Beltway Confidential

John Kerry: Assad might use chemical weapons after U.S. strike

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Syria,Analysis,Chemical Weapons,Secretary of State

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad might continue to use chemical weapons even if the United States hits his regime, and that use of such weaponry would require further U.S. military action.

The topic came up during Kerry’s appearance on Meet the Press. “[H]ow can Americans feel confident that America’s first strike against Syria and this civil war will be its last?” NBC’s David Gregory asked.

“David, that will depend on whether Assad decides to use chemical weapons or not,” Kerry replied, before reiterating that President Obama only wants to take a limited military action.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he thinks a strike would make it “more likely” that Assad continue to use chemical weapons and faulted Obama for staking out what he regards as a foolish “red line.”

“I think it would show that he made a grave mistake when he drew a red line,” Paul said of the possibility that Congress refuses to authorize military action. “I think a president should be very careful about setting red lines he’s not going to keep. But then again, when you set a red line that was not a good idea in the beginning with, and now you’re going to adhere to it or try to show your machismo, I think then you’re trying to save face and really adding bad policy to bad policy.”

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