 battle-tested soldiers that are organized to destroy our way of life. We have to be in this fight. There is no other option. And this threat can be contained, but more importantly, it'll never die unless it's destroyed. The policy of containment isn't going to work.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Nov 15, 2015
American troops should partner with regional army

Q: What is your strategy to deal with ISIS and Assad?

GRAHAM: I would form a regional army made of Arabs and Turks; American forces would be part of that army. We'd go in on the ground in Syria. We'd pull the caliphate up by the roots and we would take back land held by ISIL and hold it until Syria repairs itself. That requires American boots on the ground in Syria and we need more American boots on the ground in Iraq if we're going to protect the American homeland.

Q: If the Arabs such as Jordan and the Saudis and the UAE, Egypt, the Turks are eager to get in this fight, where are they?

GRAHAM: They're eager to get in the fight, but they're not going to go destroy ISIL unless we take a side out, too. To get a regional force, you have to accomplish two goals, to go in to destroy ISIL, which is a threat to the region, and also take out Assad, who is a puppet of Iran. Without putting Assad on the table, you're not going to be able to rally the region.˙

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Nov 15, 2015
Russia will back down if US provokes it in deposing Assad

Q: Aren't you concerned that if we rally this coalition to take out not only ISIS but Assad, that that is going to be a war with Russia? Russia is now in Syria, doing everything it can politically, militarily, economically, to prop up Assad.˙

GRAHAM: Here's what I would do. I would tell the Russians that you're not going to use military force to keep Assad in power. That disrupts the region. It gives Iran more power at a time when they should have less. And the Syrian people are not going to accept Assad as their leader.˙ So I would tell the Russians, if you want to fight for Assad, that will be your choice, but what you will be doing is fighting the entire world. And let Russia make a decision. And here's what they would do, they would back out.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Nov 14, 2015
Invasion of Iraq led to ISIS; Hillary voted to invade

Q: Was ISIS underestimated? In 2014, the president referred to ISIS as the "J.V."

CLINTON: ISIS has developed [since 2014]. There are many other reasons why it has, but I don't think that the US has the bulk of the responsibility. I really put that on Assad and on the Iraqis and on the region itself.

SANDERS: She said the bulk of the responsibility is not ours. Well, in fact, I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS.

Q: You're saying Secretary Clinton, who was then Senator Clinton, voted for the Iraq war. And are you making a direct link between her vote for that or and what's happening now for ISIS?

SANDERS: I don't think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now. I think that was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the more than history of the United States.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Nov 10, 2015
Let Russia bash ISIS; let Germany defend Ukraine

Q: Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia's aggression?

TRUMP: As far as Syria, if Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can't understand how anybody would be against it.

Q: They're not doing that.

TRUMP: They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He's going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany--why are we always doing the work? I'm all for protecting Ukraine--but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren't doing anything. They say, "Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us." And we have to get smart. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy : Nov 10, 2015
Big difference between world's policeman and world's leader

Donald TRUMP: In Ukraine--why are we always doing the work? As far as Syria, if Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world.

BUSH: Donald's absolutely wrong on this. We're not going to be the world's policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world's leader. That's a huge difference where, without us leading, voids are filled, and the idea that it's a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? I mean, that's like a board game, that's like playing Monopoly or something. That's not how the real world works. We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. They are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you're a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you're going to be beheaded. And, if you're a moderate Islamist, you're not going to be able to survive either.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Nov 10, 2015
We spoke to Russians throughout the Cold War; keep doing so

Q: You have already said that it would be a mistake in not talking to Vladimir Putin, or to rule it out. You've argued that it's never a good idea to close down communication. Do you think the same applies to administration efforts right now to include the Iranians in talks on Syria and Russian involvement there?

PAUL: I think it's particularly naive, particularly foolish to think that we're not going to talk to Russia. Ronald Reagan was strong, but Ronald Reagan didn't send troops into the Middle East. The question goes to be, "who do we want to be our commander-in-chief?" Do you want a commander-in-chief who says something that we never did throughout the entire Cold War, to discontinue having conversations with the Russians? I am not happy about them flying there. But I'm not naive enough to say, "well, Iraq has them flying over their airspace, we're just going to announce that we're shooting them down." That is naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Carly Fiorina on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
Aggressive exercises in Baltic; more US troops in Germany

Q: Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. Should we talk with Mr. Putin?

FIORINA: I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now, because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn't talk to him for awhile, but, I would do this: I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies. And I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand that the United States of America will stand with our allies

Q: Gov. Bush suggests a no-fly zone in Syria while Donald Trump says no. Your opinion?

FIORINA: Gov. Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

John Kasich on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
Work with allies like Israel, Egypt, Jordan

In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north, and a no-fly zone on the Jordanian border. Jordan, we want the king to reign for years. Egypt, they have been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East. In Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
Assad is a bad guy, but his replacement could be worse

Gov. Jeb BUSH: We should have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels--nobody even knows who they are.

Carly FIORINA: Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: So, I don't like Assad. Who's going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they're going to be, and what they're going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place--we have nothing. And, I said, keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And, you know what? We should have given big chunks of the oil to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters, because right now, you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran, and ISIS.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
We should have a no fly zone in Syria

Q: Donald Trump says we should let Putin "knock the hell out of ISIS" in Syria.

BUSH: Let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? That's not how the real world works. We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. They are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you're a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you're going to be beheaded. And, if you're a moderate Islamist, you're not going to be able to survive either. We have to play a role in this be able to bring the rest of the world to this issue before it's too late.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels--nobody even knows who they are.

Carly FIORINA: Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
ISIS hates our way of life; either they win or we win

Radical terrorist groups are not just in Syria and in Iraq, ISIS is now in Libya. They are a significant presence in Libya, Afghanistan, and a growing presence in Pakistan. Soon they will be in Turkey. They will try Jordan. They will try Saudi Arabia. They are coming to us. They don't hate us simply because we support Israel. They hate us because of our values. They hate us because our girls go to school. They hate us because women drive in the United States. Either they win or we win.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Nov 10, 2015
A no-fly zone in Iraq means shooting war with Russia

Q: Should the US enforce a no-fly zone in Syria, with Russia's air campaign there?

TRUMP: If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world.

BUSH: Donald's absolutely wrong on this. We have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria.

FIORINA: Gov. Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the USA where and when to fly our planes.

PAUL: You're asking for a no fly zone in an area in which Russia already flies. Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but you better know at least what we're getting into. So, when you think it's going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you're ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq. You can be strong without being involved in every civil war around the world.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Nov 8, 2015
Form Muslim-led coalition to defeat ISIS

Q: You opposed Obama's new decision to put Special Operations boots on the ground in Syria. But the threat seems to be expanding, not receding. How would you counter it?

SANDERS: What the president is trying to do is to thread a very difficult needle. He's trying to defeat ISIS. He's trying to get rid of this horrendous dictator, Assad. But at the same time, he doesn't want our troops stuck on the ground. And I agree with that. But I am maybe a little bit more conservative on this than he is. I worry that once we get sucked into this, once some of our troops get killed and once maybe a plane gets shot down, that we send more in and more in. But I will say this. ISIS must be defeated primarily by the Muslim nations in that region. America can't do it all. And we need an international coalition. Russia should be part of it--U.K., France, the entire world--supporting Muslim troops on the ground, fighting for the soul of Islam and defeating this terrible ISIS organization.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Nov 8, 2015
Let Russia make moves in Syria; it's a quagmire

Q: Let's turn to ISIS and what should the United States do about it?

TRUMP: But we're going to have to do something very strong over there. We're going to have to take away the energy, the fuel, the money from ISIS, because, in the case of ISIS-- I've been saying this for years. We have to stop the source of money. And the source of money is oil.

Q: So you'd step up the campaign against ISIS even though you believe that Vladimir Putin is getting stuck in a quagmire by going in?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not looking to quagmire, I'm looking to take the oil. The Middle East is one big, fat quagmire. If you look at the Soviet Union, it used to be the Soviet Union. They essentially went bust and it became Russia, a much smaller version, because of Afghanistan. They spent all their money. Now they're going into Syria. I'm all for Russia going in and knocking and dropping bombs on ISIS. As far as I'm concerned, we don't have to have exclusivity on that.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

John Kasich on War & Peace : Nov 4, 2015
Destroy ISIS, with US troops as part of coalition

Kasich said that the United States needs to get serious about creating a broader international coalition to fight ISIS--even if that means sending more US troops into Syria and Iraq. In an interview on CNN's "The Lead," Kasich faulted President Obama for allowing US allegiances overseas to "deteriorate over time."

"We have not led, and when you don't lead, you create doubt in the minds of our friends, and also, it encourages our enemies," he said. He said he'd support a larger US military presence in the region. "The time has come to destroy ISIS as part of a coalition," Kasich said. "And if that means that US boots have to be on the ground, so be it," he said. "Because to allow this to linger, to put this off, to think that somehow this is going to go away is naive at best."

Kasich said joining Russia in the fight against ISIS doesn't mean the US should set aside fights with Moscow over its incursion in Ukraine and its intervention in favor of Syrian leader.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: CNN 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ben Carson on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2015
Corner Putin by arming Ukraine & reducing oil dependence

We need to be opposing Putin in parts of the world other than Syria. It's not just keeping his influence out of the Middle East, which he truly wants, but also in his own area of the world, the whole Baltic Basin, we need to have more than one or two armored brigades there to show some strength. And particularly you look at the Baltic States, they're really quite nervous about him. When they look at what we did with Ukraine--or what we didn't do--they have good reason to be nervous. We need to reestablish ourselves in that area. We need to give Ukraine offensive weapons. We need to reestablish a missile defense system in the eastern bloc of countries so that we oppose him. Let's keep him on the run, we need to recognize that his fuel is oil. And we need to do everything we can to develop our energy resources at an economical rate so that we keep the oil prices down, which keeps him in his little box.
Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Carly Fiorina on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2015
Special ops in Syria are too little too late

Q: Do you agree with the president's plan to send 50 special operations forces to Syria?

FIORINA: Well, I do. But I think it's a bit too little, too late. Look, all of us who know anything about it have known that you cannot have a successful bombing campaign unless you have special operations troops on the ground helping to direct that campaign. President Obama hasn't been willing to do that for political purposes. It's also true that he has no strategy in Syria. He has no strategy for ISIS. And it's also true that when the United States of America fails to act, as he has failed to act, are options are diminished.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2015
Do not leave it to Russia to get rid of ISIS

Q: Donald Trump says, no American assistance; let the Russians fight ISIS.

RUBIO: Well, the problem with it is, number one, the Russians aren't necessarily targeting ISIS right now. They're targeting non-ISIS rebels, and it's part of an effort to wipe out any non-ISIS fighters on the ground, so they can turn to the world and say that the only choices are either Assad or ISIS. The second point is that the growth of ISIS will continue in Iraq. They are spread now into Libya, where they have become a very significant presence, increasingly in Afghanistan as well. Putin's interests at the end of the day are largely to prop up Assad, who has provided for them a foothold into the region. And so they are stepping into vacuum we have left behind. In an ideal world, you would be able to work with Russia to defeat radical jihadists.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer

Ben Carson on War & Peace : Nov 1, 2015
Counter countries propping up Assad: Russia and Iran

Q: You saw the president's plan to put 50 special operations forces on the ground in Syria. Do you agree with the plan?

CARSON: I think that's a move in the right direction, because we clearly need to have those special ops in terms of helping to guide what the Air Force is doing. But I think that that's only a small part of it; we need to have a much bigger plan when it comes to battling the global jihadist.

Q: What is your much bigger plan for Syria?

CARSON: Well, my plan involves Putin and Iran. Those are the forces that are propping up the Assad regime. And even though Putin came in there and said he was going to fight ISIS, he's really fighting the anti-Assad forces. What we need to be thinking about is how do we oppose him? First of all, look where most the refugees are, at the Turkey-Syrian border. I think we should establish a no-fly zone there. We should be doing this in communication with Putin to try to decrease the likelihood of conflict and keeping the forces apart.

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Carly Fiorina on War & Peace : Nov 1, 2015
More than 50 boots on the ground in Syria

Q: I wanted to get you to weigh in on the president sending 50 Special Forces, operators into Syria. You talked a lot about what you would do as president when it comes to fighting ISIS.˙What do you think of the president's plans to send in these 50 operators?

FIORINA: Well, first of all, it's recognition that you cannot have a successful bombing campaign without people on the ground telling you where to place the bomb. So, he's sort of come to reality. On the other hand, it's too little too late. I think this is a reflection of the reality, that when America does not act, when we do not lead as we have not the last three years under this president, our options become very constrained and the situation becomes more dangerous.˙I'm glad he did this, but we still do not have a strategy in Syria. We do not have a strategy to deal with ISIS.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Nov 1, 2015
Boots on ground in Syria; coordinate with Kurds

Q: The US is sending 50 special operations forces into Syria. Is that enough?

