President Obama’s “provocatively feeble” foreign policy has only increased the chances of more armed conflict in the near future, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) wrote in an editorial on Friday.
McKeon, who will give up his gavel at the end of year, pounced on comments the president made during his recent Asia trip that most of the criticism of his foreign policy has been “directed at the failure to use military force.”
“But who is banging the shield, demanding war?” McKeon asked in The Washington Post. “The president has created a dynamic in which he bravely confronts political opponents who don’t exist.”
“On the world stage, inertia has consequences. And we have felt the consequences across the globe,” he added. “[Storm] clouds are forming in some regions, lightning is striking in others. I worry that those storms might eventually reach our shores.”
For example, McKeon said, on Syria the White House could have utilized a “variety of tools,” such as arming moderate rebel groups. These tools might have been able to shorten the still-raging conflict and prevent the use of chemical weapons before Obama sought, and then reneged on, congressional authorization for military force, McKeon added.
“The criticism isn’t that the president failed to send the Marines into Syria but rather that he allowed the situation to degrade to the point where military force was needed,” he said.
The California Republican also said the administration’s pivot to Asia “is on paper only” and cited recent cuts to Navy and Air Force weapons systems that were supposed to bolster the realignment.
In addition, McKeon charged the president with “ignoring” congressional sentiment “to send more lifesaving equipment” to Ukraine and promised that his committee will supply a “range of options the president has overlooked” on the issue when it convenes on Wednesday.
“I believe these growing threats to peace spring from the same source: the perception that the White House is too timid when challenged,” McKeon said.
“Our adversaries have tested us repeatedly,” he added. “They have concluded that this administration will avoid any sensible precaution, any defensive deployment, any hike in military preparedness, because it believes any show of strength is akin to starting a war or desiring a war.”