October 21, 2014

Luetkemeyer: Syrian agreement evidence of weakened U.S. position

East-central Missouri’s Congressman thinks recent developments with Syria illustrate a weakening in the United States’ position at the word negotiating table.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer addresses the Jefferson City Rotary Club on September 16, 2013.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer addresses the Jefferson City Rotary Club on September 16, 2013.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth) says the Obama Administration has weakened the U.S. on the world stage, and says Syria would never have used chemical weapons on its own people if not for that.

“If the Syrians felt that they were going to be retaliated against by the administration, they would have never done it to begin with … credibility is like trust. It’s something that’s earned, and once you’ve lost it, you’re in really big trouble. The only way we’re going to get it back is if we have a different president.”

Syria has a week to declare its chemical weapons and must allow international inspections under a plan agreed to by Syria, the U.S. and Russia. Luetkemeyer says without the backing of Congress, the threat of U.S. involvement wasn’t a factor in Syria agreeing to that plan, however.

“Both the House and the Senate were not going to support action. The president was up there rattling his saber by himself. I don’t think that’s what brought the people to the table.”

Luetkemeyer says Russia has used the opportunity to assert themselves as the world leader the U.S. used to be.

“What we have done is to allow the Russians … to now become the world power and be able to make the rules and be able to make the rules and put everybody in their place and restructure the world the way they like to see it done, and I think this is very dangerous. We have abdicated our role as world leader and I think the Syrians and Russians have played this just right.”

President Barack Obama has said the U.S. is “prepared to act” if Syria fails to comply with the peace agreement. Luetkemeyer urges caution.

“Syria’s not Afghanistan. It’s not a third world country. These people have got very modern weapons. This is a Russian-backed country. You go in there without a plan to react to their reaction, you’re asking for trouble.”

Luetkemeyer says he is frustrated Israel was not more involved in the handling of the Syrian situation, saying they have the most to gain or lose and again criticizing the President as having a weak relationship with that nation.