RUBIO: Well, it's an important start. I think the broader issue is, what is the strategy? And I think the strategy has to involve more coordination with the Kurds and also with Sunnis, because you're not going to defeat ISIS, a radical Sunni movement, without a robust anti-ISIS Sunni coalition. So, I do think it's important tactical step forward. It needs to be backed up with increased airstrikes and so forth.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer

Ted Cruz on Foreign Policy : Oct 18, 2015
Fighting ISIS is more important than fighting Assad

Q: In Syria is the priority getting Assad out of power or ISIS?

CRUZ: ISIS.

Q: So table the Assad discussion right now?

CRUZ: We have no business sticking our nose in that civil war.

Q: So you're a "no" on the no fly zones, none of that stuff, stick to just ISIS? Would you work with the Russians? If they are helping with ISIS, would you work with them?

CRUZ: Of course, we shouldn't be partnering with the Russians. Look, this is a great example of the utter failure of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. This void in power has let Putin step in there. And anyone who believes Russia is fighting against terrorism, I got a bridge to sell them.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Oct 13, 2015
Stand up to Putin's bullying in Syria and elsewhere

Q: What would your response to Vladimir Putin be right now in Syria?

CLINTON: We have to stand up to his bullying, and in Syria, it is important to provide safe zones so that people are not going to have to be flooding out of Syria at the rate they are I think it's important that the US make it clear to Putin that it's not acceptable for him to be in Syria bombing people on behalf of Assad, and we can't do that if we don't take more of a leadership position, which is what I'm advocating.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Oct 13, 2015
Putin regrets invading Crimea & the Ukraine

Q [to Clinton]: What about Putin's actions involving Russia in Syria [bombing ISIS to defend President Assad]?

CLINTON: We have an opportunity here--and inside the administration this is being hotly debated--to get that leverage to try to get the Russians to have to deal with everybody in the region and begin to move toward a political, diplomatic solution in Syria.

Q [to Sanders]: Putin in Syria?

SANDERS: I think Mr. Putin is going to regret what he is doing.

Q: He doesn't seem to be the type of guy to regret a lot.

SANDERS: I think he's already regretting what he did in Crimea and what he is doing in the Ukraine. I think he is really regretting the decline of his economy. And I think what he is trying to do now is save some face. But I think when Russians get killed in Syria and when he gets bogged down, I think the Russian people are going to give him a message that maybe they should come home, maybe they should start working with the United States to rectify the situation now.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
Syria is a quagmire within a quagmire; don't get involved

Q: What to do in Syria?

CLINTON: I applaud the administration because they are engaged in talks right now with the Russians to make it clear that they've got to be part of the solution to try to end that bloody conflict. And, to provide safe zones so that people are not going to have to be flooding out of Syria at the rate they are.

SANDERS: Well, let's understand that when we talk about Syria, you're talking about a quagmire in a quagmire. You're talking about groups of people trying to overthrow Assad, other groups of people fighting ISIS. You're talking about people who are fighting ISIS using their guns to overthrow Assad, and vice versa. I will do everything that I can to make sure that the U.S. does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria, but no American troops on the ground

Q: What to do in Syria?

SANDERS: We should put together a coalition of Arab countries who should lead the effort. But I do not support American ground troops in Syria.

CLINTON: Well, nobody does. I agree completely. We don't want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that. What I said was we had to put together a coalition, and that it should include Arabs, people in the region.

SANDERS: She is talking about a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is a very dangerous situation. The president is trying very hard to thread a tough needle here, and that is to support those people who are against Assad, against ISIS, without getting us on the ground there.

CLINTON: We are already flying in Syria just as we are flying in Iraq. I have advocated that the no-fly zone--which of course would be in a coalition--be put on the table, to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. Diplomacy is not about the perfect solution; it's about how you balance the risks.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
We're already involved in Syria; deal with Russia there

We are already flying in Syria just as we are flying in Iraq. What I believe and why I have advocated that the no-fly zone--which of course would be in a coalition-- be put on the table is because I'm trying to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. You know, diplomacy is not about getting to the perfect solution. It's about how you balance the risks.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Martin O`Malley on War & Peace : Oct 13, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria too hard to enforce; stay out entirely

Q: Does Hillary Clinton want to use military force too rapidly?

SANDERS: She is talking about a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is dangerous.

O'MALLEY: I would not be so quick to pull for a military tool. I believe that a no-fly zone in Syria, at this time would be a mistake. You have to enforce no-fly zones, and I believe, especially with the Russian air force in the air, it could lead to an escalation.

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Oct 11, 2015
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar should take charge in Syria

Q: The Pentagon has announced they are no longer doing this training program for the so-called moderate rebels in Syria. Good idea?

SANDERS: Well, it failed. I mean, the president acknowledged that. Syria is a quagmire inside of a quagmire. I think what the president has tried to do is thread a very difficult needle. And that is keep American troops from engaging in combat and getting killed there. And I think that is the right thing to do. So I think we continue to try to do everything that we can, focusing primarily on trying to defeat ISIS. But I am worried about American troops getting sucked into a never ending war in the Middle East and particularly in, you know, Iraq and Syria. I don't think the United States can or should be doi

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Oct 11, 2015
Provide economic assistance to create a safe zone in Syria

Q: Where you are on the question of a safe zone or a no-fly zone in Syria?

TRUMP: I love a safe zone for people. I do not like the migration. I do not like the people coming. What they should do is, the countries should all get together, including the Gulf states, who have nothing but money, they should all get together and they should take a big swath of land in Syria and they do a safe zone for people, where they could to live, and then ultimately go back to their country, go back to where they came from.

Q: Does the U.S. get involved in making that safe zone?

TRUMP: I would help them economically, even though we owe $19 trillion.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview on Syrian Refugee crisis

Bobby Jindal on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria, to support Syrian rebels

Q: You supported training Syrian rebels and that has been a complete failure. So what would work?

JINDAL: If they had aggressively trained those rebels and the Kurds in the beginning, we'd be in a different place. You wouldn't have Putin and Assad working with Hezbollah and Iran. We need to create a no-fly zone, working with the Turkish and other allies.

Q: ISIS doesn't have aircraft. So, what would that no-fly zone really accomplish?

JINDAL: It accomplishes a couple of things. Number one, it helps to stabilize the region, so you don't have all these refugees flooding into Europe. Secondly, it gives us space for moderates, for Kurds and others, to group and to plan attacks against ISIS, against Assad. Third, it keeps Russia from bombing our allies. We're here because this president drew a red line, didn't enforce it. We're here because this president has put political handcuffs on the military, won't let them go after ISIS and get the job done.

Click for Bobby Jindal on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Bobby Jindal on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2015
U.S. ground troops to wipe out ISIS

Q: Would you send in and how many troops approximately into Syria, U.S. troops?

JINDAL: Well, I don't think you take any option off the table. If the military says we need ground troops to wipe out ISIS, as commander in chief, you have got to be open to that option. These are radical Islamic terrorists, we can't negotiate with them. We have got to hunt them down and kill them.

Q: You don't think that's what they're doing now? We've had thousands and thousands of airstrikes.

JINDAL: I don't think we have fought this war. No, I disagree. I think if this president were serious, we could wipe them out. I think there are more things that we can be doing. I think our military could be much more effective.

Click for Bobby Jindal on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Oct 4, 2015
US should not train rebels it does not know or control

Q: The Russians are hitting Assad as well as people we've trained.

TRUMP: Where they're hitting people, we're talking about people that we don't even know. I was talking to a general two days ago. He said, "We have no idea who these people are. We're training people. We don't know who they are. We're giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad." And you know what? I'm not saying Assad's a good guy, because he's probably a bad guy. But I've watched him interviewed many times. And you can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there-- it's a mess-- if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there-- it's a mess-- it's going be same thing.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Oct 4, 2015
Better to have Mideast strongmen than Mideast chaos

Q: You think the Middle East would be better today if Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad were stronger? That the Middle East would be safer?

TRUMP: It's not even a contest. Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS came out of Iraq.

Q: Well, let me button this up. If Saddam and Gaddafi were still in power, you think things would be more stable?

TRUMP: Of course it would be. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation, which is one thing, which was just a terrible situation.

Q: Would you pull out of what we're doing in Syria now?

TRUMP: no, I'd sit back.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Oct 4, 2015
Good that Russia is involved in Syria

Q: You came across to me as if you welcomed Putin's involvement in Syria. You said you saw very little downside. Why?

TRUMP: I want our military to be beyond anything, no contest, and technologically, most importantly. But we are going to get bogged down in Syria. If you look at what happened with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, that's when they went bankrupt.

Q: So, you think Putin's going to get suckered into--

TRUMP: They're going to get bogged down. Everybody that's touched the Middle East, they've gotten bogged down. Now, Putin wants to go in and I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. Putin has to get rid of ISIS because Putin doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia.

Q: Why do you trust him and nobody else does?

TRUMP: I don't trust him. But the truth is, it's not a question of trust. I don't want to see the United States get bogged down. We've spent now $2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We're destroying our country.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Oct 4, 2015
Good that Russia has entered Syrian conflict

Q: We've seen Russia go heavily into Syria this week. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton; today, John Kasich; both say we should establish a no-fly zone in Syria. Would you do that?

TRUMP: I don't think so. I think what I want to do is I want to sit back and I want to see what happens. You know, Russia got bogged down, when it was the Soviet Union, in Afghanistan. They thought that would be quick and easy and they'll go in and they'll clean it up...

Q: You think Putin's falling into a trap?

TRUMP: I think it's not going to be great for them, there are so many traps. There are so many problems. When I heard they were going in to fight ISIS, I said, "Great."

Q: But they're not bombing ISIS.

TRUMP: Well, not yet. But they don't want ISIS going into Russia, either. So they're not bombing them yet.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

John Kasich on Foreign Policy : Oct 2, 2015
No more dickering & delays: Syria's Assad has got to go

Kasich called out Russia, which this week began airstrikes in Syria. Moscow maintains the strikes are targeting Islamic State fighters but U.S. officials have disputed that claim, saying the areas hit were strongholds of rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. "We're not interested in military cooperation in Syria with Russia," Kasich said. "Their only interest is in propping up their puppet, Assad. They used the pretext of ISIS to go in and bomb rebels who are trying to remove Assad."

Kasich also sharply criticized President Barack Obama for what he said were years of inaction in the region that has allowed Assad to remain in power. "No more dickering, no more delaying, no more negotiations, he has to go," Kasich said of Assad. "The longer we look at the void that America has created in this world, the more chaos we have. The time has come for the United States to act."

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: A.P./Yahoo News 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

John Kasich on War & Peace : Oct 2, 2015
No-fly zone in Syria & sanctuaries, enforced by U.S.

John Kasich said the United States should establish no-fly zones and sanctuaries along Syria's border with Jordan and Turkey, and warn aggressors, specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin, that they violate those buffers at their own risk. Kasich said the US must send a message that military retaliation is a guarantee, not an idle threat, if conditions are not met. "You enter that no-fly zone, you enter at your own peril," Kasich said. "No more red lines, no more looking the other way. If any hostile aircraft should enter that, there will be a great consequence to them."

Kasich said the zones would provide refuge for Syrians fleeing the 4-year-old civil war that has killed a quarter million people and displaced an estimated 4 million. He suggested regional assistance from Turkey, Jordan and the Kurds and said the administration should encourage European allies to help enforce any no-fly zones. "A no-fly zone can be very, very effective if it's enforced," he said.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: A.P./Yahoo News 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ben Carson on War & Peace : Sep 20, 2015
Don't get involved in Syria, but push ISIS in that direction

Q: Recently, you said you would go after ISIS with ground troops in Iraq, but not Syria. Why?

CARSON: I would use every resource available to us, which includes financial resources, covert operations, Special Forces, and ground troops if necessary. Because it's unlikely that a coalition will form behind nothing.

In terms of going into Syria, I think we need to push them out of Iraq, which is the largest part of the caliphate ISIS has established. We also can't let them continue to control Anbar, one of the largest energy fields. I would be in favor of pushing them up into Syria. There's a very complex situation in Syria. You have the Russians coming in there now and establishing themselves. You have China starting to do the same. You want to be very, very careful before you jump into the middle of that situation.

Q: So you're one of those that says, "Let Assad and ISIS fight it out amongst themselves, and then clean up the mess later?"

CARSON: That is certainly something to consider.

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Sep 16, 2015
Putin has no respect for America; I will get along with him

Q: What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: Number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero. I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with. I think I will get along with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN

Lindsey Graham on Principles & Values : Sep 16, 2015
Experienced leader for libertarians,vegetarians, you name it

Q: In this election season, do Republican voters see your service in government as a liability and not an asset?

GRAHAM: Well, what I hope Republican voters, libertarian, vegetarians, Democrats, you name it, will look for somebody to lead us in a new direction, domestically, but particularly on the foreign policy front. President Obama is making a mess of the world. What I'm trying to tell you here tonight, that Syria is hell on Earth. I've been there 35 times to Iraq and Afghanistan. I am ready to be commander-in-chief on day one. I've been in the military 33 years, 140 days on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am so ready to get on with winning a war that we can't afford to lose. I hope you believe that experience matters. When you vote for commander-in-chief, they are stuck with your choice. We've had one novice being commander-in- chief. Let's don't replace one novice with another.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN

Carly Fiorina on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
Arm the Kurds and other allies in the Mideast

Sen. Marco RUBIO [to Fiorina]: The Russians will begin to fly combat missions in [Syria and its region], not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad. [Russian leader Putin] will then turn to other countries in the region and say, "America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us." He is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it.

