WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) slammed President Obama’s foreign policy strategy Wednesday.
McCain was being interviewed about the ongoing crisis in Syria and Russia’s recent decision to began airstrike on country. McCain sharply criticized the president’s Middle East policy, calling Russia’s use of force a “blatant in your face move” toward the United States.
“This is a testimony to the lack of concern that Russia has to about America’s reaction to their actions,” McCain said at the event. “That’s the only way you can interpret this.”
The forum, which is meant to take on the most pressing issues of the day, featured prominent political figures such as Mitt Romney, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
On Wednesday, President Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discus a number of issues including the question of what to do with Syria. Russia announced Thursday that they will be begin airstrikes against anti-Assad rebels.
While Russia claims that the airstrike will be focused combating ISIS, McCain countered the Russian claim, by saying that Russian airstrikes were not targeted at the Islamic militants, but rather the Free Syrian Army.
“There are plenty of ISIS fighters, but they picked the one place where the Free Syrian Army enclave was — and a pretty successful one, one that’s been doing rather well in the fight against Bashar-al-Assad,” said McCain, about the Russian bombing of the Syria city of Homs, a Syrian Free Army stronghold.
When asked about what he would have done if commander-in-chief, McCain said he would of followed the advice of General David Petraeus by arming the Free Syrian Army, establishing a buffer zone, stop the use of destructive barrel bombs by the Syrian Army and establishing contingent of American special operations forces on the ground.
“Where he laid out, which I believe could be a winning strategy,” said McCain of Petraeus’ plan. “So it’s there if we want to do it.”