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Topics in the News: Syria


Pete Buttigieg on War & Peace : May 6, 2019
Be more judicious when committing troops

Buttigieg thinks there should be a higher standard for committing American troops overseas. He's criticized the threat of sending ground troops to places such as˙Venezuela or Syria, though he would support targeted military action in Syria. "There has to be a pathway to ending endless war." He thinks America is losing credibility overseas and should re-establish itself as a world leader through diplomacy. The current policy of America˙first, he has said, is leaving America isolated.
Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: Indianapolis Star on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Apr 6, 2019
Support goals of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: PBS Newshour, "Jewish voters," on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Julian Castro on War & Peace : Mar 31, 2019
Opposed troops in Syria, but have to plan withdrawal

I think that many folks recognize that it was time for us to pull out of Syria. However, once you're there, you have to make sure that you have a plan for your operations there and for your withdrawal. I do believe, and I agree with folks that say, that both for our own sake, for the sake of our troops, for the sake of our allies, once you're there, you have to actually have a solid plan for how you're going to withdraw.
Click for Julian Castro on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2018 interviews for 2020 Democratic primary

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Mar 21, 2019
Recognize 1967 Israel's annexation of Golan Heights

Senior Israeli officials stated that the Trump administration is planning to formally recognise Israel's authority over the occupied Golan Heights after decades of non-recognition by the US and others. [Trump issued a formal proclamation on March 25]. The Golan Heights were captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 from the Syrian army, which used the strategic high ground overlooking Galilee to launch attacks on Israeli territory. Since then, the area has been recognised as highly strategic in maintaining Israel's dominance over the Syrian border.

Israel administered the Heights through military law until 1981, in the same way in which it administered the West Bank and Gaza Strip, before the Menachem Begin government directly applied Israeli law and effectively annexed the territory to the Israeli state.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Middle East Monitor on Trump Cabinet, "Golan Heights"

Beto O`Rourke on War & Peace : Mar 14, 2019
Discuss U.S. policy in Syria in a more meaningful way

Afghanistan and Syria: It is not clear where O'Rourke stands on President Donald Trump's proposed withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria.

O'Rourke has said he thinks U.S. policy in Syria should be debated and discussed in a more meaningful way. It is not clear if he supports troop withdrawal from the country. Likewise it is not clear if he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Click for Beto O`Rourke on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : Mar 12, 2019
No more wars for regime change, like Syria and Afghanistan

Her big idea: A central part of Ms Gabbard's campaign has been her call for an end to US-led "regime change wars"--in Syria and Afghanistan. She also condemns runaway military spending as a "new arms race". As a major in the US Army reserve and a veteran of the Iraq War, Ms Gabbard has a unique perch from which to launch her critique.

Her biggest obstacle: Her foreign policy has also been a source of controversy. In 2017 she met President Bashar Assad in Syria and has questioned the international consensus that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own citizens.

"I served in a war in Iraq, a war that was based on lies," she said. "I think that the evidence needs to be gathered." She refused to label Mr Assad as a "war criminal"--a position that sets her well apart from the majority of US politicians and the American people.

Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: BBC.com on 2020 Democratic primary contenders at 2019 SXSW

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : Mar 11, 2019
U.S. government lied to American people to launch Iraq War

Gabbard would not say whether she believes Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal -- the latest in a string of skeptical comments about whether Assad was, as the United Nations concluded, behind an April 2017 chemical weapons attack. "I think that the evidence needs to be gathered and, as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such," Gabbard said.

Gabbard also would not say whether she would trust the American intelligence community as president. "We have, in our recent past, a situation where our own government told lies to the American people, and to the United Nations for that matter, to launch a war," she said.

Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : Mar 10, 2019
Oppose regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Iran

As a soldier, I know the cost of war. And as president and commander-in-chief, I will end these regime-change wars. Regime-change wars that we are seeing still being carried out in Syria, regime-change wars that this current administration is threatening to carry out in countries like Venezuela, laying down the groundwork in Iran. We see throughout decades how this policy has persisted through both Democrat and Republican administrations and the negative impact that these wars have caused.
Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary

Bernie Sanders on War & Peace : Feb 19, 2019
End Syrian conflict; pull out U.S. troops

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Pete Buttigieg on War & Peace : Feb 15, 2019
Pull troops out of Afghanistan, but not Syria

Buttigieg says his experience serving as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan helped shaped his views. Buttigieg supports pulling troops out of Afghanistan, but has criticized Trump's plans to withdraw from Syria.
Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: PBS Newshour on 2020 Democratic primary

Amy Klobuchar on War & Peace : Feb 10, 2019
Keep US military presence in Syria

Klobuchar opposed President's Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria. Earlier this month, Klobuchar highlighted her opposition by voting in favor of bipartisan legislation that rebuked Trump's position. At the time of the vote, all the senators who had already announced they were running in 2020 or had declared their intention to run voted against the bill.
Click for Amy Klobuchar on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

John Delaney on War & Peace : Feb 4, 2019
Withdraw military aid from Saudi forces fighting in Yemen

Click for John Delaney on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Kamala Harris on War & Peace : Jan 21, 2019
Time for a political solution in Afghanistan

Click for Kamala Harris on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Tulsi Gabbard on Foreign Policy : Jan 20, 2019
Defends meeting Syria's Assad; supports Trump on North Korea

Q: You met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during that trip to Syria in 2017...

A: It continues to be very important for any leader in this country to be willing to meet with others, whether they be friends or adversaries or potential adversaries, if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country. It's why I have urged and continue to urge President Trump to meet with people like Kim Jong-un in North Korea, because we understand what's at stake here.

Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: CNN 2019 "State of the Union" on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Elizabeth Warren on War & Peace : Jan 17, 2019
Withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria

Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Kirsten Gillibrand on War & Peace : Jan 16, 2019
Withdraw from Afghanistan & Syria

Click for Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : Jan 14, 2019
End US support for Saudi-led conflict in Yemen

Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Julian Castro on War & Peace : Jan 12, 2019
Withdraw US troops from Syria

Click for Julian Castro on other issues.   Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Dec 22, 2018
We've beaten ISIS in Syria; bring US troops home

Just two days after US Secretary of Defense James Mattis quit, the top US envoy fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, also resigned as Washington reeled from US President Donald Trump's dramatic announcement that he planned to pull US troops out of Syria. McGurk, in his resignation letter, said that the militants were still on the run but not yet defeated, and that the early withdrawal of American troops from Syria would re-create the conditions that gave rise to ISIS.

Trump continued with his slew of tweets defending the Syria announcement. "We were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago--we never left. When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We're coming home!" Trump wrote.

Trump's declaration of triumph has alarmed key NATO allies, who said such a change of course on Syria risks damaging the fight against Islamic State.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Jerusalem Post on 2020 presidential hopefuls

John Kasich on War & Peace : Jun 6, 2018
War on terror should focus on threats to US homeland

After 17 years, the war on terrorism has become a series of open-ended commitments. In Afghanistan, Pres. Obama put in place a series of half measures, and Pres. Trump sent additional troops into a conflict that cannot be resolved militarily. Both presidents' decisions were mistakes. We must now look instead to diplomacy to negotiate a sustainable US exit.

Regarding ISIS, in Syria and Iraq, the terrorists' strongholds have been all but eliminated. The only remaining core US interest at stake is preventing ISIS from using those countries to mount future attacks against us.

Going forward, we need to be much more careful and focused about how we fight terrorism. We have to develop better criteria for when to intervene abroad. In particular, we should restrict our major counterterrorism efforts to instances in which our homeland is directly at risk. When it is not, we should avoid getting embroiled in civil wars and instead use diplomacy to rally international partners to assume the lead.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Kasich column in Foreign Affairs: 2020 Presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Jan 29, 2018
2016: secret plan to defeat ISIS; 2018: caliphate gone

Donald Trump made this pledge in April 2016: "We're gonna beat ISIS very, very quickly, folks. I have a great plan. They ask, 'What is it?' Well, I'd rather not say."

At the time, it seemed unlikely he would ever have to make good on the promise. However, Trump's surprise victory gave him the chance to back up his claim. Many were openly skeptical he could do it.

But one year into the Trump administration, the facts on the ground--in Syria and Iraq--have changed dramatically. The 'Caliphate' announced with such fanfare in the summer of 2014 was in tatters. "We have made, alongside our coalition partners, more progress against these evil terrorists in the past several months than in the past several years," Trump proclaimed last fall. So is ISIS now defeated?