FIORINA: We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet [the US' main force in the Mediterranean Sea]. I will. We haven't. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven't. I will. We could also, to Senator Rubio's point, give the Egyptians what they've asked for, which is intelligence. Bombs and materiel. We have not supplied it.We could arm the Kurds. They've been asking us for three years. All of this is within our control.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
We should have supported Syrian uprising from its start

The uprising in Syria was started by the Syrian people. I warned at the time that if we did not find moderate elements that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists. The president didn't listen, and that's exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you're going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
If we don't destroy ISIL soon, they're coming here

Q: You are calling for an additional 20,000 U.S. ground forces to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria and you have said that anyone who's not willing to do that should not be commander in chief.

GRAHAM: Right.

Q: No one on this stage has gone that far. So are you saying that they are not fit for the Oval Office?

GRAHAM: If they don't understand that Barack Obama's policies are not working, that we're not going to destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria from the air, they are not ready. If we don't destroy ISIL soon, they are coming here. We're going to need a regional army, the Turks, the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Egyptians get their armies up together and 90% of it will be them. They're going to pay for this war because we paid for the last two. But 10 percent at least will have to be us and we're going in on the ground and we're going to pull the caliphate up by its roots and we're going to kill every one of these bastards we can find because, if we don't, they are coming here.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
I have a plan to fight ISIL: ground forces in Syria & Iraq

All of us are going to say we want to destroy ISIL. I have a plan to do it. If I'm president, we're going to send more ground forces into Iraq. President Obama made a mistake by leaving too soon against military advice. To every candidate, would you go from 3,500 to 10,000 American boots on the ground in Iraq? Because if you don't, we're going to lose. Are you willing to send American combat forces into Syria as part of a regional army, because if you don't, we'll never destroy ISIL in Syria.
Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
There's nobody left in Syria to train; need regional army

If I'm president of the United States, I've told you what I'm going to do. There's nobody left in Syria to train. We're going to get a regional army who doesn't like ISIL, who won't accept Assad, because he's a puppet of Iran. We're going in [with troops on] the ground, and we're going to destroy the caliphate, pull it up by roots, and we're going to hold the territory.
Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
I opposed Iraq war in 2003 & I oppose Syria war now

TRUMP: I am the only person on this dais--the only person--that fought very, very hard against us going into Iraq--that was in 2003. You have to know when to use the military. I'm the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

PAUL: I've made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies. Iran is now stronger because Hussein is gone. Hussein was the great bulwark and counterbalance to the Iranians. So when we complain about the Iranians, you need to remember that the Iraq War made it worse. Originally, Governor Bush was asked, "Was the Iraq War a mistake?", and he said, "No. We'd do it again." We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We're still paying the repercussions of a bad decision. We have make the decision now in Syria, should we topple Assad? I said no, because if you do, ISIS will now be in charge of Syria.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Sep 16, 2015
If we had bombed Syria, ISIS would control Damascus today

Had we bombed Assad, like President Obama wanted, and like Hillary Clinton wanted and many Republicans wanted, ISIS would be in Damascus today. ISIS would be in charge of Syria had we bombed Assad. Sometimes both sides of the civil war are evil. Every time we have toppled a secular dictator, we have gotten chaos, the rise of radical Islam, and we're more at risk. I think we need to think before we act, and know most interventions in the Middle East have actually backfired on us.
Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Sep 13, 2015
Voted for Afghan War, to capture Osama bin Laden

Q: You have said that you're not opposed to military action under certain circumstances. And in fact, the one time you voted for military action, I believe, in your career, had to do with Kosovo, which was a humanitarian crisis. Are we at that point, that Syria is such a humanitarian crisis that actually it does justify some military action to stabilize that country?

SANDERS: No. I voted also for the war in Afghanistan, because I believed that Osama bin Laden needed to be captured, needed to be brought to trial.

Q: Yes, sir, I apologize for that, yes, you did.

SANDERS: But I am very concerned about a lot of the war talk that I'm hearing from my Republican colleagues, who apparently have forgotten the cost of war and the errors made in Afghanistan and Iraq. And what I believe, very much, is that the most powerful military on Earth, the United States of America, that our government should do everything that we can to resolve international conflict in a way that does not require war.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

John Kasich on Homeland Security : Aug 16, 2015
Make a coalition to fight ISIS in Syria

Q: There was another beheading at the hands of ISIS. If you were sitting in the Oval Office now, would you commit more ground troops to fight ISIS?

A: I would be working to get other countries to jump in and join us. I don't want to go alone. Let me tell you what I would do. Firstly, I would have supported the rebels in Syria that were in there to topple Assad. Secondly, I would have a coalition of other countries, including us, on the ground beginning to degrade and destroy ISIS, because, as you begin to do it, that whole caliphate beings to fall apart.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Carly Fiorina on War & Peace : Aug 16, 2015
US must provide resources & leadership in fight against ISIS

I find the foreign policy of Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama entirely inconsistent. So we've done nothing in Syria. We really are sitting by when we could be leading a coalition of Arab allies to defeat ISIS. I disagree that we're at that point where we need to put tens of thousands of boots on the ground.

I think the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Kurds and the Egyptians are all fighting ISIS, as we speak, on the ground. They know this is their fight. Yes, they need leadership, resolve support and material from us. We haven't provided any of it. And if we did, it will make a big difference.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Aug 6, 2015
Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat ISIL

Q: You called for 20,000 American troops in Syria and Iraq. Why should the American people after two wars in Iraq sacrifice yet again on a third war?

GRAHAM: If we don't stop them over there, they are coming here just as sure as I stand here in front of you. One thing I want to be clear about tonight. If you're running for president of the United States & you don't understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you're not ready to be commander in chief. And you're not serious about destroying ISIL. According to the generals that I know and trust, this air campaign will not destroy ISIL. We need a ground force in Iraq and Syria, and America has to be part of that ground force. Syria's becoming a perfect platform to strike our nation. I've got a very simple strategy as your president against ISIL. Whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat them.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript

Rick Perry on War & Peace : Jun 4, 2015
ISIS is worst threat to freedom since Communism

A former Air Force pilot, Perry advocates muscular intervention on foreign policy. He believes that American ground troops may have to be deployed to fight the Islamic State, an extremist group that he said "represents the worst threat to freedom since Communism." He blames what he calls President Obama's "incompetence" in handling Iraq and Syria for the rise of the Islamic State.
Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: N. Y. Times 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : May 27, 2015
We cannot allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon

Rick served eight years on the Senate Armed Services Committee where he led the fight before the attacks of September 11, 2001 to transform our military from a Cold War force to meet today's threats. He was a leader on US-Israeli relations, authoring both the "Syria Accountability Act" and the "Iran Freedom and Support Act" which he successfully fought to pass in spite of initial opposition by President Bush. Rick firmly believes that we cannot allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2016 presidential campaign website RickSantorum.com, "About"

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Apr 12, 2015
Oppose bombing Assad in Syria because it strengthens ISIS

I didn't support the arming of the Syrian rebels, because I felt like it would make al Qaeda and ISIS worse. I didn't support the bombing of Assad. President Obama supported the bombing of Assad, and so did the neocons in my party. So, really, they're together in supporting many of these interventions. And I have been the one not supporting these interventions, because I feared, if you bombed Assad, you would allow ISIS to go stronger.

There are two million Christians in Syria. And you know what? If you asked them who would they choose, they would all choose Assad over ISIS, because they see the barbarity of perhaps both. But they see the utter depravity and barbarity of ISIS. And so bombing Assad probably isn't a good policy.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Feb 7, 2015
Hillary's War: Ousting Gadhafi in Libya gave rise to ISIS

Calling it "Hillary's war," Sen. Rand Paul told voters that the US intervention in Libya has been an "utter disaster" that empowered radical Islamist groups such as Islamic State.

Paul said Hillary Clinton was to blame for what he described as foreign-policy failures: she was a proponent of interventions during popular uprisings against the ruling regimes in Libya and Syria. "Hillary's war in Libya has been an utter disaster," Paul said. "There are now jihadists roaming all across Libya. It's a jihadist wonderland."

The US was part of an international coalition to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power in 2011. "Gadhafi was a secular dictator," Paul said. "Not the kind of guy that we want to have representing us in country, but he was secular. He didn't like radical Islam, and he kept them down because they were a threat to him. What happened when we toppled the secular dictator? Chaos. More radical Islam."

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 Wall Street Journal on 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Feb 7, 2015
Supporting rebels in Syrian Civil War gave rise to ISIS

Paul argued that US foreign policy in Libya, Syria & elsewhere had helped create threats such as Islamic State. Paul said Hillary Clinton was to blame for what he described as foreign-policy failures [because she] was a proponent of interventions during popular uprisings against the ruling regimes in Libya and Syria. Paul called the former secretary of state the "biggest cheerleader" for intervention in Syria and Libya and said that those policies had empowered radical Islamic groups in both countries.

In Syria, Paul said that Islamic State--a militant group operating in Syria and Iraq that is also known as ISIS--was essentially created by the US aid program under the Obama administration. "I think we have to do something about ISIS," he said. "But, you know why we're doing something and why we have to be there again? Because of a failed foreign policy that got us involved in a Syrian Civil War. By supporting the Islamic rebels, ISIS grew stronger and stronger. And now we have to go back."

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 Wall Street Journal on 2016 presidential hopefuls

Scott Walker on War & Peace : Feb 1, 2015
ISIS will attack on American soil; so take fight abroad

Q: You talk about big, bold, fresh ideas. What is your big, bold, fresh idea in Syria?

WALKER: Well, I'd go back to the red line [that Obama defined against use of chemical weapons].

Q: Let's not go back. Let's go forward. What is your big, bold idea in Syria?

WALKER: I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it's not a matter of IF they attempt an attack on American soil, but it's WHEN. We need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we're willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical.

Q: You don't think 2,000 air strikes is taking it to ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world.

Click for Scott Walker on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Scott Walker on War & Peace : Feb 1, 2015
Don't rule out US boots on the ground in Syria

Q: What should we do about ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world.

Q: I don't know what "aggressive" strategy means.

WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that's what it takes, because I think--

Q: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?

WALKER: I don't think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world--

Q: But you would not rule that out?

WALKER: I wouldn't rule anything out. I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don't allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.

Click for Scott Walker on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Tim Kaine on Foreign Policy : Jan 29, 2015
Open debate spurred Syria to destroy its chemical weapons

Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons to gas 1,500 civilians. The President said we gotta do something. The President did decide to bring it to Congress. Because that debate took time, Syria and Russia came to the table and said we will destroy our chemical weapons stockpile. In the middle of a civil war, they embarked upon the destruction of one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Coursera Lecture #58, "UVa student Q&A Part 3"

Tim Kaine on War & Peace : Jan 29, 2015
The public deserves robust debate before we go to war

This is the most important decision we make as a government. How does the public get educated about whether it's worth using military force in Libya or to stop Assad from using chemical weapons? By watching somebody propose military action and then somebody oppose it. And then have that debate back and forth. We shouldn't ask men and women to risk their lives on the battlefield if there's not a political consensus that says this mission is worth it. If there's any ambiguity between the executive and the legislature, then you're asking those who serve to risk their lives when the political branches of government haven't bothered to do the work to determine whether the mission is worthwhile. We should never ask anybody to sacrifice in that way.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: Coursera Lecture #54, "Problems of War Powers"

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 20, 2015
Authorize the use of force against ISIL

We've learned some costly lessons over the last 13 years. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership--including our military power--is stopping ISIL's advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2015 State of the Union address

Lindsey Graham on Homeland Security : Jan 18, 2015
The next stage of the fight against terrorism is in Africa

Q: Boko Haram slaughtered thousands in the same week that 17 people were killed in Paris [but the news was all about the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris]. Should the United States be doing more in Nigeria?

GRAHAM: Yeah, we should be doing more. But Boko Haram doesn't represent the threat to the homeland in my view that ISIL does and Al Nusra and other groups in Syria and Iraq. But this problem is spreading throughout the world. The next stage of the fight I think is Africa. But if we could show some resolve in Syria and Iraq and reset the table and go after these guys in Syria and Iraq with success, I think it would change the landscape throughout the world. Success anywhere breeds success everywhere. Failure in any one spot hurts you everywhere. But you're right, 2,000 people were killed in one weekend in Nigeria and the world basically ignored the story.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Jan 18, 2015
Returning from Iraq prematurely was a mistake

Q: Over the last 14 years, U.S. policy going after terrorist groups has been to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy. It's George W. Bush's policy; it's been President Obama's. Fourteen years, we've killed a lot of people, but we've not defeated this enemy. Why?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, once you liberate a country like Iraq, and you don't have a follow-up force, they fill in the gaps. Syria is a terror state. The civil war in Syria basically broke the country apart. And the only thing I can say is you have to deny the enemy safe haven. Returning from Iraq prematurely was a mistake. Not supporting the Free Syrian Army three or four years ago was a mistake. You've got to stay after these guys.

