GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul on Friday questioned whether President Obama wants to invade Syria as a result of his speech on the Middle East.
Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, interpreted Obama's speech as a sign that he wants to "expand our involvement" in the Middle East in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has brutally repressed anti-government demonstrations.
"Our military is already dangerously extended, and this
administration wants to expand our involvement. When will our bombing in
Libya end? Is President Obama seriously considering military action
against Syria? We are facing $2 trillion dollar [sic] deficits, and the
American taxpayer cannot afford any of it," he said in a statement.
A central part of Paul's platform is his skepticism of the U.S.'s interventionist posture when it comes to foreign policy.
Earlier this week, Paul expressed fear that the U.S. will invade Pakistan, citing the special operations forces mission that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.
During Obama's speech Thursday, he sharply criticized Assad, but stopped short of calling for his resignation.
"President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way," he said. "The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests."
Paul also criticized Obama's belief that peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians should be based on borders that conform to lines drawn before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
"Israel is our close friend. While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations," he said. "Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs. There can only be peace in the region if those sides work out their differences among one another."