President Trump deserves credit for hastening the downfall of their Caliphate. However, ISIS 2018 will launch an insurgency in its former territory. ISIS has access to electronic spaces where it can continue recruitment efforts.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Heritage Commentary on 2018 Trump Administration

Bernie Sanders on Foreign Policy : Sep 21, 2017
1991: We give $7B to feudalistic dictatorships in Mideast

As a freshman congressman in 1991, I voted against the first Persian Gulf War, which laid the groundwork for our future involvement in the Gulf. In one of my earliest speeches in Congress, I went to the house floor and said, "Despite the fact that we are now aligned with such Middle Eastern governments such as Syria, a terrorist dictatorship, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, a feudalistic dictatorships, and Egypt, a one-party state that receives $7 Billion in debt forgiveness to wage this war with us, I believe that, in the long run, the action unleashed last night will go strongly against our interests in the Middle East. Clearly, the United States and its allies will win this war, but the death and destruction caused will, in my opinion, not be forgotten by the poor people of the Third World and the people of the Middle East in particular... I fear that one day we will regret that decision and that we are in fact laying the groundwork for more and more wars in that region for years to come."
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Where We Go From Here, by Bernie Sanders, p.88-9

Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace : May 27, 2017
Opposes fighting in Afghanistan & Syria; end arms to Saudis

She has called for pulling out of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history, suggesting that the government invest the money instead into "rebuilding our own nation through long-term infrastructure projects." She's opposed US intervention in Syria since 2013, air strikes in Iraq, and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. She backed Sanders in the Democratic primary because of Clinton's record of supporting "interventionist regime change wars."
Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Apr 8, 2017
One-time missile strike in response to Syria chemical attack

As a private citizen and candidate, Trump argued that Syria's civil war was not America's problem. But as president, Trump launched a missile strike on Russia's ally Assad, after the Kremlin intervened in last year's election on his behalf.

The missile strike, in response to a chemical weapons attack, was intended to be a limited, one-time operation, and the president seemed determined to quickly move on. Critics, including Senator Marco Rubio, argued that Syria's President Assad felt free to launch a chemical attack precisely because the Trump administration had given him a green light.

Trump's action in Syria was welcomed by many traditional American allies who had fretted over Obama's reluctance to take a greater leadership role in the Middle East. After the missile strike, Israeli news outlets were filled with headlines like "The Americans Are Back," and European leaders expressed relief both that he had taken action and that he had not gone too far.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: N.Y. Times on Trump Administration promises & actions

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Apr 8, 2017
OpEd: now believes that US has national interest in Syria

Intentionally or not, Trump has adopted language similar to that used by Obama & many other presidents in defining American priorities in Syria. While in the past Trump said the US did not have a national interest in Syria, last week he said instability there was "threatening the US and its allies." He also said that "America stands for justice," espousing a responsibility to act in cases of human rights abuses, as other presidents have at times. Until now, Trump has largely eschewed such language.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: N.Y. Times on Trump Administration promises & actions

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Apr 8, 2017
Stay out of Syria, and keep Syrians out of America

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Straits Times (Singapore) on Trump Administration promises

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Apr 8, 2017
2013: warned Obama against bombing Syria; 2017: bombed Syria

Trump had a blunt warning for his predecessor. "We should stay the hell out of Syria," he wrote on Twitter in June 2013, after Obama directed US forces to increase support to Syrian rebels in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons.

Nearly four years later, now president himself and grappling with how to respond to another chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, Trump ignored his own warnings and did what Obama threatened but never carried out: order a missile strike targeting assets of President Assad.

To understand the magnitude of Trump's reversal, look at his Twitter account. Trump posted dozens of tweets about the conflict in the years before he declared his candidacy for the White House, and frequently did so during the campaign as well. He carved out a staunchly noninterventionist stance on the conflict and criticised Obama's approach as plodding. But he also made one thing clear: If he was in charge, any action would be swift and secretive to catch Assad off guard.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Straits Times (Singapore) on Trump Administration promises

Bob Corker on Foreign Policy : Feb 13, 2017
Russia a bad actor, not moral equivalent to US

Q: Your views on Russia?

