Sen. John McCain predicted that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi would quickly lose his grip on power amid reports rebel fighters had entered the capital Tripoli.
Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, McCain said it was a ‘matter of hours if not days’ until Gadhafi’s downfall. The conflict was “nearing the end,” he predicted.
Looking ahead to a possible post-Gadhafi future “the big challenge is forming a new government,” said McCain. Of the opposition leadership, he spoke positively: “We can trust them … they can succeed.”
He cautioned that Western nations would need to stay heavily involved, saying that the future of the country would be “up to us and the Europeans.” “We are going to have to help out a lot.”
McCain also expressed disappointment that President Obama did not commit greater American military resources to the aid of the Libyan opposition.
“This conflict didn’t have to last this long,” said McCain. “U.S. airpower could have shortened this conflict dramatically.”
McCain also said that a possible opposition victory “will send a message to Bashar Assad” Syria’s embattled leader. “This Arab spring is echoing all over the world,” he added.
Turning to domestic politics, McCain addressed speculation that his former vice presidential running mate former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would announce her entry into the 2012 presidential race.
Palin “has not asked my advice… I don’t know.” McCain said. He added though that he believed she ”would be very formidable” as a candidate.
This report was updated at 12:30 p.m.