WASHINGTON — At a press conference Tuesday morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner said he is “skeptical” of the proposal supported by Russia under which Syria would give up its arsenal of chemical weapons to the international community.
The administration has said it is exploring the option, first suggested sarcastically as pie-in-the-sky idea by Secretary of State John Kerry, and then taken up enthusiastically by Russia, an ally of Syria that has stood against any kind of military action to penalize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria has said they would accept that proposal, which, if successfully executed, could avert the current need for any kind of military action on the part of the United States.
On Tuesday, the White House indicated that it would “explore seriously the viability” of a deal at the United Nations.
But Boehner said he was concerned over whether all parties involved were acting in good faith.
“Clearly, diplomacy is always a better outcome than military action, but I will say that I’m somewhat skeptical of those that are involved in the diplomatic discussions today,” he said.
“I’m skeptical of it because of the actors that are involved,” He later clarified.
Boehner reiterated his support for the administration’s proposed limited strike on Syria.
“I’ve supported every president that I’ve served under for the last 23 years when it comes to the use of military force,” Boehner said. “And there’s one person who speaks for the United States of America when it comes to foreign policy, and that’s the president of the United States.”
“Now I realize there are a lot of mistakes that have been made when it comes to this issue of Syria over the last few years … I also understand how war-weary the American people are … But having said all of this, I really think it’s important to try to help the president provide a unified front in our effort to make it clear that the use of chemical weapons is thoroughly unacceptable,” he added.