John Kasich on War & Peace

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 candidate for President


We need more than Special Forces in Libya

Sen. Marco RUBIO: ISIS needs to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. It will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes.

Q [to Kasich]: Would you put ground troops in Libya?

KASICH: We absolutely have to be -- and not just with special forces. I mean, that's not going to work. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that. And we have to be in the air. It should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you've got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq. And at some point, we will have to deal with Libya. I am very concerned about ISIS getting their hands on the oilfields in Libya & being able to fund their operations. The fact is cool, calm, deliberate, effective, take care of the job, and then come home. That's what we need to do with our military foreign policy.

Source: 2016 Fox News GOP debate in Detroit Michigan , Mar 3, 2016

Arm the Ukrainians and fight ISIS in Syria, Libya

Libya didn't go down because there was a people's revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and they have created a cesspool in Libya. We have ISIS in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong foreign policy, one of us is going to inherit a mess and we're going to have to work our way out of it, including the need to arm the Ukrainians.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

How to deal with Russia on Ukraine: Punch 'em in the nose

Q: Russia is being credited with bombing U.S.-backed rebels on behalf of Assad in Syria. They've moved into eastern Ukraine. You've said you want to punch them in the nose. What are you going to do?

KASICH: First of all -- yes. We have to make it clear to Russia what we expect. We don't have to declare an enemy or threaten, but we need to make clear what we expect. Number one is we will arm the folks in Ukraine who are fighting for their freedom. Secondly, an attack on NATO is an attack on us.

TRUMP: We're going to have to learn who our allies are [against ISIS]. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

BUSH: The very basic fact is that Vladimir Putin is not going to be an ally of the United States. The whole world knows this. It's a simple basic fact.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

If there weren't WMDs in Iraq, we shouldn't have gone

RUBIO: I thank God it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore. I think you can look back in hindsight and say a couple of things, but he kept us safe. Not only did he keep us safe, but no matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn't do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.

KASICH: We thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell, who is one of the most distinguished generals in modern times said there were weapons there. The fact is we got ourselves in the middle of a civil war. The borders of that country were drawn after World War I by Westerners that didn't understand what was happening there. The tragedy of it is that we're still embroiled. If there weren't weapons of mass destruction we should never have gone.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Find moderate rebels in Syria; work with them against Assad

Q: Should the US work with moderate Syrian rebels?

CRUZ: We keep hearing from President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Washington Republicans that they're searching for these mythical moderate rebels. It's like a purple unicorn. They never exist. These moderate rebels end up being jihadists.

KASICH: I don't understand this thing about Assad. He has to go. Assad is aligned with Iran and Russia. The one thing we want to prevent is we want to prevent Iran being able to extend a Shia crescent all across the Middle East. Assad has got to go. And there are moderates there. There are moderates in Syria who we should be supporting. I do not support a civil war. I don't want to be policeman of the world. But we can't back off of this. And let me tell you, at the end, the Saudis have agreed to put together a coalition inside of Syria to stabilize that country. Assad must go. It will be a blow to Iran and Russia.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate , Dec 15, 2015

No-fly zone 1st priority, but ok with more aid for refugees

Q: Ben Carson is saying what we need to do is give more money to Jordan and other places to help Syrian refugees. Is that the answer?

KASICH: I don't mind if we give some humanitarian aid to the Jordanians or the Saudis if need be, but I've been for this no-fly zone so that we can have a sanctuary for people to be safe. And it was the Kurds and perhaps the Jordanians who could defend it. But the Russians have now deployed S-400 air defense system that threatens our ability to move around. The only thing you can do with that air defense system is to take it out. And of course that's very serious.

Q: You would take out a Russian air defense system?

KASICH: No, I think that we should proceed with moving forward on a no-fly zone. And I think we should proceed by putting boots on the ground and a coalition with Europeans and with our friends in the Middle East like we had in the first Gulf War to destroy ISIS once and for all.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview on Syrian Refugee crisis , Nov 29, 2015

Invading force but no occupying force in Syria

Q: You called for boots on the ground in Syria before. You're talking about an invading force? An occupying force?

KASICH: No, I'm not talking about an occupying force, I'm talking about a coalition that looks awfully like the coalition we had in the first Gulf War. It would involve our friends in the Middle East who want to contribute, also to our NATO allies, because we're not going to solve this problem with ISIS by just sitting back and delaying or dithering, which is what we've done.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 29, 2015

US ground troops in Syria, but not involved in civil war

As for his policy to defeat ISIS, he proposed leading a coalition that includes soldiers fighting on the ground in both Syria and Iraq. He would not indicate a number and said the coalition should not be involved in Syria's civil war. "Civil wars do not work out well for the U.S.," he said. "Nation building. Count me out."
Source: NBC New on 2016 presidential hopefuls on Syrian Refugees , Nov 17, 2015

Work with allies like Israel, Egypt, Jordan

In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north, and a no-fly zone on the Jordanian border. Jordan, we want the king to reign for years. Egypt, they have been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East. In Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Destroy ISIS, with US troops as part of coalition

Kasich said that the United States needs to get serious about creating a broader international coalition to fight ISIS--even if that means sending more US troops into Syria and Iraq. In an interview on CNN's "The Lead," Kasich faulted President Obama for allowing US allegiances overseas to "deteriorate over time."