Corker: I do not see Russia as a friend of the United States in any form or fashion. Are there some things that we might be able to work together on? Sure. We certainly haven't seen evidence of their desire to fight terrorism with us. I mean, we see them kill civilians, and you know, help [Syrian President Bashar] Assad concentrate more fully his power.

Q: Trump said that he couldn't agree with criticism of Putin and that it was in effect hypocritical because we're killers too, here in America. Is that something that you agree with?

Corker: I see no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia. So look, they've got grievances. But I don't see the moral equivalency at all, and so I would strongly disagree with that.

Click for Bob Corker on other issues.   Source: Susan Glasser on Politico.com on 2018 Tennessee Senate race

Tulsi Gabbard on Foreign Policy : Jan 31, 2017
U.S. should focus on fighting terrorism, not regime change

Gabbard has long advocated that the U.S. should focus its efforts in Syria on Islamist groups instead of ousting Assad. She introduced legislation that would bar the U.S. government from supporting groups allied with or supporting terrorist organizations, some of which are fighting against the Assad regime. Her views on Syria appear to align more closely with those of President Trump, who says the U.S. should focus its efforts on defeating ISIS.
Click for Tulsi Gabbard on other issues.   Source: The Atlantic, "Gabbard to Syria": 2020 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 19, 2016
No US troops as occupying force in Iraq

CLINTON: I will not support putting American soldiers into Iraq as an occupying force. I don't think that is in our interest, and I don't think that would be smart to do. That would be a big red flag waving for ISIS to reconstitute itself. I'm going to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria to gain leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians so we can have the kind of serious negotiation necessary to bring the conflict to an end.

TRUMP: Three months ago, I read that they're going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise? We announce we're going after Mosul. These people have all left.

CLINTON: The goal here is to take back Mosul. It's going to be a hard fight. I've got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters. I am hopeful that the hard work that American military advisers have done will pay off and that we will see a successful military operation.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Oct 19, 2016
Benefits of no-fly zone against ISIS outweigh risks

CLINTON: We need to go after the leadership [of ISIS]. There are an estimated several thousand fighters in Mosul. They've been prepared to defend. It's going to be tough fighting. But I think we can take back Mosul, and then we can move on into Syria and take back Raqqa.

TRUMP: Assad turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought. Everyone thought he was gone two years ago. He aligned with Russia. We don't know who the rebels are. But if they overthrow Assad, as bad as Assad is, you may very well end up with worse than Assad.

CLINTON: I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I'm aware of the concerns that you have expressed. This would not be done on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground. We've had millions of people leave Syria and those millions of people inside Syria who have been dislocated.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Oct 19, 2016
If we overthrow Assad, we could end up with worse than Assad

CLINTON: I think we can take back Mosul, and then we can move on into Syria and take back Raqqa.

TRUMP: Assad turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought. Everyone thought he was gone two years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We don't know who the rebels are. But if they overthrow Assad, as bad as Assad is, and he's a bad guy, but you may very well end up with worse than Assad.

CLINTON: I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I'm aware of the concerns that you have expressed. This would not be done on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground.

TRUMP: We are so outplayed on missiles, on cease-fires. But our country is so outplayed by Putin and Assad, and by the way--and by Iran. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News

Bill Weld on Foreign Policy : Oct 10, 2016
Priority is not "no fly zone" but to stop killing in Aleppo

Hillary Clinton: There is an effort by the Russian Air Force to destroy Aleppo to eliminate the Syrian rebels. I advocate a no-fly zones & safe zones.

Bill Weld: Clinton's "no fly zone" for Syria risks war. Our policy would have been more restrained than hers. Half of the population of rebel-held Aleppo have said they will leave if there is a path. I am afraid that Assad is going to take the territory. My priority now would be to prevent further slaughter of innocents in Aleppo.

Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: N.Y. Times on Second 2016 Presidential Debate

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Oct 9, 2016
Cooperate with Russia when possible & stand up when needed

Q: What would you do about Syria's humanitarian crisis?