Q: What do you tell the country that's war-weary?

GRAHAM: You need to fight them over there or they're coming back here. It's better to partner than it is to go it alone. You've got to show the ability to stay with it. You try to get partners. The Free Syrian Army would be a good partner.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Jan 18, 2015
Form regional coalition to enforce no-fly zone in Syria

Q: You said, "Not supporting the Free Syrian Army three or four years ago was a mistake." Are you advocating more troops in Syria now?

GRAHAM: The answer now is to deny ISIL the safe haven they enjoy in Syria and Iraq because it is a platform to strike the United States. There are more [more terror attacks like in] Paris coming until you disrupt this network. There are more terrorist organizations with more safe havens, with more capability to hit the homeland than before 9/11. The answer is to form a regional coalition, America has to be part of it, go in on the ground, and get these guys out of Syria. The current strategy is failing. Everybody has told us on this trip that if you don't have a no-fly zone, the people we're training, the Free Syrian Army that we're training is going to go back into Syria and get slaughtered by Assad. There's no way to be successful on the ground without neutralizing Assad's air advantage. And so we need a no-fly zone desperately.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on Foreign Policy : Jan 15, 2015
Crazy for North Korea to use force; we'd declare war

Some argue that North Korea and Iran could be emboldened if the United States elects not to use force against Assad in Syria. This is simply not true. North Korea sits atop a stockpile of weapons in close proximity to tens of thousands of US troops. If Pyongyang ever used these weapons against our troops, they would see a massive response from the US. The American people would be united, and Congress would declare war in a heartbeat. For anyone to think otherwise--be they a hawkish American pundit or a North Korean despot--is crazy.

Likewise, Iran--or any nation developing nuclear weaponry--should not doubt the military strength and unified approach of the American people toward the terrorizing of US citizens and allies. Nor should these nations doubt that international resolve will coalesce and extract harsh penalties on nations that pursue these activities. Ultimately, the US cannot and will not take any option off the table in order to protect Israel and other regional democracies.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2015 official Senate website www.paul.senate.gov

Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy : Dec 2, 2014
Words matter: presidents should mean it when they say it

One of Bush's precepts was more of a slogan: "Words matter." He said that time and again, Obama has made threats or promises and then failed to act: "Presidents need to set United States aspirations and intentions where there is little gap between words and deeds," Bush said. "Think of the 'Russian reset.' Think of the 'Syrian red line.' Think of the 'pivot to Asia.' Think of taking out ISIS."

Bush said Obama failed to accomplish any of these goals: "It undermines our credibility in the world. Our allies don't trust us. And our enemies don't fear us. There is no situation worse for stability and peace than that," Bush said. "The iron rule of superpower deterrent is 'mean it when you say it.' And it has been broken by this president."

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Miami Herald 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Oct 31, 2014
ISIS's rise is because world has no clue where US will be

Jeb Bush directly blamed the rise of ISIS forces and other Mideast crises on a widespread lack of trust in Pres. Obama's statements. "A president's word matters," Bush said. "Language matters. The use of their bully pulpit matters. So when you say things like, 'We're gonna have a red line,' you need to mean it," Bush said.

Bush was referring to Obama's declaration in August 2012 that Syria's use of chemical weapons would cross "a red line for us," necessitating US military intervention. Obama reneged on that commitment following Syria's apparent actual use of such weapons a year later, claiming "I didn't set a red line; the world set a red line."

"Presidents need to accept responsibility for their language," Bush said. "The problem in America today is that our friends have no clue where we will be, and so they change their behavior." By contrast, he said, "our enemies have a clue where we will be and they change their behaviors as well. And so these voids are created and bad things happen."

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Theodore Kettle on Newsmax.com, "Rise of ISIS"

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2014
U.S. ground troops to fight ISIL in Syria and Iraq

Q: Has there been any success in at least containing ISIS in Iraq?

GRAHAM: There's been some. The idea of hitting them in Syria is long overdue. But this strategy of aerial bombardment is not going to work to destroy ISIL. We have a series of half- measures with ISIL that are going to draw this conflict out, and will not lead to the ISIL's destruction.

Q: That includes US ground troops?

GRAHAM: I think most Americans understand, if we don't destroy ISIL, if they survive our best shot, that we are all less safe. And you cannot destroy ISIL in Syria without a ground component. And what we're doing with the Free Syrian Army is militarily unsound. There is no way that I can see how we fix the problem in Iraq and Syria without American ground troops. So, Mr. President, level with the American people. You need boots on the ground. American soldiers need to go back to Syria and Iraq as part of a coalition. And we're going to need more than 4,000 to destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2014
2012: Arm the Syrian rebels & fight Assad's air force

We had a chance in 2012 to train the Free Syrian Army. They were about to beat Assad. Hezbollah came in with Iranian help to turn the tide of battle. The Russians doubled down, and we abandoned the Free Syrian Army. But this strategy we have regarding the Free Syrian Army is going to get all of these kids slaughtered if you don't deal with Assad's air force. We can win in Syria. It's going to take commitment. It's going to take effort. And God help us all if we don't win.
Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Peter King on War & Peace : Sep 21, 2014
Attacking ISIS in Syria is in our national interest

Q: Congress is now on record giving bipartisan approval to President Obama's plan to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Are we getting enough support, especially military support, active military action by our international allies?

KING: No, so far we're not. And where I disagree with the president on this--to me, attacking ISIS in Syria is in our national interest. Now if we can get allies, if we can get a coalition together, that's fine, and we should work on it. But we can't be beholden to a coalition because we're not doing this out of humanitarian purposes and quite frankly we're not doing it for the people of Syria or Iraq. Ultimately we're doing it because it's in our national interest to do so. And if that's the case, we can't be holding back. We should attack and strike and do all we can to the command and control centers that ISIS has in Syria. That is a key component of ISIS located in Syria so we shouldn't be waiting for other countries.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2014 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Sep 18, 2014
Don't arm Syrian rebels without a clear plan to combat ISIS

Three likely Republican White House contenders thrust the party's foreign policy divide into the spotlight with their votes and comments on a measure to arm moderate Syrian rebels. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted in favor of the plan, which passed, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz voted against it, with Paul opposing intervention and Cruz arguing that President Barack Obama had not provided a clear plan to combat Islamic State.

"Intervention is a mistake. Intervention when both sides are evil is a mistake. And yet, here we are again, wading into a civil war," Paul said. His doubts ran contrary to the thinking of Rubio, who advocated an aggressive response.

The debate over arming the rebels to fight the spread of Islamic State has exposed long-brewing schisms for Republicans: A divide between proponents of a muscular American foreign policy, like Rubio and Cruz, vs. advocates of a scaled-back international presence, like Paul.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: Reuters 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 18, 2014
Confront and defeat ISIL now, or we will have to do so later

Three likely Republican White House contenders thrust the party's foreign policy divide into the spotlight with their votes and comments on a measure to arm moderate Syrian rebels. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted in favor of the plan, which passed, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz voted against it, with Paul opposing intervention.

"Intervention is a mistake. Intervention when both sides are evil is a mistake. Intervention that destabilizes the Middle East is a mistake. And yet, here we are again, wading into a civil war," Paul said.

His doubts ran contrary to the thinking of Rubio, who advocated an aggressive response, saying the threat should have been addressed earlier. "If we do not confront and defeat ISIL now we will have to do so later, and it will take a lot longer, be a lot costlier, and be more painful," Rubio said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "If we fail to approve this, the nations of that region will say America is not truly engaged."

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Reuters 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Sep 18, 2014
Arming Syrian rebels wades into another civil war

Three likely Republican White House contenders thrust the party's foreign policy divide into the spotlight with their votes and comments on a measure to arm moderate Syrian rebels. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted in favor of the plan, which passed, Kentucky's Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz voted against it, with Paul opposing intervention.

"Intervention is a mistake. Intervention when both sides are evil is a mistake. Intervention that destabilizes the Middle East is a mistake. And yet, here we are again, wading into a civil war," Paul said.

His doubts ran contrary to the thinking of Rubio, who advocated an aggressive response, saying the threat should have been addressed earlier. "If we do not confront and defeat ISIL now we will have to do so later, and it will take a lot longer, be a lot costlier, and be more painful," Rubio said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "If we fail to approve this, the nations of that region will say America is not truly engaged."

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Reuters 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to target ISIL

Q: Are you ready for the president to order airstrikes in to Syria?

RUBIO: Absolutely. I think it's critical that we do that. If you're serious about defeating ISIL, you have to go after where they're headquartered. What is important to understand about their presence in Syria is that they are generating revenue in Syria, with former Assad refineries that they now control and they're generating revenue from. But all of their supplies, their command and control structure, is being operated from there. You cannot defeat ISIL unless you hit them in those parts of Syria that they now control, where the Syrian government is not even present. ISIL is a group that poses an immediate danger to the United States. And if we are serious about defeating them, then we must strike them both in Syria and in Iraq.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Airstrikes to topple Syrian government are counterproductive

Q: [In calling for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to target ISIL], this is a bit of a change for you, is it not? You were a little reluctant about going in to Syria, if I recall?

RUBIO: Well, if you recall, at that time, what the president characterized basically as a symbolic military action against the Assad government, which I thought would be counterproductive. I thought the best way to topple Assad was to arm, equip, train and capacitate moderate rebel elements within Syria. I thought that was a better approach. This is different. We're talking about targeting ISIL, which is a group that poses an immediate danger to the United States. And if we are serious about defeating them, then we must strike them both in Syria and in Iraq. The previous debate was about what to do with Assad, and I thought the best way to topple Assad was not through airstrikes, but through equipping the moderate rebel elements.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age, with Congress' approval

Q: You offered this scolding assessment of how the U.S. is confronting the threat from ISIS:

CRUZ (ON TAPE): What we ought to have is a direct concerted overwhelming air campaign to take them out.

Q (END TAPE): In Iraq and Syria?

CRUZ: The focus should be Iraq, but the real focus should be taking out ISIS. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try to resolve the civil war in Syria.

Q: You said that the U.S. should bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age. Should that take Congressional approval?

CRUZ: It should absolutely take Congressional approval, I think.

Q (voice-over): But not all Republicans agree. On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to the White House saying the president doesn't need Congress, he should act swiftly on his own. What advice would you give the president?

CRUZ: I think it is an urgent concern to strike while ISIS is vulnerable.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Paul Ryan on Homeland Security : Aug 24, 2014
We need strategy to defeat ISIS, before they come to America

Q: Is the president doing enough against ISIS? Will you support airstrikes into Syria if that becomes necessary?

RYAN: I don't think I am hearing enough from the president. What I want to hear from our commander in chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off, to defeat ISIS. Let's not forget that there are reportedly thousands of terrorists with foreign passports. If we don't deal with this threat now, thoroughly and convincingly, it is going to come home to roost. And so, no, I don't think the president has given us the kind of strategy we need. That is number one. Number two, I think we should let the generals determine the strategy, I don't want to be an armchair general and tell you how this needs to be done, but I would reference the fact that General Dempsey did say to do this correctly that Syria is going to have to be a part of this equation.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2014
More intervention in Iraq avoids an American city in flames

Graham said this week that if America didn't step up its military intervention in Iraq--a nation that U.S. troops occupied for eight years beginning in 2003--he envisioned "an American city in flames." This isn't the first time Graham has made such statements. Last year, he demanded an invasion of Syria--claiming that Iran would nuke the Port of Charleston if American troops didn't intervene.

[His opponent Thomas] Ravenel says, "Stop fearmongering using other people's sound bites--and other people's blood and treasure--and give us some hard numbers," Ravenel said. "Tell us exactly how much is it going to cost to mold Iraq into the country you want it to be? Trillions of dollars and thousands of lives have already been lost there in the name of 'nation-building'--yet the situation is worse than it's ever been."

President Barack Obama launched so-called "humanitarian" airstrikes in northern Iraq last week.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: FITS News on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Aug 10, 2014
Not helping Free Syrian Army left vacuum for ISIS to fill

Q: Are we at fault for not doing enough to build up a credible Syrian opposition when we could have?

A: I'm the one who convinced the administration to send an ambassador to Syria. I can't sit here today and say that if we had done what I recommended, that we'd be in a demonstrably different place.

Q: That's the president's argument, that we wouldn't be in a different place.

A: Well, if we were to carefully vet, train, and equip early on a core group of the developing Free Syrian Army, we would, #1, have some better insight on the ground. And #2, we would have been helped in standing up a credible political opposition.

Q: Would we be where we are with ISIS if the US had done more three years ago?

