Talk of a “Red Line” Increasing Pressure to Act

Posted on May 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

John McCain at press conference in Washington on 18 AprilWith evidence mounting that Syria’s Assad regime has resorted to the use of chemical weapons, calls for the President to act are growing louder on Capitol Hill.

A number of U.S. lawmakers are using the President’s own words—“red line” and “game changer”— to pressure him to take stronger measures to address the increasingly chaotic and deadly conflict in Syria. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), pointing to the lack of response by the Obama administration to the chemical attacks, allegedly by Assad forces, has intimated that the president has backpedaled from his promise that such transgressions would trigger U.S. action.

“Firstly, he never should have drawn a red line. Second of all, the red lines were a green light to Bashar al-Assad to anything do anything short of that (chemical attacks),” said McCain. “Unfortunately, the red line that the president of the United States has written was apparently written in disappearing ink.”

While it isn’t clear if the reports of chemical use constitute a red line or if Israeli air strikes on targets in Syria are game changers, what is clear is that the American public isn’t clamoring for U.S. intervention in Syria. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, just 45 percent of Americans favor intervention in Syria and nearly two-thirds are against arming the rebels.

What Americans of all political stripes want is for Congress and the Administration to finally take action on the red lines that have already been crossed in this country—the sequestration; the budget deficit; and gun violence in places closer to home such as Newtown and Aurora.

Yes, what is playing out in Syria and other hotspots in the world is important to address, but it is disingenuous for our leaders to be calling for action abroad while dragging their collective feet on dealing with the pressing issues here in the U.S.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at


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