McConnell: Obama Lacks Broader Strategy for Syria, World

Senate minority leader explains why he's not supporting a limited military strike in Syria.
9:44 | 09/10/13

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Transcript for McConnell: Obama Lacks Broader Strategy for Syria, World
This morning there are initial reports that suggests Syria is supportive out. Let me remind everyone that even if this is agreed to is still a long. Way -- to reaching an agreement at the United Nations. To Syria gaining entry to the chemical weapons convention. And to eventually securing and destroying. The stockpile. As we've -- in my own state of Kentucky where we've been working for thirty years to finally destroyed a stockpile chemical weapons. Destroying chemical weapons it is extremely. Challenger. And requires a great deal of attention. To detail. And safety. Nonetheless. This proposal evolved it was worth exploring. What more broadly. And this is my larger point this one punitive strike were debating could not make up for the president's performance. Over the last five years. The only one. The only way for him to achieve the credibility he fixes by embracing the -- serious. Integrated national security plan that -- -- strategy. The resources. Capabilities. To commitment. And which shows our allies around the world of the US -- fully engaged and ready to act at a moment's notice. In all the major areas of concern. Around the globe. Whether it's the Mediterranean. The Persian gulf. Or in the south China -- And just as importantly. That he's willing to invest in that strategy for the long term. In Syria a limited strike would not resolve the civil war there. Nor will it remove Musharraf from power. There appears to be no broader strategy to train advise and ourselves -- vetted opposition group on a meaningful scale. As we did during the Cold War. What's needed in Syria. Here's what's needed almost everywhere else in the world from America right now a clear strategy and a president determined. To carry it out. When it comes to Syria our partners in the Middle East countries like Turkey Jordan. Saudi Arabia and Israel all of them placed real consequences from instability. Refugee flows. And the growth of terrorist networks. Responding to this crisis requires a regional strategy. And leadership. What we've got -- is an administration seems more interest in and telling us what the mission is not. More -- telling us what the mission is not. Then what it. We've gotten the same Tenet. Reluctant leadership that -- -- from the president for nearly five years. -- obvious this decision was naughty. When the president of the United States ask you to take a question like this seriously. You do so. Because just as our credibility in Syria is -- -- -- our credibility in places like Iran and North Korea. So too is the credibility of the commander in chief tied up to a large extent -- America's credibility and journal. There's no doubt about that. So let me repeat. I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with -- president or any other in any case where our vital national security interest -- -- Our treaty allies or attack. Or we faith. And imminent threat. As for Israel. Very few people if anyone expect that Syria would test its readiness to respond. On -- -- which just goes to show you the importance of credibility on the world's it. As prime minister Netanyahu put it last week the enemies of Israel have very good reason not to test -- it's might. But the prime minister should -- on the -- that America. Stands with him. I've never been an isolationist. And a vote against this resolution shouldn't be confused by anyone has returned. In that direction. But justice the most committed isolationist could -- Dutch. Of the need for intervention under the right circumstances when confronted with a threat. So too do the internationalist Obama's believe that all interventions are not created -- All interventions are not created people. And this proposal. Just does not fend off. So I'll be voting against this resolution of vital national security risk you're clearly not -- if there are just too many on answered questions about our long term strategy in Syria. Including the fact that this proposal is utterly detached from a wider strategy and the civil war -- and on specific question. -- deterring the use of chemical weapons the president's proposal appears to be based. Actually -- -- contradiction. It dual strike targets that threaten the stability of the regime. Something the president says he does not intend to do. -- we're -- straight infection due to strike killed narrow. -- -- -- -- It's not enough as general Dempsey has noted to simply Alter the balance of military power without carefully considering what's needed to preserve. A functioning state. After the -- We cannot ignore the unintended consequences. Of our actions. But we also cannot ignore our broader obligation. In the world. I firmly believe that the international system that was constructed on the ashes of World War II rest upon the stability provided by the American military. And our commitments to our -- It is a necessary role that only we can continue to fulfill. In the decades to com. And especially in times like this the United States cannot afford to withdraw from the world's. My record reflects -- belief and that commitment regardless of which party has controlled the White House. We -- choose to be dominant in the world. Or -- on ourselves and our allies to the mercy. Of aren't. We either defend our freedoms and our civil -- civilization. Court crumble. So as we shift our military focus to the Asia Pacific. We cannot ignore our commitments to the Middle East to stability in the Persian golf. To an enduring presence in Afghanistan. Behind on the -- that would threaten the United States and its people. And when the commander in chief sets his mind -- -- for growth should thank. Be believed. Him commander in chief such as -- and auction the world who think he believes it. Frankly the president didn't exactly it's far -- when he distanced himself from his own Revlon. In Stockholm last week. It is long past com the president drops the pose of the reluctant warrior. And leave. You can't build an effective foreign policy on the vilification of your predecessor alone. At some point you have to take responsibility for your own actions. And see the world the way it not the way you'd like it -- If you wish to engage countries that have been hostile Soviet. But be a realist to know the limits of rhetoric. And prepare. For the work. For too long this president has put his faith in the power of -- all the rhetoric to change the mind of America's -- For too long he's been more interest should ensure the world that America is somehow different. Now that it now than it has been in the past. It's humbler it is an intricate and meddling in the affairs of others or in shaping -- But in his eagerness to turn the page who's blinded himself for the wars from -- And developments from -- to Damascus to Tehran. And in countless places and Victoria. A year ago this month. Four Americans were senselessly murdered on sovereign US territory and been -- And just last month the president ordered the closing of more than two dozen diplomatic -- stretching from West Africa. To the Bay of Bengal. As I've indicated and -- the decision to close these embassies clearly shows. The terrorist threat continues to be real. Expressions of anti Americanism are rampant throughout Africa and the Middle East even more so perhaps than when the president first took office. So the president's new approach has clearly come with a cost. And for the sake of our own security and out of our ally it's time. He recognized that. Because of America doesn't meet its international commitments who will. That's one question that those on the left -- Who -- comfortable with a weakened America can't answer. Because the answer. Is to -- -- one well at Stanford. If this episode showed us any time is that the comments come for the president to finally acknowledged that there's no substitute. For American -- It's time for America to lead again. This -- from the front. But we made strategic vision in the Middle East and many other places around the world. -- -- --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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