"We have not led, and when you don't lead, you create doubt in the minds of our friends, and also, it encourages our enemies," he said. He said he'd support a larger US military presence in the region. "The time has come to destroy ISIS as part of a coalition," Kasich said. "And if that means that US boots have to be on the ground, so be it," he said. "Because to allow this to linger, to put this off, to think that somehow this is going to go away is naive at best."

Kasich said joining Russia in the fight against ISIS doesn't mean the US should set aside fights with Moscow over its incursion in Ukraine and its intervention in favor of Syrian leader.

Source: CNN 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 4, 2015

No-fly zone in Syria & sanctuaries, enforced by U.S.

John Kasich said the United States should establish no-fly zones and sanctuaries along Syria's border with Jordan and Turkey, and warn aggressors, specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin, that they violate those buffers at their own risk. Kasich said the US must send a message that military retaliation is a guarantee, not an idle threat, if conditions are not met. "You enter that no-fly zone, you enter at your own peril," Kasich said. "No more red lines, no more looking the other way. If any hostile aircraft should enter that, there will be a great consequence to them."

Kasich said the zones would provide refuge for Syrians fleeing the 4-year-old civil war that has killed a quarter million people and displaced an estimated 4 million. He suggested regional assistance from Turkey, Jordan and the Kurds and said the administration should encourage European allies to help enforce any no-fly zones. "A no-fly zone can be very, very effective if it's enforced," he said.

Source: A.P./Yahoo News 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 2, 2015

Constitution requires Congress' approval of Iran nuke deal

Q: During the debate you were talking about whether the nuclear deal with Iran could be ripped up one day, getting rid of it if the Iranians violate the deal--at this point do you think there's anything Congress can do, those who oppose the Iran deal?

A: Yes there is.I think they (Senate Republicans) ought to go to the nuclear option in the United States Senate, that being that they should declare this a big constitutional issue and whether this agreement is put into effect or not, it ought to be decided by 51 votes, not by 60 votes or some filibuster. When it comes to this treaty, one which I so strongly oppose, I think the Republicans in the senate ought to say that we are not going to permit this to be blocked because of a filibuster.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

We operate better in the world when our allies work with us

We operate better in the world when our allies work with us. President Bush did it in the Gulf War. We work better when we are unified. Secondly, nobody's trusting Iran. They violate the deal, we put on the sanctions, and we have the high moral ground to talk to our allies in Europe to get them to go with us. We can have our allies, and we can be strong as a country, and we can project across this globe with unity. That is not what gets us where we want to get as a nation.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

I'm a "cheap hawk": Cut Pentagon waste, but not spending

Q: On defense spending, You say there are 900,000 people helping run the Pentagon who have no direct line authority, but on the other hand, you say you'd like to see an end to spending caps on Pentagon spending. Those two seem in contradiction.

KASICH: I think we absolutely have to spend more on defense. It's one of the essential purposes of the federal government. But I have served on defense for 18 years and being able to witness the waste, the duplication, the red tape, the slowdown, we don't want to spend money there that goes in the bureaucracy and delay that could go into building a stronger defense. There's no inconsistency there: reform the Pentagon, strengthen the military. That's why I call myself the cheap hawk.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 13, 2015

Fight ISIS by supporting Kurds and educating Iraqis

Q: What do you think of Obama pulling the troops out of Iraq?

A: Well, we should have had a base left in Iraq, for sure.

Q: But do you think that President George W. Bush, who launched the attack initially on Iraq, bears some responsibility for ISIS now?

A: I would have never committed ourselves to Iraq. And, as you can see, ultimately, it's going to end up being divided into three parts. I think the Kurds are great allies of ours. And we have got to very conscious of some of the things that they need and balance that off against the Turks, because that's become an issue over there. But all the religions of the world ought to stand up and say, "you blow up innocent men, women, and children, and you think you're going to paradise, there's something wrong with you, you're nuts, and if we catch you, we're going to throw you into prison, maybe for the rest of your life."

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

Iran nuke deal: verify, verify, verify, without the trust

Q: if you were in Congress, would you vote to allow the Iran nuclear deal to occur?

A: Knowing what I know now, no. Reagan used to say trust and verify. In regard to Iran, it should be verify, verify, verify, without the trust, because I don't trust them.

Q: And you don't think the administration has done that or tried to do that?

