Opinion

John McCain: Susan Rice isn't taking Boko Haram kidnappings seriously enough

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Susan Rice,John McCain,Boko Haram

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested that national security adviser Susan Rice isn't taking the Boko Haram kidnapping of hundreds Nigerian girls seriously enough after Rice said that the United States would only advise rescue operations.

"If she believes that the seriousness of hundreds of young women being kidnapped doesn't argue for the United States to make every effort to rescue them, than she and I just have a sharp difference of opinion," McCain told the Washington Examiner. "It is a human rights violations we're dealing with: the kidnapping and possible sale of these girls. And I guarantee you, Ronald Reagan, if he could have rescued them, would have rescued them."

Rice laughed off McCain's suggestion that U.S. special operations forces rescue the girls, in the event that they are found, with or without the approval of the Nigerian government.

"I think that, frankly, in all likelihood, if we were to do more with respect to a Nigerian request, it would likely be an advisory capacity, which is what we're doing thus far and what we could potentially do more of if we had better info on where the girls are located," Rice told the Women's Foreign Policy Group.

Later in the interview, after defending Obama's foreign policy, Rice said that "political polarization" is America's "one weakness" on the international stage.

"When countries look at us, they wonder and they worry if we will have our collective internal act together -- whether it's over our budget, whether it's over how we engage in the world," Rice said. "That is what undermines us, if anything, in terms of our international standing."

McCain thinks that's absurd. "I'm sure that in Syria, those people that are being slaughtered by Bashar Assad's barrel bombs, the first topic of their conversations is whether we have a budget agreement or not," he said.

"It's almost hard for me to describe how really offensive Susan Rice's comments are about the plight of hundreds of young girls. We should be devoting every effort. When a ship is hijacked, we go in. We go into that country and we take care of those pirates," McCain also said. "To somehow say that we need the permission of a country which is incredibly inefficient and inept, in order to [now] be able to save the lives of several hundred young girls, it's almost unbelievable."

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