A: The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad---there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle---the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jul 14, 2014
Assist Iraqi government against ISIS, but not Syrian rebels

Gov. Perry writes, "the president can and must do more with our military and intelligence communities to help cripple the Islamic State. Meaningful assistance can include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sharing and airstrikes." The US is actually doing all of this now. President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.

I support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq, which include armaments and intelligence. I support using advanced technology to prevent ISIS from becoming a threat. I also want to stop sending U.S. aid and arms to Islamic rebels in Syria who are allied with ISIS, something Perry doesn't even address. I would argue that if anything, my ideas for this crisis are both stronger, and not rooted simply in bluster.

If the governor continues to insist that these proposals mean I'm somehow "ignoring ISIS," I'll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry's opinions.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Politico.com editorial by Sen. Paul, "Perry Dead Wrong"

Rick Perry on Foreign Policy : Jul 13, 2014
We can't isolate ourselves within our shores; we must engage

Q: You really whipped Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed: "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism would compound the threat of terrorism even further." Well, he responded today. He said, "Unlike Gov. Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq. I ask Gov. Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'"

PERRY: In that part of the world, we have allies there in the form of Israel and Jordan that expect us to stand with them, to help them. When you read his op-ed, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies. America can no longer draw a red line around the shore of America, and think that we're somehow or another not going to be impacted. We must engage and tactically, thoughtfully, use the assets that we have against ISIS to keep these individuals from being able to create an Islamic state.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jul 13, 2014
How many Americans should die to defend Iraq?

Q: [to Gov. Rick Perry]: You really whipped Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed: "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism would compound the threat of terrorism even further." He responded today. He said, "Unlike Gov. Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq; I support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq. I support using advanced technology to prevent ISIS from becoming a threat. I also want to stop sending U.S. and arms to Islamic rebels in Syria who are allied with ISIS, something Gov. Perry doesn't even address. I asked Governor Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'" He really takes exception to your criticism.

I disagree with Sen. Paul's representation of what America should be doing, and when you read his op-ed, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Jun 22, 2014
Provide more assistance to Jordan, to prepare against ISIS

Q: Given that ISIS is a direct throat to U.S. national security, what should this administration be doing?

RUBIO: ISIS wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in sections of both Syria and Iraq, and other places. Potentially, Jordan is next. This calls for us to continue to empower those moderate rebel forces in Syria who are engaged in conflict against ISIS, not just Assad. And I think we need to provide more assistance for Jordan, both in security and in their border, because I think this poses a risk to Jordan down the road, and one that we should take very seriously. The urgent action is to draw up plans that allow us to begin to degrade their supply lines and their ability to continue to move forward.

Q: With airstrikes?

RUBIO: Yes, that border between Iraq and Syria is quite porous. We have got to figure out a way to isolate ISIS from Syria and Iraq, isolate them from each other. And, then, look, I would leave the rest to military tacticians.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on Homeland Security : Jun 22, 2014
ISIS is a more serious threat than al Qaeda

Q: How serious is the threat posed by ISIS militants?

RUBIO: Certainly potentially more dangerous today than al Qaeda. They are an extremely radical group with increasing capabilities, and a very clear design. They want to establish an Islamic caliphate in sections of both Syria and Iraq, and other places. Potentially, Jordan is next. And then they want to launch attacks in the exterior, external operations, including targeting our homeland. This is an extremely serious national security risk for the country if they were to establish that safe haven of operation. The reason why al Qaeda was able to carry out the 9/11 attacks is because they had a safe operating space in Afghanistan that the Taliban had given them. And now history is trying to repeat itself here. ISIS is trying to establish the exact same thing in the Iraq-Syria region. And from this caliphate that they're setting up, they will continue to recruit and train and plot and plan and eventually carry out external operations.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2014
ISIS are nasty terrorists but no clear-cut American interest

Q: Do you see a clear-cut, American interest in Iraq?

PAUL: I see mostly confusion and chaos, and I think some of the chaos is created from getting involved in the Syrian civil war. You have to realize that some of the Islamic rebels that we have been supporting are actually allies of the group that is now in Iraq causing all of this trouble.

Q: ISIS, as a terrorist organization, has been billed by many as a clear and present danger. Do you see that?

PAUL: I look at it on a personal basis. I ask, "Do I want to send one of my sons, or your son, to fight to regain Mosul?" And I think, "Well ya, these are nasty terrorists, we should want to kill them." But I think, "Who should want to stop them more? Maybe the people who live there." Should not the Shiites, the Maliki government, should they not stand up? Yes, we should prevent them from exporting terror; but, I'm not so sure where the clear-cut, American interest is.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jun 17, 2014
2012: We helped Syrian rebels, but we should have done more

Mrs. Clinton argues that President Obama made a mistake by not more aggressively arming the moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces:

"As more parts of Syria slipped free from the regime's control, we would also help local opposition groups provide essential services, such as reopening schools and rebuilding homes. But all these steps were Band-Aids. The conflict would rage on. (Page 464)

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Wall Street Journal on Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton

Peter King on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
ISIS creates a privileged sanctuary from which to attack US

Q: ISIS control now extends beyond Iraq into Syria. This is a breeding ground for terrorists, Al Qaeda and offshoots of Al Qaeda. How do you view it then in terms of what we ought to do?

REP. PETER KING: That is a very real concern. There's no doubt that ISIS looks upon itself as an Iraq/Syria power and it definitely has talked with the United States going back to 2011 when it was just Al Qaeda and Iraq before the Syrian component had even kicked in. We captured a number of their officers in the United States, attempting to carry out an attack on Fort Knox. So clearly, if they can get good sanctuary in their Northeastern Syria, in Iraq, this makes it, in effect, a privileged sanctuary to attack the United States apart from the destabilization they can do throughout the Middle East, especially the countries such as Jordan and to Israel. And that also of course increases the power of Iran as far as being an influence in that region.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
ISIS makes Iraq & Syria the staging area for the next 9/11

Q: On the issue of Iraq, the toll so far: 4,424 deaths, 32,239 wounded, and then the cost of money, $770 billion. Why spend one more dollar or risk one more life?

GRAHAM: Because Iraq and Syria combined are going to be the staging area for the next 9/11 if we don't do something about it. The people holding ground in Iraq also hold ground in Syria. [We must attack ISIS to] stop the march on Baghdad. Form a new government. Send Petraeus and Crocker over, somebody who knows [what to do].

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
ISIS: bad things happen as a result of inaction

Q: What is worth fighting for in Iraq today?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, what we're fighting for is to preserve freedom in the region and to prevent the region from becoming a hotbed from which there could be attacks launched against us. But what has happened in Iraq and with ISIS is a good deal predictable by virtue of the president's failure to act appropriately and at the extraordinary time that was presented a couple of years ago in Syria. And also his failure to achieve a Status of Forces Agreement so that we could have an ongoing presence in Iraq. Bad things happen as a result of inaction. Consequences have obviously been very severe.

Q: So what would you do specifically?

ROMNEY: There's a propitious time to do things to prevent bad things from happening. to tell you precisely what's going to happen right now and what things we ought to do militarily o stop this ISIS movement from creating a terrorist state--that would require me to get the kind of intelligence briefings I no longer get.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jun 6, 2014
I wanted to arm Syrian rebels, along with regional partners

I returned to Washington reasonably confident that if we decided to begin arming and training moderate Syrian rebels, we could put in place effective coordination with our regional partners.

The risks of both action and inaction were high. Both choices would bring unintended consequences. The Presidents' inclination was to stay the present course and not take the significant further step of arming rebels. No one likes to lose a debate, including me. But this was the President's call and I respected his deliberations and decision. From the beginning of our partnership, he had promised me that would always get a fair hearing. And I always did. In this case, my position didn't prevail.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, CBS pre-release excerpts

Ajamu Baraka on War & Peace : Jun 4, 2014
US position of continued war in Syria ignores Assad election

The dominant narrative on Syria, carefully cultivated by Western state propagandists and the corporate media, is that the conflict in Syria is a courageous fight on the part of the majority of the Syrian people against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. By attacking "its own citizens," the Assad regime, representing the minority Alawite community, can only maintain its dominance over the rest of the country through sheer terror.

However, events in Syria, with the election being a dramatic example, continue to reveal fissures in that story. It became clear that substantial numbers of non-Alawite people and communities support the government.

The U.S. position is a position of continued war in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that Syria's presidential election was a "farce," and that the U.S. and its partners are prepared to quickly redouble efforts to support opposition forces in the county.

Click for Ajamu Baraka on other issues.   Source: Ajamu Baraka column in Counterpunch, "Syrian Elections"

Mitt Romney on Homeland Security : Mar 23, 2014
No new cold war with Russia, just very different interests

Q: [With the invasion of Crimea by Russia], have we reentered the cold war?

ROMNEY: No, we haven't entered that level of, if you will, cold conflict. But we certainly recognize that Russia has very different interests than ours. That Russia is going to push against us in every possible way. They have been doing it. Look, they blocked for many years the toughest sanctions against Iran. They stand with Assad and Syria. They stand with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. They link with some of the world's worst actors. They've sent a battleship into the Caribbean and to Cuba. They harbor Edward Snowden. All these things are designed to say, "hey look, we're pushing against the US." They are our geo-political adversary. And this is a playing field where we're going to determine whether the world is going to see freedom and economic opportunity or whether the world is going to see authoritarianism and Russia and Putin wants to be an authoritarian and that's not something that the world needs or wants.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Mar 23, 2014
Obama "screams loudly & carries no stick," in Russia & Syria

Graham and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) co-authored an op-ed on CNN saying Obama's "scream loudly and carry no stick" foreign policy had failed to deter Russia: "It's no wonder Putin has concluded that he's unlikely to face serious consequences for his imperial adventure. The U.S. did nothing when he invaded Georgia in 2008. More recently, we did nothing after the Syrian regime violated the 'red line' Obama had established regarding the use of chemical weapons there," they wrote.

Graham also released a new ad earlier this week touting his opposition to Obama on foreign policy: "He stands up for America and our troops, challenging the president, asking the tough questions on Iran, Benghazi and radical Islam," the ad's narrator says. "In a dangerous world where the only guarantee of peace is strength, Lindsey Graham stands strong."

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: The Hill AdWatch on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : Mar 23, 2014
Obama "screams loudly & carries no stick," in Russia & Syria

Sen Graham (R-SC) and Newt Gingrich co-authored an op-ed on CNN saying Obama's "scream loudly and carry no stick" foreign policy had failed to deter Russia: "It's no wonder Putin has concluded that he's unlikely to face serious consequences for his imperial adventure. The U.S. did nothing when he invaded Georgia in 2008. More recently, we did nothing after the Syrian regime violated the 'red line' Obama had established regarding the use of chemical weapons there," they wrote.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: The Hill blog on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Ted Cruz on Foreign Policy : Mar 9, 2014
Sanctions on Putin for Ukraine: tyrants respond to weakness

Q: On Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

CRUZ (VIDEO TAPE): A critical reason for Putin's aggression has been President Obama's weakness. That Putin fears no retribution. You better believe Putin sees in Benghazi four Americans are murdered and nothing happens. There is no retribution. You better believe that Putin sees that in Syria, Obama draws a red line and ignores the red line.

Q: (ON CAMERA): So how would you stand up? What would you do? Military action?

CRUZ: No. No, look, not at all.

Q: Sanctions? Would you do sanctions?

CRUZ: Absolutely, yes. There are a host of things we can do. Let's rewind the clock a little bit. #1, don't demonstrate weakness for five years. We have seen historically over and over again tyrants respond to weakness. We keep making that mistake with Putin. Putin is a KGB thug. When the protests began in Ukraine, the president should have stood unapologetically, emphatically for freedom. And when the US doesn't speak for freedom, tyrants notice.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rick Perry on Foreign Policy : Mar 8, 2014
Russia & Syria crises: price we pay for not leading world

America cannot sustain its current fiscal course. We cannot continue to borrow trillions from bankers in Beijing, Brazil and Tokyo. The downgrading of our credit for the first time two years ago should not have surprised anyone. Our debt has soared by trillions in the last 5 years.

How can the greatest nation on earth continue to spend its way to astounding debt without the bill ever coming due? How can we explode federal and state budgets with unreformed entitlement programs without the bill ever coming due?

How can we appease a Syrian tyrant, and embolden his Russian ally, without the bill ever coming due? There is a price to be paid for policies that destroy our economy and embolden our foreign enemies.

And I am here today to say we don't have to accept recent history. We just have to change the presidency. It is not too late for America to lead in the world. But it starts by leading at home. And it starts by returning to the founding principles of our democracy found in the Constitution.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention

John Bolton on Foreign Policy : Mar 7, 2014
Weak America means trouble in Russia, China, & Libya

We do not accept an America that is weak & declining. We do not accept an American military that is weak & poorly equipped, and in particular, we do not accept and American president who is weak, indecisive and apologetic about our country
Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 28, 2014
Support rebels in Syria who oppose terrorism

While we have put al Qaeda's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks.

American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve--a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the Union address

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jan 12, 2014
Assist Iraqi government in fighting ISIL

Q: Is there anything we can do now in Iraq?

