Cong. Tom Cotton (R) is going it alone, again.
As the only member of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation to currently support limited intervention in Syria, Cotton says the U.S. must respond to the chemical weapons attack to maintain regional credibility and to protect against larger threats to U.S. national interests.
“I’ve been in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one wants to go to war less than someone who’s had to fight in it, and no one is more frustrated with Pres. Obama’s indecision and lack of leadership that got us to the point today where we are in Syria,” Cotton said in an appearance on KARK Ch. 4’s Capitol View. “But nonetheless, we are at the present moment – and I do believe that our core national security interests are at stake in Syria – and that’s why I think that we need to act, just like we should have acted long ago.”
Describing Syria as a “broader proxy war” in the Middle East, Cotton says the chemical weapons strike on civilians by the Syrian government and an appropriate U.S. response is crucial to American credibility in the region. If Syria is not punished for its chemical weapons use, Iran could be emboldened to move forward with its nuclear weapons development.
“In Iran, they’re still developing nuclear weapons. So if you’re the supreme leader of Iran and you see the President’s unwillingness to enforce and stand by his own words on Syria, why would he stop what is perceived to be a developing program?” Cotton asked.
Cotton, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D), has suggested a regime change in Syria, but he contends that it would not involve sending American troops into the country as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I don’t advocate for troops on the ground. I don’t think anybody anticipates troops going into Syria,” he said. “I think that’s a common misunderstanding right now. A lot of people hear about a use of force resolution in Congress and they think about Iraq or Afghanistan because those are the most recent precedents. Something much more like Kosovo would be called for in Syria when Pres. Clinton had a sustained campaign against the pillars of power in Kosovo.”
Missile strikes can not only degrade chemical weapons capabilities, but can also weaken military power and crucial infrastructure in a way that curtails Syrian military strength, Cotton said. In turn, those actions could assist moderate, pro-Western rebels.
Watch Cotton’s full interview in the video below, including more of his comments on Syria, his thoughts on a continuing resolution to keep the U.S. government functioning, and some lighter Q&A on a personal level.