Former GOP presidential candidate and Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich debated the issue of American involvement in the Syrian conflict with his CNN "Crossfire" co-host Van Jones today, on CNN's "New Day" morning program.
Gingrich's comments on President Barack Obama's decision to go into Syria, with congressional authorization, aligned with his liberal colleague's; both pundits expressed serious reservations about military involvement in the volatile region without clear strategy and objectives.
“I hope the members of Congress will take it seriously as what America should be about, this isn't about President Obama, this is about America, and what America should be doing, what risks should America be running, what are our goals," said Gingrich.
Gingrich, who is the former speaker of the House, expects the lawmakers to carefully weigh all the options before making a decision.
"We should think through what we're going to try to accomplish….We have no clear strategy right now," he said. "The President has opened the door for the Congress. [Congress] doesn't just have to vote yes or no, it can actually think, it can actually ask questions."
Gingrich said the Syrian conflict offers an opportunity to clarify the goals America has in the region, and to clearly determine what are the biggest threats to U.S. national security.
"Is the number one threat to US an Iranian nuclear weapon, or is it Assad? Is the number two concern in the region the growth of radical Islamism again?" asked Gingrich. "Where do you rank Syria among all the different problems we're faced with, and are we really convinced that firing off a handful of missiles is going to decisively change anything?”
President Obama has been trying to convince both Democrats and Republicans in Congress that military action in Syria, as a response to the Assad regime using chemical weapons against his own people, is crucial to U.S. security and national interests.
Today, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi publicly announced their support for the President and agreement to strike Syria, a big step towards a bi-partisan agreement.