RUBIO: I'd be open-minded to providing assistance to the Iraqi government in terms of training and equipment to allow them to deal with the challenges. I would not underestimate the impact that these rebels al Qaeda-linked forces in in Syria are now having cross border in Iraq. I think's going to be a growing factor. Some have asked me this week if I would support another invasion of Iraq, of course not. I don't think that's a solution at this point. But I think we're going to be dealing with this for some time. But ultimately, the only way to solve this problem is for the Iraqi government to be able to solve it. They need the military and security resources in the short-term. But in the long-term, they need a stable political process, otherwise this is going to be an ongoing problem forever.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2013
Support the Syrian rebels against Assad & Iran

Senator Graham is a vocal advocate for the rebels in Syria and wants the US to support the rebel forces to remove Syrian dictator Assad from power. "We need to be backing that Syrian that could replace Assad and live at peace with us." Graham insists. The Senator believes the US has little choice but to take action against Assad following the President's "red line" remark. Failing to do so will inevitably "diminish us."

When asked about the al Qaeda operatives disguised within the opposition, Graham stated, "The Syrian people started this revolution through peaceful demonstrations. These radical Islamists are hijacking this revolution." Senator Graham recognizes the danger posed by the extremists. In fact, this acknowledgment drives his contention that the US must involve itself in the Syrian civil war. "The Iranians are backing Assad for a reason." He says, "We need to be backing people who would replace Assad who are not radical Islamists and that's most Syrians"

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Edgefield Advertiser on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Peter King on War & Peace : Sep 9, 2013
Steadfastly support Israeli defense against Syria

As unrest continues to rock the Middle East, it is more important than ever that the United States steadfastly support the Jewish State's right to defend itself. The volatility in Syria presents substantial security risks to Israel and the world, particularly in terms of the power vacuum and the country's weapons stockpiles. On the Egyptian border, there is instability in the Sinai and a stream of weapons smuggling into Gaza. Moreover, President Morsi has made disgusting comments about Jews. I will remain vigilant in monitoring the various regime changes in the Middle East and their impact on Israel.
Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Congressional website, peteking.house.gov, "Issues"

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
2012: Red line on use of chemical weapons by Syria

President Obama declared that Syria's use of chemical weapons would cross a red line: "We have been very clear...that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said on Aug. 20, 2012.

Few disagreed with Obama's red line back then. Indeed, during the V.P. debate, Paul Ryan said that the GOP ticket agreed with Obama's red line on Syria's use of chemical weapons. Here's the exchange:

Q: What happens if Assad does not fall?

A: Then Iran keeps their greatest ally in the region. He's a sponsor of terrorism. He'll probably continue slaughtering his people. We and the world community will lose our credibility on this.

Q: So what would Romney-Ryan do about that credibility?

A: We agree with the same red line they do on chemical weapons, but not putting American troops in, other than to secure those chemical weapons. But what we should have done earlier is work with those freedom fighters, those dissidents in Syria."

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Mark Murray on NBC News

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
Intervention in Syria to degrade Assad's chemical weapons

[In response to Graham's support of intervention in Syria, his opponent] Nancy Mace has said intervention in Syria would just bolster the opposition that's dominated by al-Qaida. State Sen. Lee Bright said, "Lindsey Graham seem willing to go to the ends of the earth to help the Muslim Brotherhood."

Graham never engaged his foes directly, but his comments encapsulated the arduous sell to the public. "I don't want another Iraq or Afghanistan war because that's just not what we need to do," he said, before outlining his support for a contained military strike designed to degrade Syria's ability to deliver chemical weapons in the future and assist those who want to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Facing that strain of skepticism, Graham wound up his case on Syria intervention by raising the stakes considerably. He painted a frightening picture of cascading world events that would reverberate far beyond the borders of a civil war in one Middle Eastern country.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: US News & World Report on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
Getting Syria wrong leads to Iranian nukes & war with Israel

Graham wound up his case on Syria intervention by raising the stakes considerably. He painted a frightening picture of cascading world events that would reverberate far beyond the borders of a civil war in one Middle Eastern country. If the US doesn't deal with Syria, Graham promised Iran would acquire a nuclear weapon by 2014, the King of Jordan would be deposed and Israel would start preparing to protect itself. "I believe that if we get Syria wrong, within six months--and you can quote me on this," Graham said, pausing for dramatic effect. "There will be a war between Iran and Israel over their nuclear program." But it wouldn't even end there, Graham surmised. Undoubtedly, he said ominously, the Iranians would share its nuclear technology with US enemies. "My fear is that it won't come to America on top of a missile, it'll come in the belly of a ship in the Charleston or New York harbor," he said.
Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: US News & World Report on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Sep 5, 2013
Don't allow Syria to give WMD to terrorists

Looking back to 2012 is instructive: There was little disagreement--from Democrats or Republicans--about the potential consequences of Syria's use of chemical weapons. Obama declared: "We have been very clear...that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," on Aug. 20, 2012.

On Aug. 24, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that the US could send troops into Syria to secure lose chemical weapons: "I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies."

When asked about the threat that Syria's chemical weapons posed, Romney added: "There's a wide array of potential threats, but clearly the concern would be that some terrorist group would receive the capacity to carry out a mass destruction event."

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Mark Murray on NBC News

Andrew Cuomo on Foreign Policy : Sep 4, 2013
Follow Congressional process in Syrian intervention

Cuomo waded into Washington's debate on US military action against Syria: "I want to see an intelligent, sober, non-political discussion that comes up with an intelligent conclusion through a deliberative process," Cuomo said. "I want to see the federal government work, which means I don't want to see the gridlock we've been seeing. I don't want to see the hyper-partisanship we've been seeing that has political discussion rather than policy discussion."

Cuomo's comments come as Pres. Obama seeks authorization from Congress to strike Syria. Cuomo appeared to endorse Obama's approach of seeking congressional approval, even as Obama himself asserted that he retains the right to order strikes against Syria even without such authorization.

"This is a truly serious, phenomenally serious, topic," Cuomo said. "You're talking about a loss of life. You're talking about possibly putting Americans' lives in harm's way. So the process and the fact that government works and works well is critical here."

Click for Andrew Cuomo on other issues.   Source: Wall Street Journal: 2014 New York State gubernatorial race

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Sep 1, 2013
No US interests in either side of Syrian war

Q: The president says that the US must draw a line at the use of chemical weapons. Do you agree with that line in the sand?

PAUL: The line in the sand should be that America gets involved when American interests are threatened. I don't see American interests involved on either side of this Syrian war. I see Assad, who has protected Christians for a number of decades, and then I see the Islamic rebels on the other side who have been attacking Christians. I see Al Qaeda on the side we would go into support. And I don't see a clear-cut American interest. I don't see [the rebels, if] victorious, being an American ally.

Q: How would the US look if the president decided to take military action and Congress does not give that authority?

PAUL: I think it would show that he made a grave mistake when he drew a red line. When you set a red line that was not a good idea to beginning with, and now you're going to adhere to it to show your machismo, then you're really adding bad policy to bad policy

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Syria chemical attack violates essential international norm

Joe Biden said there is "no doubt" that Bashar al-Assad's regime is responsible for the chemical weapons attack earlier this month on Syrian civilians. "There is no doubt that an essential international norm has been violated--violated. Chemical weapons have been used," the vice president told the American Legion National Convention. "And there is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria: the Syrian regime."

"We know that the Syrian regime are the only ones who have the weapons--have used chemical weapons multiple times in the past, have the means of delivering those weapons, have been determined to wipe out exactly the places that were attacked by chemical weapons," he continued. "And instead of allowing U.N. inspectors immediate access, the government has repeatedly shelled the sites of the attack and blocked the investigation for five days."

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Obama rejected her 2012 plan to arm the Syrian rebels

Although Hillary Clinton hasn't weighed in on possible military intervention in the days since the latest chemical attack in Syria, she discussed the conflict in Syria in January, when asked what it would take for "America to intervene."

Clinton answered that while she thinks "we have been very actively involved," there needed to be a "credible opposition coalition," saying, "You cannot even attempt a political solution if you don't have a recognized force to counter the Assad regime."

"I think I've done what was possible to do over the last two years in trying to create or help stand up an opposition that was credible and could be an interlocutor in any kind of political negotiation," Clinton said.

In February it was revealed that the president rebuffed a plan last summer by Clinton, the CIA Director & Defense Secretary to arm the Syrian rebels.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Equip and train non-jihadist Syrians to topple Assad

Rubio released a statement noting that the nation has "significant national interests at stake in the conflict in Syria" and accused the president of "leading from behind."

Over two years ago, Rubio said, he urged the U.S. to "identify non-jihadist groups in Syria and help train and equip them so that they could not only topple Assad, but also be the best organized, trained and armed group on the ground in a post-Assad Syria." But failure to act means that "we are now left with no good options."

"Military action, taken simply to save face, is not a wise use of force," Rubio said. "My advice is to either lay out a comprehensive plan using all of the tools at our disposal that stands a reasonable chance of allowing the moderate opposition to remove Assad and replace him with a stable secular government. Or, at this point, simply focus our resources on helping our allies in the region protect themselves from the threat they and we will increasingly face from an unstable Syria."

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Unclear which side in Syria used chemical weapons

Santorum said, "The impact of the failure of this administration in both Egypt and in Syria is going to have a ripple effect in the Middle East and for our country for a long, long time. It's because we have a president who has decided to defer his foreign policy to the United Nations. He's a president who believes that America is not a moral force or a military or ideological force in the world."

Santorum said he has no "doubt" chemical weapons were used, but he is not sure which side used them, differing from the administration and most voices weighing in on the issue. "It wouldn't be a surprise to me that both sides were using them or that the radical Islamists are using them," Santorum said. "While I agree it is very clear that chemical weapons were used--the idea that we need to be punishing Assad and doing things to tip the balance in favor of al Qaeda who are running the rebel forces to me is a very questionable tactic of itself.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
No US weapons to kill Christians in Syria

Rand Paul continued to stress that "Congress declares war, not the president." Start with the Constitution, he said in an interview. "We have a separation of powers. The constitution says when we go to war Congress declares war, the president executes the war so congress doesn't get involved in the details of the war, but congress does have a very important role in whether we go to war or not."

Paul, a reliably libertarian voice, said in a statement that the situation in Syria lacks a "clear national security connection" to the U.S. but that the nation "should condemn the use of chemical weapons." There needs to be an "open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement."

Among his concerns, Paul said, is that there are "too many Christians that live in Syria... and I just don't want to see my kids or weapons of the U.S. used to kill Christians in Syria."

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: ABC News "Candidates stand on Syria"

John Bolton on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2013
Military force in Syria is counterproductive

Bolton said that while the civil war in Syria does involve American national security interests, action at this stage--more than two years into the bloody conflict--would be counterproductive. "It is a mess largely of the president's own creation," Bolton charged. "I think our credibility has been damaged, I think the president's credibility has been. But feckless use of military force would damage the country's credibility more."

Bolton said the Syrian opposition contains factions that are deeply hostile to the U.S., and there's no indication that propping them up would be any better for American interests. The U.S. would be better off focusing on threats emanating from Iran, he said. "If you use massive military force against Assad, then that will tip the balance, which I think would be a mistake," Bolton said, acknowledging that the situation is complicated. "If you use minimal force, you won't make the point about deterrence."

Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: Politico.com "Bush vets split"

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jun 16, 2013
Syria: arm rebels last year; now just work with some

Q: You pushed for a long time for the US to arm the rebels. Is this going to make a difference?

RUBIO: In foreign policy, timing matters. These were options for us a year and a half ago, before this became this chaotic. It behooved us to identify whether there were any elements there within Syria fighting against Assad that we could work with, reasonable people that wouldn't carry out human rights violations, and could be part of building a new Syria. We failed to do that. So now our options are quite limited. Now the strongest groups fighting against Assad, unfortunately, are al Qaeda-linked elements.

Q: So here, now, what would President Rubio do? Would you commit US forces to a no-fly zone?

RUBIO: If I was in charge of this issue, we never would have gotten to this point. That being said, I think we need to continue to search for elements on the ground that we can work with, so that if & when Assad falls, they will manage a future, hopefully democratic Syria, and peaceful Syria.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on War & Peace : Jun 16, 2013
Syria: Assad must go, and small arms won't do it

Q: What is the goal in Syria?

GRAHAM: I really don't know [Obama's goal]. But the goal should be to basically make sure Assad leaves. Last year, Assad was isolated; he was hanging by a thread. This year, he's entrenched with Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia. I think our goal should be in the short term is to balance the military power and providing small arms won't do it. So we need to create a no-fly zone to neutralize the Assad's air power.

Q: So you're saying [about Obama's plan] this is too late, this is too little?

GRAHAM: Right. What does it mean if they lose? Syria becomes a powder keg for the region. There's 60,000 Syrian children in Jordan. The kingdom is under siege in terms of refugees. Hezbollah is all over Syria, so Lebanon's even more unstable. Our policies are not working. And AK-47s will not neutralize the advantage that Assad has over the rebels. We need to do more.