A: Russia hasn't paid any attention to ISIS. They're interested in keeping Assad in power. When I was secretary of state, I advocated--and I advocate today--a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution unless there is some leverage over them. I want to emphasize that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it's all in, in Syria. They've also decided who they want to see become president of the US, too, and it's not me. I've stood up to Russia. I've taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president. Wherever we can cooperate with Russia, that's fine. And I did as secretary of state. That's how we got a treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It's how we got the sanctions on Iran that put a lid on the Iranian nuclear program without firing a single shot.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Second 2016 Presidential Debate at Washington University

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

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

Bill Weld on War & Peace : Oct 3, 2016
Supports libertarian "restraint" on military action

Weld has always been fiscally conservative and socially liberal, he says: "I've self-identified as a small-l libertarian since I was in law school." On military matters, he was once a typical GOP hawk, but events in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have made him reconsider and he now supports Johnson's more "restrained" posture.
Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: Molly Ball in The Atlantic: 2020 presidential hopefuls

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

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

Amy Klobuchar on Foreign Policy : Jun 12, 2016
Fight ISIS Internet recruiting, but don't indict Islam

Q: Your reaction to news of a mass shooting in the "Pulse" nightclub in Florida?

KLOBUCHAR: Having been the local prosecutor during 9/11 when they caught Moussaoui, in our state [Minnesota], I know that you want to make sure that you have the evidence clear before you make statements about a solution. But we know some of the things that have to happen here. The continual work to root out this evil at its roots at the enclave of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, to stop the flow of the international money, to go after the recruiting that we've seen in the US over the Internet.

Q: In Minnesota, there have been numerous cases about people being recruited to part of the ISIS campaign?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes; dozens of indictments & recent jury verdicts. And what we've found is that individual people are recruited over the Internet. No mom wants their kid recruited to go fight for ISIS. You don't want to indict an entire religion, you don't want to indict an entire community over a lone wolf.

Click for Amy Klobuchar on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2016: interviews for 2016 Veepstakes

Donald Trump on Foreign Policy : Mar 3, 2016
OpEd: Insulting all Muslims hurts our fight against ISIS

Let me turn to national security and the safety of our homes and loved ones. Mr. Trump's bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.

And then what he said about on "60 Minutes". Did you hear this? It was about Syria and ISIS, and it has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the entire campaign season. Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants.

Now, think about that. Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over an entire country? This recklessness is recklessness in the extreme. Now, Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I'm afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Transcript of Mitt Romney Speech on Donald Trump Nomination

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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: 2016 presidential hopefuls on Syrian Refugees by NBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cory Booker on Foreign Policy : Oct 14, 2013
No head in the sand; but no global police

Both Booker and Lonegan opposed a US attack on Syria, though in the first debate last Friday, only Lonegan ruled out any reconsideration. Lonegan and Booker, also in the first debate, scoffed at the notion of the U. as an international police force. Both expressed deep wariness about recent diplomatic outreaches to Iran.

Neither Booker nor Lonegan would qualify as a "hawk," but Booker is more receptive to the deployment of U. forces. Asked a Syria-inspired question in the first debate about "America's role in the world," Booker said the US should be willing to combat genocide, while Lonegan countered that the military's role is to "defend our borders and our trade routes."

That drew a rebuttal from Booker: "We cannot, like Mr. Lonegan suggests, just stick our heads in the sand and protect our borders. We have to be involved in the international community in a way that works with others to stop terrorism, other problems--famines to genocide--that are going on in the world," Booker said

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: WHYY NewsWorks.org on 2014 New Jersey Senate race

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"

Cory Booker on War & Peace : Aug 5, 2013
Direct military intervention in Syria only as last resort

[All four Democratic candidates] agreed the United States shouldn't take any rash actions against Russia for harboring Edward Snowden, but said it should pressure that country against instituting restrictive laws against gays. All four said the United States should be careful in how it deals with Syria, advocating against direct military intervention except as a last resort.
Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: Star-Ledger coverage of 2013 N.J. Senate debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on 2012 election

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

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

Mike Gravel on War & Peace : Sep 13, 2007
Pull American troops out; it can be done in 120 days

I’m running for president because no one else is prepared to end this war. And it should be ended. We should pull American troops out, as soon as possible. And it can be done in 120 days. And what we can then do is begin an aggressive diplomacy. And that would mean to go to Iran, go to Syria. And tell these people, help us restabilize the region that we destabilized, and tell them we made a mistake in doing this. A tragic mistake, and it puts the whole world at risk of a possible nuclear confrontation.
Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line 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

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

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

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