A: I think they have fallen in love with this deal. I think a lot of it is about a legacy. I do not like this agreement, what I have read so far.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 26, 2015

Congressional debate before sending in ground troops

[A House Bill sponsored by John Kasich] would cut off money for American ground troops unless Congress approved their deployment in advance. The bill would permit ground forces to conduct search and rescue missions. “We should avoid escalation in this conflict because the only rational and durable solution is one that is arrived at through negotiation,” said Mr. Kasich. “There are far too many unanswered questions about the use of ground troops - questions that should require full congressional debate
Source: www.k2k.org/going_on/index_rr.html “Road Reports” , May 28, 1999

Russian mediation with Milosevic instead of a ground war

Mr. Kasich argues against an escalation of the military effort in Kosovo. Instead, he wants to move to mediation with Yugoslavia, in which third parties, particularly Russia, would help work out a peaceful resolution. He wouldn’t worry about getting rid of Mr. Milosevic right now; it doesn’t make much sense to get into mediation with somebody you’re about to eliminate. “Reemphasizing our bad policy with a vigorous ratcheting up, including ground forces, is just a huge mistake,” Mr. Kasich says.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Mediate Kosovo?”, 4/21/99 , Apr 21, 1999

Should have used economic tools with rest of world

Kasich is a free-trader who supported Clinton’s bombings of terrorist sites in Afghanistan & Iraq. “You can oppose what we’ve been doing [in Kosovo] and yet not want to disengage from the world,” he says. [He argues that] Kosovo diminishes America’s ability to act in a significant number of other places where national interests are more clearly engaged. Rather than fight, he would have used “the severe economic tools” at the West’s disposal to isolate Milosevic and build up his internal opponents.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Mediate Kosovo?”, 4/21/99 , Apr 21, 1999

Russia should mediate; Congress should vote on escalation

[Kasich foresees] a future where Albanians and Serbs co-existed in Kosovo. If American officials were wise, they would consider giving Russia a role as a third party mediator, he said, a tactic that would reduce the chances for Russian alienation from the West. At the same time, though, Kasich did not go so far to say he’d vote against an escalation of US force in the region. It was most important, he said, that Congress at least be given the chance to vote on an escalation before it happened.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Moderate pitch”, 4/18/99 , Apr 18, 1999

Maintain aggression but negotiate with Milosevic

Kasich urged a negotiated settlement to the conflict, but said the US could not pull out of the region altogether. Instead of further “ratcheting up” the fighting, he said, the US should maintain a level of aggression while making it clear it is ready to deal with Serbia, he said. To engage Serbia in talks, he said the US should even consider reducing its demands of Milosevic. For instance, the US should realize the Serbs will never accept peace if it means having NATO troops on their soil.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Moderate pitch”, 4/18/99 , Apr 18, 1999

Ground war not in humanitarian nor international interest

[We should] examine the Kosovo crisis in light of our vital national interests, our humanitarian obligations and our enduring need for a more peaceful, stable world. [Would] military intervention resolve a centuries-old civil war in the Balkans on our terms, over the long term? If so, intervention on the ground might be worth it, assuming casualties could be minimized. I have reluctantly concluded, however, that military intervention-through air power or ground troops-is not in the national interest.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Goals should be: help refugees & regional development

Those who have called for ground troops have not specified the goal. Is it to take Kosovo, fortify it & occupy it for years against the Serbian threat? Is “victory” at all costs worth a bitterly hostile Russia? No one can help but be moved by the plight of the Kosovo refugees. The US has an obligation to get Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. Just as surely, we need to help Albania and Macedonia economically. But military escalation is not the best way to achieve those goals.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Rambouillet goals breached sovereignty of Yugoslavia

The negotiations at Rambouillet last winter were destined to fail because both parties were expected to agree to a draft document, without substantive changes. But it was unrealistic to expect Yugoslavia to accept the presence of a NATO implementation force in Yugoslavia and the probability of independence for Kosovo after three years. A sovereign nation would probably not accept those terms. A realistic mediation needs the efforts of neutral parties.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Use neutral mediators; be flexible on post-war force

We need to involve the Russians, and other neutral countries, like Sweden and Ukraine. And we must actively consult with countries in the region, including Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Should Milosevic balk at such overtures, we could still apply military pressure from the air. Once a settlement is reached, an international force may be necessary to assist the return of refugees and reconstruction. We should be more flexible about the makeup of this force than we have been in the past.
Source: NY Times, Op Ed by Kasich, April 16, 1999 , Apr 16, 1999

Make clear-cut goals and timetables, then commit

He criticized Secretary of State Madeline Albright for not articulating a clear cut goal for US involvement in Kosovo. She’s not for an independent Albanian state but also doesn’t want the Serbs to completely rule the Albanians, Kasich said. “She says she’s for stabilizing the situation and going from there,” he said. “It has to be clear, attainable.” The US must also have definitive timetables for involvement and a willingness to commit the necessary resources, he said.
Source: The Concord (NH) Monitor, “Kasich Taps In”, 3/22/99 , Mar 22, 1999

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

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