Tony Blinken: We Accomplished Far More in 2013 on Chemical Weapons Without Firing a Shot
HARLOW: "Was 2013, you know, the final days of August in 2013, after that chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, was that the time for this strike?
BLINKEN: "I think in 2013 we accomplished by not firing a shot far more than we could have accomplished with an attack. Back then, we couldn’t have targeted the chemical weapons themselves. We would have taken strikes similar to what President Trump took last night. But instead, as a result of being prepared to use force, we were able to get a deal with Russia to get the vast bulk of the chemical weapons out of Syria destroyed to get the infrastructure —"
HARLOW: "But Tony, it happened again. You were working along the Obama team and you’re saying it worked, but it happened again."
BLINKEN: "Poppy, imagine if those thousands of tons of chemical weapons were still there. As bad as what we saw this week was, the fact that those weapons are no longer there, able to fall into the hands of the Islamic state, Nusra, as well as the Assad regime — as bad as this was, it would be far, far worse. And of course, in the years since, we’ve worked to try to get the residual chemical weapons out, and it really is up to the Russians to enforce an agreement that they were the main guarantor of back in 2013."