Q: So only by taking out Assad can we have peace in this civil war?

GRAHAM: Assad must go.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2013
Syria's Assad crossed "red line" by using chemical weapons

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a Washington audience Saturday that the U.S. should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Palin argued that the U.S. should not intervene in any Middle East conflict as long as President Obama remains in office.

"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.

This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Erik Wasson on TheHill.com

Sarah Palin on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2013
No military intervention in Syria: 'Let Allah sort it out'

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a Washington audience Saturday that the U.S. should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Palin argued that the U.S. should not intervene in any Middle East conflict as long as President Obama remains in office.

"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.

This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Erik Wasson on TheHill.com

Rand Paul on Foreign Policy : Jun 13, 2013
US aid enables a war on Christianity in the Middle East

Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run--persecuted or under fire--and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them. While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant "Death to America," more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.

Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don't have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.

It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Faith & Freedom Coalition speech: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : May 9, 2013
Iraq's lesson: Be cautious on declaring Syrian WMDs

Q: Sen. John McCain has criticized the administration's foreign policy for not being tough enough, for issuing veiled threats, at best, and being overly cautious. Now that we know Syria is using chemical weapons on its own people, how does that change the administration's approach?

A: I disagree with the basic premise. When we came into office, there were two wars raging: one without any sense of how to end it and the other without any sense of how to manage it; Al Qaeda was on the ascendancy; all of that has changed. But with regard to Syria: we don't want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying "weapons of mass destruction." We know that there have been traces found of what are probably chemical weapons. The president is likely to use a proportional response in terms of meaningful action [inclusive internationally and within Syria]. The one lesson we learned from Iraq and the last administration is, in managing the affairs in Iraq, they destroyed every institution.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Douglas Brinkley in Rolling Stone Magazine

Peter King on War & Peace : May 5, 2013
Assad is evil, but arming rebels brings another dictator

Q: Is it time for the US to directly arm the Syrian rebels?

KING: I have real concerns. The reason I say that is that so much time has gone by, and unfortunately, to a large extent, al Qaeda elements have a lot of control within the rebel movements. My concern is that, by arming the rebels, we could be strengthening al Qaeda. So, whatever arming we do--and obviously, Assad is evil, and everyone is interested that he go--but if we are going to arm the rebels, we have to make sure that those arms are not going to end up in the possession of al Qaeda supporters nor at the end game is al Qaeda going to be in a position to take over this movement.

Q: That's a pretty high bar, right? I mean, we put weapons into countries a lot and don't know where they're going to end up.

KING: Until we have a better understanding of where the weapons will be going, I'm very concerned that we're just replacing one terrible dictator with a terrible ideological movement, which is aimed at our destruction.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Martin O`Malley on Foreign Policy : Apr 24, 2013
Respect my right to shy away from foreign policy

On his 8-day trip to Israel, Jordan & the Palestinian territories, O'Malley said, "I'm sure all of you will ask me foreign policy questions. I respect your right to ask them, and I hope you'll respect my right to shy away from answering them."

On the news of the day--apparent differences between Obama and the Israeli military on whether chemical weapons had been deployed by the Syrian military--O'Malley deferred to the president's judgment. "It's certainly one of the great challenges," he allowed.

Asked whether the American people, weary from a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, would be ready to engage in another military operation to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, O'Malley avoided specifics. "I believe that the president will make that call," he said, "and the president will have the primary responsibility of making that case to the American people and also to Congress."

How about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? "All of us hope for peace in the Middle East."

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: N.Y.Times on 2014 Maryland gubernatorial race

Martin O`Malley on Foreign Policy : Apr 24, 2013
Israeli separation barrier might be called "peace wall"

Governor O'Malley, 50, said it was his third visit to Israel, and that he had brought with him about 50 high-tech executives, Jewish leaders, and Maryland officials for what is essentially a trade mission. After a side trip to Jordan in which he met with Prince Faisal--"What we spoke about was the huge challenge that the ongoing conflict in Syria has for the entire region"--much of his itinerary here is filled with companies that have offices in his home state, including one that makes radar for the vaunted Iron Dome missile defense system.

A reporter pointed out that on his way into Bethlehem, he would see the controversial separation barrier Israel has erected in the West Bank. O'Malley said he had seen something similar in Northern Ireland. "They call it the peace wall," he noted.

Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: N.Y.Times on 2014 Maryland gubernatorial race

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Mar 4, 2013
Syria's Assad must go, but carefully vet who gets aid

The US and Israel have a shared interest in Syria. Assad has shown his father's disregard for human life and dignity, engaging in brutal murder of his own citizens. Our position on that tragedy could not be clearer: Assad must go. But we are not signing up for one murderous gang replacing another in Damascus.

That's why our focus is on supporting a legitimate opposition not only committed to a peaceful Syria but to a peaceful region. We're carefully vetting those to whom we provide assistance. That's why, while putting relentless pressure on Assad and sanctioning the pro-regime, Iranian-backed militia, we've also designated al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.

And because we recognize the great danger Assad's chemical and biological arsenals pose to Israel and the US, to the whole world, we've set a clear red line against the use of the transfer of the those weapons. And we will work together to prevent this conflict and these horrific weapons from threatening Israel's security.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Feb 4, 2013
Assad is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people; he must go

I'll be meeting with the leaders of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. Pres. Obama and I and nearly all of our partners and allies are convinced that President Assad, a tyrant, hell-bent on clinging to power, is no longer fit to lead the Syrian people and he must go.

We can all agree on the increasingly desperate plight of the Syrian people and the responsibility of the international community to address that plight. Just this week the international community came together to pledge $1.5 billion for humanitarian support for the Syrian people and refugees fleeing the violence. As part of that effort, President Obama announced that we would be contributing $155 million.

In Libya, NATO acted quickly, effectively and decisively. And now we are working together to support Libya in building effective institutions of governance. We've joined forces in response to the unprecedented promise & unresolved turmoil of the Arab Spring--from Tunis to Tripoli to Sana'a--and it's going to be required to continue.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany

Jill Stein on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Stop the flow of arms to Syria on both sides

OBAMA: [In Syria] we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. But what we can't do is, as Governor Romney has suggested, giving heavy weapons to the Syrian opposition.

ROMNEY: The right course is to identify responsible parties within Syria, organize them, bring them together, and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves.

STEIN: It's as if there's collective amnesia here, as if we didn't just go through a decade, $5 trillion and thousands of U.S. soldiers whose lives have been sacrificed, and far more civilians whose lives have been lost, in an attempted military resolution in Iraq and in Afghanistan. So with a far smaller commitment, how in the world are they thinking that a lesser degree of military intervention is going to solve the problem? This is a failed policy from its very conception. With arms flowing in to both sides in Syria, you have really a catastrophe in the making. We need to stop the flow of the arms.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: Democracy Now! Expanded Third Obama-Romney 2012 debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
We organized world community to agree that Assad has to go

Q: It's been more than a year since you told Assad he had to go. Since then 30,000 Syrians have died. Should we reassess our policy?

OBAMA: What we've done is organize the international community, saying Assad has to go. We've mobilized sanctions against that government. We have made sure that they are isolated. We have provided humanitarian assistance, and we are helping the opposition organize. But ultimately, Syrians are going to have to determine their own future. Everything we're doing, we're doing in consultation with our partners, including Israel and Turkey and other countries in the region that have a great interest in this. Now, what we're seeing taking place in Syria is heartbreaking, and that's why we are going to do everything we can to make sure that we are helping the opposition. I am confident that Assad's days are numbered, but we also have to recognize that for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step.

ROMNEY: Syria is a humanitarian disaster.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Syria is humanitarian disaster; arm the rebels

OBAMA: We have to help the [Syrian] opposition [in a way] that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us. But what we can't do is, as Gov. Romney has suggested, give heavy weapons to the Syrian opposition.

ROMNEY: First of all, 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster. Secondly, Syria's an opportunity for us because Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens our ally Israel. And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us. A replacement government is critical for us [but] we don't want to get drawn into a military conflict. And so the right course for us is to identify responsible parties within Syria, bring them together in a form of council that can take the lead in Syria, and then make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
No military involvement in Syria; work with our allies

ROMNEY: [In Syria], we should be playing the leadership role there, not on the ground with military--

OBAMA: We are playing the leadership role. We organized the "Friends of Syria." We are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition.

Q: Would you go beyond what the administration would do? Like, for example, would you put in no-fly zones over Syria?

ROMNEY: I don't want to have our military involved in Syria. I don't think there's a necessity to put our military in Syria at this stage. I don't anticipate that in the future. As I indicated, our objectives are to replace Assad and to have in place a new government which is friendly to us--a responsible government, if possible. And I want to make sure the get armed and they have the arms necessary to defend themselves but also to remove Assad. But I do not want to see a military involvement on the part of our troops.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on Foreign Policy : Oct 11, 2012
Equivocating makes our enemies more likely to attack us

RYAN: We should have spoken out right away when the Green Revolution was up and starting, when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people. We should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights, and we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we're cutting our own defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness, and when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us, they're more brazen in their attacks.

BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
Syria not like Libya; intervention would ignite the region

Q: In March of last year, President Obama explained the military action taken in Libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. So why doesn't the same logic apply in Syria?

BIDEN: It's a different country. It's a different country. It is five times as large geographically. It has 1/5 the population that is Libya. It's in a part of the world where you're not going to see whatever would come from that war. If it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars. And all this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. But we would not be going through the UN.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
No boots on the ground in Syria, but stop acting thru UN

BIDEN: All this loose talk of [Ryan and] Romney, about how we could do so much more there, what more would they do other than put American boots on the ground? The last thing America needs is to get into another ground war in the Middle East.

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to send American troops to Syria. How would we do things differently? We wouldn't refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he's killing his own civilians. We wouldn't be outsourcing our foreign policy to the UN. After international pressure mounted, then President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It's been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people and more foreign fighters are spilling into this country. So the longer this has gone on, the more groups like al-Qaida are going in.

BIDEN: What would you do differently?

RYAN: We would not be going through the UN. Things like embargoes and sanctions and overflights--those are things that don't put American troops on the ground.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Paul Ryan on Foreign Policy : Sep 14, 2012
Confident exercise of US leadership keeps peace in Mideast

Peace, freedom, and civilized values have enemies in this world, as we have been reminded by events in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. [Our enemies] are extremists who operate by violence and intimidation. And the least equivocation or mixed signal only makes them bolder. Look across that region today, and what do we see?Amid all these threats & dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership. In the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose. Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome. That is how we keep problems abroad from becoming crises. That is what keeps the peace. And that is what we will have in a Romney-Ryan administration.
Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: Speech at 2012 Values Voters Summit

Condoleezza Rice on War & Peace : Aug 29, 2012
We should support free people, including Syria

We have seen that the desire for liberty and freedom is, indeed, universal, as men and women in the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty, internal strife, and hostile neighbors our challenging the young, fragile democracy of Iraq. Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and threat to regional security. Russia and China prevent a response, and everyone asks, where does America stand?

Indeed, that is the question of the hour. Where does America stand? You see when the friends or foes alike don't know the answer to that question, unambiguously and clearly, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic place. Since world war II, the US has had an answer to that question. We stand for free peoples and free markets. We will defend and support them.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Aug 24, 2012
Troops to Syria if Assad spreads chemical weapons

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that he would send U.S. troops to Syria if needed to prevent the spread of chemical weapons.

"I think we have to also be ready to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that we do not have any kind of weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists and whether that requires troops, or whether that requires other actions by our friends and allies," Romney said in an interview, specifically noting that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been involved in the region.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Steve Peoples on Huffington Post Politics

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Aug 21, 2012
Syrian use of chemical weapon is "red line" for intervention

Obama has declared the threat of chemical or biological warfare in Syria a "red line" for the US, outlining for the first time the point at which his administration could feel forced to intervene militarily in the Arab country's increasingly messy conflict. It is widely thought that Syria possesses extensive chemical and biological weapon stockpiles, and it has threatened to use them if the country comes under foreign attack.

"That's an issue that doesn't just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel," Obama said. "We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people."

The president said: "We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that's a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons." Obama reiterated his call for Assad to step down.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in Newsday

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2012
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan went on too long

Both candidates agreed that the U.S. should not commit to military action in Syria, and said that while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began for noble reasons, they went on too long. Only a bit of disagreement came when Dewhurst said the Obama administration pulled combat troops out of Iraq too soon and should have left some behind.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debates

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Apr 25, 2012
Military action should be on the table in Iran & Syria

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the U.S. should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

And Rubio made clear that military action should be on the table in Iran. "We should also be preparing our allies, and the world, for the reality that unfortunately, if all else fails, preventing a nuclear Iran may, tragically, require a military solution," he said.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Apr 25, 2012
America needs a foreign policy of engaging abroad

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the US should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken in Iran. "I disagree with voices in my own party who argue we should not engage at all. Who warn we should heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go 'abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,'" said Rubio. "I disagree, because all around us we see the human face of America's influence in the world."
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : Jan 7, 2012
Stay in Afghanistan until security of our country is secure

Q: Would you send troops back into Iraq right now?

