Recap of Sunday Talk Shows: U.S Policy on Syria

Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war dominated Sunday talks shows, as presidential candidates and experts presented what should be U.S. policy in Syria and the war against ISIS.

Below are some excerpts from presidential candidates Donald Trump and Chris Christie, Senator John McCain and former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson:

Donald Trump on Syria: “I think what I want to do is I want to sit back, and this does not sound like me very much, but I want to sit back and I want to see what happens… I spoke to a general who’s very you know much, he said, ‘Mr. Trump, we have no idea who these people are.’ They may be worse than Assad. So we’re going to spend all of this effort, all of this. We’ll probably have to go against Iran now. And Iran, we’re making Iran rich and powerful. You notice Iran now is coming in with the ground troops. They have 150 billion dollars all of the sudden they’re rich. The sanctions are gone, everything’s gone. What we’ve done with Iran is one of the most incompetent things I’ve ever seen. So now, we have this and we’re going to fight for people that we don’t even know who they are. Now if you look at Libya, you look at Gaddafi, you look at what’s gone on there, you look at Iraq, with Saddam Hussein. I mean do you think we’re better off now? Cause I personally don’t.” [ABC’s This Week] “I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS– and it’s going to be ISIS. I’ll tell ya why. Putin has to get rid of ISIS ’cause Putin doesn’t want ISIS coming into Russia.” [NBC’s Meet the Press]

McCain responds to Trump’s position on Syria: “I just don’t think he – one, I don’t think he understands very well the situation. And he’s entitled to his opinion. As far as other members of my party are concerned, that all I can say is that, I know the realities. I have been there for years. We have said what needed to be done and predicted what was going to happen. If there isn’t a reassertion of American leadership in a variety of ways, such as recommended by General David Petraeus and many other experts, then we will face further consequences of an abject failure of American leadership.” [CNN’s State of the Union]

Chris Christie on Syria: Donald should be concerned that he’s agreeing with Barack Obama, because just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. And just when you think this foreign policy can’t cost more to the American people, it does. We don’t need to be friends with Vladimir Putin and we don’t need to be worried about whether he’s in a quagmire. After 40 years, we allowed Russia back into the Middle East. And now who are they partnered with? Iran… America’s got to re-establish its presence in that area. We should be the ones leading the fight on ISIS…  Only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could mess up this foreign policy that badly. And anybody who agrees with allowing the Russians into the Middle East is just painfully naive.” [ABC’s This Week]

Former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson: “What we need in Syria is an international coalition that basically gets [Syrian President Bashar] Assad out in some kind of transition, maybe he doesn’t lose his power completely, but we need an international coalition there..” [The Cats Roundtable on New York’s AM970]

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