Dmitry Lovetsky / AP
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 | 9:15 p.m.
The United States shouldn’t be negotiating with Russia about Syria’s chemical weapons, said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in an interview Friday evening.
“I have no interest and no trust negotiating with a former colonel of the KGB,” Heller said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview on "Nevada Week in Review" on Vegas PBS. “We’re making a deal with the devil here. I just don’t see that there’s any interest in the United States for us to be sitting down and negotiating with an individual who is the former head of the KGB. It simply doesn’t make any sense, and I certainly don’t trust any outcome from those negotiations.”
President Barack Obama has directed his administration to negotiate with Putin’s administration to come to some accord that would require Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish stockpiles of chemical weapons.
In favoring Putin’s proposed solution, the Obama administration essentially took a retaliatory military strike on Syria off its menu this week after earlier saying Syria should be punished for using chemical weapons in its civil war.
“We’re getting involved in a civil war,” Heller said of the Obama administration’s strategy. “This is between the Assad regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, and we’re going to take sides on that? I don’t think any American at this point wants to get involved in a civil war in this country (Syria), and I agree with them.”
Removing chemical weapons from Syria would likely require international interveners to enter the war-ravaged country and ensure safe transport and oversight of the movement of chemical weapons.
Heller said Friday that the decisions facing the administration now are self-created because the president told the public that the use of chemical weapons would cross a moral line and would require a response from the United States.
“It’s the line in the sand that the president drew, and he didn’t have to do it,” he said. “So this is a problem the president created himself … I believe that we have to look out for America’s interest, that is the bottom line.”