ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
US senators call for arming of Syrian opposition
Publication Date : 01-06-2012
Two American senators have expressed anger and disgust over the violence and latest massacre in Syria, saying they are embarrassed that Washington has refused to show leadership on the issue.
Republican Senator John McCain said it was time to act and time to give the Syrian opposition the weapons to defend themselves.
McCain who is here with Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman for a working visit said both of them shared their strong feeling of repugnant anger and disgust on the latest developments in Syria during their meetings with Malaysian leaders.
“It is not a fair fight that Russian arms continue to flow into Syria and obviously the opposition is not prepared to take on (President) Bashar Al-Assad from the brutal murders, rape and torture that continue to be Bashar’s instrument of trying to maintain control of Syria,” he said at a joint press conference with Lieberman yesterday.
McCain said he expected “significant debate” before the presidential election about “America’s role in the world, about our leadership, about our commitment to the fundamental rights.”
“I think a lot of Americans are asking the question, why are we standing by while innocent children are being murdered and we use nothing but rhetoric in response,” he said.
Lieberman hoped the issue would become a campaign issue because “America should judge itself by the extent to which we follow a foreign policy that has a moral and humanitarian component to it”.
On the presence of the United States to counterbalance the show of strength by China in the South China Sea, McCain said a strong American political and military commitment in Asia was needed to ensure regional stability and to help peacefully resolve the territorial dispute in the area.
“We do not envision confrontation with China.
“What we do envision is strengthening our ties and military alliance with countries in the region like Malaysia.”
Lieberman stressed although the United States was not looking for confrontation with China, it would not simply roll over and accept anything that China asserted.
“It is our foreign policy to protect the freedom of the seas,” he added.