Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker said recent legislation put forward to authorize President Barack Obama to use military force in Syria had been introduced to bring debate to a "diplomatic place."
Corker, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, helped draft, introduce and approve a joint resolution authorizing military force in Syria last month in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on Aug. 21. Speaking to host Bob Schieffer, the senator and former Chattanooga mayor said diplomacy was the goal of the bill.
"It was done to get us to a diplomatic place," Corker said from a studio in Chattanooga. "I think all of us have wanted a diplomatic solution and know that's the only way to solve this. On the other hand, I think all of us have to approach this with a healthy and strong degree of skepticism."
Last month, Corker said U.S. action in the country was "imminent" and repeatedly stressed support for a "surgical" strike against targets in response to the crossing of a "red line" drawn by Obama regarding chemical weapon use. Since then, the senator has criticized Obama's handling of the situation, saying the reluctance to strike has damaged U.S. credibility in the region and describing the president as "very uncomfortable being commander in chief."
On Saturday, U.S. and Russian leaders announced the brokering of a deal that could result in Syria accounting for its chemical weapons stockpile and allow international inspectors to eliminate them by the first half of next year.
During his appearance on CBS Sunday, the senator also said despite comments from Secretary of State John Kerry that a U.S. strike on Syria was "still on the table," control of a global response to the situation had shifted toward Russia.
"The threat of force from a multilateral standpoint is still very much in Russian hands," he said.
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