SANTORUM: Well, I wouldn't right now, but we need someone who has a strong vision for the region and we have not had that with this president. He has been making mistakes at every turn in Iran, in Egypt, I would argue, Libya, Syria, Israel. All of these places, he has made mistakes on the ground that have shown the people in that region that we are the weak horse. That is something that cannot happen because it will cause events like you're seeing in the Straits of Hormuz. There will be push. America is soft and so they can be pushed around. That's what this administration has done. They did it by withdrawing from Iraq, and [the same] if we get out of Afghanistan. Let's just wait and see how things turn out when the United States isn't there and see how consequential our efforts were for the stability of that region.

HUNTSMAN: So how long do you want to wait?

SANTORUM: Until the security of our country is ensured.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 22, 2011
Syrian brutality must end; Assad must step down

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad threatens to "fan the flames" of sectarian conflict not only in Syria but in the wider region, Biden said. "Assad and his regime are the source of instability in Syria now and pose the greatest danger to fanning flames of sectarian conflict not only in Syria but beyond," Biden told the Turkish president when they met Friday.

Biden said the "number one objective" was to get the Syrian regime to stop killing civilians and for Assad to quit power. "The US position on Syria is clear. The Syrian regime must end its brutality against its own people and President Assad must step down so a peaceful transition that respects the will of the people can take place," Biden said.

Biden called for a peaceful transition in Syria and broader global sanctions over the crackdown. "Syria's stability is important. That is exactly why we are insisting on change -- it is the current situation that is unstable," Biden said in response to emailed questions from a Turkish newspaper.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Agence France Presse on Naharnet Newsdesk (Lebanon)

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
Iran is isolated, and will be more so when Syria falls

Q: After the Iraq war, is Iran in a stronger position than it would have been without the Iraq war? Because Saddam Hussein was Iran`s sworn enemy, and now, a new Iraq is in some ways a de facto ally of Iran.

BIDEN: Well, the argument was made early on that we removed two of Iran`s most greatest concerns, Saddam in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the result now, in part because of some really outrageous moves that Iran has made, it actually has lost power in the entire region. The fact of the matter is its only ally left in the region is about to be toppled. That is in Syria with Bashar Assad. But the biggest thing that`s happened is the president has been able to unite the world, including Russia and China, in continuing to ostracize and to isolate Iran. So, the truth is, the capacity of Iran to project power in the Gulf is actually diminished. They are less feared. They have less influence than they have had any time, I would argue, in the last 20 years.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Interview in MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Rick Perry on War & Peace : Nov 22, 2011
Sanction the Iranian Central Bank; no-fly zone over Syria

Q: Do you believe that there is any set of sanctions that could be put in place that would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

PERRY: Absolutely. We need to sanction the Iranian Central Bank. That would be one of the most powerful ways to impact that. That is what we need to do before we ever start having any conversations about a military strike, is to use every sanction that we have. And when you sanction the Iranian Central Bank, that will shut down that economy. At that particular point in time, they truly have to deal with the US. All of them working together--and I'm talking about Syria--bring them into the mix as well. One of the options is to have a no-fly zone over Syria at the same time you're putting those types of sanctions against Iran. And in that moment, they will understand that America is serious. This President refuses to do that, and it's another show of lack of leadership from the President of the US.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: 2011 CNN National Security GOP primary debate

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 12, 2011
Supports intervention in Libya & tougher sanctions on Syria

[Rubio is a] new member of the Foreign Relations Committee. "I am a big believer that very little of what happens in our daily lives is not directly influenced by things that are happening around the world," Rubio explains. "We're not Liechtenstein; we're not Monaco; we're the United States. So our interests are found globally everywhere. The world needs a strong, decisive America as much as ever," he adds.

Rubio has not been shy in pushing for that sort of muscular foreign policy approach. In hearings, he has been an outspoken voice for intervention in Libya ever since the anti-government protesters first began clashing with dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi's forces over the winter. He supported a push for a resolution to authorize the use of American military force.

On the unrest in Syria, where the Obama administration has moved cautiously in pressuring strongman Bashar al-Assad, Rubio teamed with Lieberman to introduce a resolution calling for tougher sanctions on the Assad regime.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Congressional Quarterly Profiles: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Sarah Palin on Foreign Policy : Sep 24, 2008
We cannot meet rogue leaders without conditions

Q: Should the U.S. negotiate with leaders like President Assad and Ahmadinejad?

A: I think, with Ahmadinejad, personally, he is not one to negotiate with. You can’t just sit down with him with no preconditions being met. Barack Obama is so off-base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met. That’s beyond naive. And it’s beyond bad judgment. I’ve never heard Henry Kissinger say, “Yeah, I’ll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met.” Diplomacy is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up allies and positions and figuring out what sanctions perhaps could be implemented if things weren’t gonna go right. That’s part of diplomacy.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jul 22, 2008
Appropriate for Israel to take out Syrian nuclear reactor

Q: How likely do you think a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iran may be?

A: I will not hypothesize on that. I think Israel has a right to defend itself. But I will not speculate on the difficult judgment that they would have to make in a whole host of possible scenarios.

Q: This is not a speculative question then. Was it appropriate, in your view, for Israel to take out that suspected Syrian nuclear site last year?

A: Yes. I think that there was sufficient evidence that they were developing a site using a nuclear or using a blueprint that was similar to the North Korean model. There was some concern as to what the rationale for that site would be. And, again, ultimately, I think these are decisions that the Israelis have to make. But, you know, the Israelis live in a very tough neighborhood where a lot of folks, publicly proclaim Israel as an enemy and then act on those proclamations.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Mike Huckabee on War & Peace : Jan 27, 2008
Saddam might have had WMD and got them to Syria before 2003

Q: At the last debate you said that Saddam Hussein may, in fact, have had weapons of mass destruction when the US invaded in 2003. You said, “Now, everybody can look back and say, ‘Oh, well, we didn’t find the weapons.’ It doesn’t mean they weren’t there Just because you didn’t find every Easter egg didn’t mean that it wasn’t planted.” Governor, the Iraq Survey Group looked around Iraq for months after the invasion, could find no evidence that Saddam Hussein had an active WMD program when he was ousted, nor any active stockpile of weapons. Do you have any evidence for that contention?

Q: Oh, I don’t have any evidence. But he was the one who announced openly that he did have weapons of mass destruction. My point was that, no, we didn’t find them. Did they get into Syria? Did they get into some remote area of Jordan? Did they go to some other place? We don’t know. They may not have existed. But simply saying, “We didn’t find them, so therefore they didn’t exist,” is a bit of an overreach.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series

Barack Obama on Principles & Values : Nov 11, 2007
Gave away all Rezko “boneheaded” donations to charity

Obama’s longtime relationship with a Syrian-born realtor, Antoin Rezko, has dented his image. Rezko, now under federal indictment for favor-trading and fraud, was one of Obama’s first funders, and over the years he contributed about $150,000 to Obama’s various campaigns. Obama’s law firm represented Rezko, and as a state legislator he recommended the developer for state housing grants that netted Rezko and a partner $855,000 in fees. Obama didn’t seem to notice that a number of Rezko buildings in his low-income district failed.

Obama has given all the Rezko money currently in his larder to charity, and he has called the land deal [he made with Rezko for Obama’s personal home] “boneheaded,” putting it down to anxieties about purchasing a first home (though his family had previously lived in a Hyde Park condo). No one has alleged that Obama did anything illegal, but his slip-sliding response to questions about Rezko suggests that, should he succeed, he will not drive every pig from the trough.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 74-76

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Aug 5, 2007
Keep option to attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan, but don’t say it

Q: Sen. Obama said, “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf will not act, we will.” You said you didn’t agree with Obama’s plan and you called it “ill-timed and ill-considered.”

A: Yes, I think Barack Obama is confused as to who are our friends and who are our enemies. In his first year, he wants to meet with Castro & Chavez & Assad & Ahmadinejad. Those are our enemies. Those are the world’s worst tyrants. And then he says he wants to unilaterally go in and potentially bomb a nation which is our friend. We’re trying to strengthen Musharraf.

Q: But if the CIA said, “We had Osama bin Laden in our sights, Musharraf says no,” what do you do?

A: It’s wrong for a person running for the president to get on TV and say, “We’re going to go into your country unilaterally.” Of course, America always maintains our option to do whatever we think is in the best interests of America. But we keep our options quiet.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Jul 23, 2007
Meet with enemy leaders; it’s a disgrace that we have not

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them--which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration--is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when he called them an evil empire. He understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward. And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jul 23, 2007
Diplomacy yes; propaganda no; when meeting enemy leaders

Q: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba & N.Korea?

OBAMA: I would. The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous. I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort but not a high level meeting before you know what the intentions are. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro & Hugo Chavez & the president of North Korea, Iran & Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : May 20, 2007
Iraq & Syria are enemies--ok to talk if we understand that

GINGRICH [to Dodd]: The Baker-Hamilton Commission suggested that we engage Iran & Syria, who are our enemies in the region. The fact is the Iranians want us defeated. The Iranians are providing weapons, training and money to defeat us. This would be like saying, “Why don’t we turn to Nazi Germany to help us manage fascist Italy?”

DODD: The idea we don’t talk to the Syrians & Iranians in a moment like this, I think, is terribly naive and dangerous for the country, in my view.

GINGRICH: I’m perfectly happy to talk to Syrians and the Iranians. We’ve had a number of secretaries of state who’ve gone to Damascus, several of whom have been snubbed. Our secretary of state was snubbed the other day by the Iranians. I just want us to understand who we’re talking about. Reagan had no doubt that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. He had a clear vision of the Cold War. He said, “We win, they lose.” And he did what you’re calling for. They unraveled the Soviet empire, largely without firing a shot.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 12, 2004
Terrorists are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran

OBAMA: The Bush administration could not find a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. WMD are not found in Iraq. And so, it is absolutely true that we have a network of terrorists, but it takes a huge leap of logic to suddenly suggest that that means that we invade Iraq. Saudi Arabia has a whole bunch of terrorists, so have Syria and Iran, and all across the globe. To mount full-scale invasions as a consequence is a bad strategy. It makes more sense for us to focus on those terrorists who are active to try to roll them up where we have evidence that in fact these countries are being used as staging grounds that would potentially cause us eminent harm, and then we go in. The US has to reserve all military options in facing such an imminent threat- but we have to do it wisely.

KEYES: That’s the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bush’s hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: [Xref Obama] IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network

Condoleezza Rice on War & Peace : Oct 16, 2001
Syria must decide: either for terrorism or against it

Q: How about Syria?

A: We do not believe that Syria can be against al Qaeda, but in favor of other terrorist groups. But we have had some discussions with Syria. President Bush invites countries to stop the practice of harboring terrorism.

Q: So if Syria does not cooperate against people who are from Jihad or Hamas, they should be targeted also?

A: We have ruled out at this point issues that draw distinctions between types of terrorism. We just don’t think that’s the right thing to do. You can’t say there are good terrorists and there are bad terrorists. But the means that we use with different countries to get them to stop harboring terrorists may be very broad. And there are many means at our disposal.

There are not a lot of discussions with Syria, but we have had discussions with Syria that suggest: get out of the business of sponsoring terrorism. We’re asking that of every state of the world. You cannot be neutral in this fight; you either are for terrorism or against it.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Nov 11, 1999
Extend peace treaties to Palestinians, Syrians & Lebanese

The message of Oslo [was]: How we can fulfill Rabin’s legacy by bidding farewell to generations of war and ushering in a new century of real and lasting peace? The same must be true on all of Israel’s borders so that the peace that now covers some will be a peace that extends to all-Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Remarks at Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center

  • Additional quotations related to Syria issues can be found under War & Peace.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on War & Peace.
Candidates on War & Peace:


 Related issues:
Afghanistan
American Exceptionalism
Arab Spring
China
Foreign Aid
Iranian Nukes
Iraq
ISIS
Israel & Palestine
NAFTA
North Korea
Refugee Crisis
SDI Missile Defense
United Nations
War on Terror
WMD

2016 Presidential primary contenders:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(D-NY)
Sen.Tim Kaine(D-VA,VP)
Donald Trump(R-NY)
Gov.Mike Pence(R-IN,VP)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Gov.Bill Weld(L-MA,VP)
Dr.Jill Stein(G-MA)
Ajamu Baraka(G-VP)
Evan McMullin(I-UT)

Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
Secy.John Kerry
2015-16 Presidential primary contenders:
Gov.Jeb Bush(R-FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(T-MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(R-NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(T-TX)
CEO Carly Fiorina(R-CA)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(R-LA)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(D-MD)
Sen.Rand Paul(R-KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(R-TX)
Sen.Marco Rubio(R-FL)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(I-VT)
Sen.Rick Santorum(R-PA)
Jill Stein(G-MA)
Gov.Scott Walker(R-WI)
Sen.James Webb(D-VA)
Please consider volunteering for OnTheIssues!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Oct 14, 2016