Home Tim Kaine on Middle East tensions: ‘I don’t think the U.S. needs to be in another war’
Politics, U.S. & World News

Tim Kaine on Middle East tensions: ‘I don’t think the U.S. needs to be in another war’

Chris Graham
tim kaine
(© George Sheldon – Shutterstock)

Attacks by Houthi rebels on commercial ships in the Red Sea, and a drone attack perpetrated by an Iranian-backed militia group that killed three U.S. servicemembers in Jordan, have added to the already significant tensions in the Middle East, which has been on edge since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, and the ongoing massive retaliation military response by Israeli forces.

The response to the Houthi attacks from the Biden administration has come in the form of targeted military strikes on the group’s positions in Yemen, but even President Biden himself is conceding that the strikes have done little to nothing to deter the rebel group.

The administration is still debating what to do about the drone attacks, with the guiding principle being, doing nothing is not an option.

It’s an obviously sensitive situation, made more so because of the possibility that anything more forceful in terms of the responses here could trigger a wider regional war.

“I don’t think the U.S. needs to be in another war, at least right now. I think it would be folly,” said U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in a teleconference call with reporters on Tuesday.

Complicating matters, as if this could possibly get more complicated, is that the Houthis, like the militia involved in the Jordan drone attack, have well-known money, military and cultural ties to Iran.

We’ve spent the past 45 years doing everything we can to avoid getting dragged into a war with Iran, which would inevitably engage the entire Middle East, and then likely drag in Russia, to the east, and Europe, to the west, into what could obviously end up being a worldwide conflict.

Politics being what it is, you have some domestic warrior hotheads here in the States saying, what’s the big deal, take on Iran already; but those people aren’t serious – that, or they’re seriously mentally deficient.

And yet, the answer isn’t doing nothing, either. The Houthi rebels and Iranian-backed militia groups behind the recent attacks on U.S. and Western interests are clearly trying to be provocative, knowing that they can push the envelope, with the world’s attention on Israel and Gaza, and the desire of all, or most, anyway, involved being on making sure that conflict doesn’t expand.

Kaine, in regard to the attack on the base in Jordan, said the “most natural retaliation is against those who launched the drone,” the problem there being, we’re still trying to figure all of that out right now.

“Usually, we have very good intel about where that drone would come from, who is responsible. By all accounts, it’s an Iranian-backed militia in Syria, that is supported and trained and often armed by Iran, but Iran doesn’t necessarily control all their actions, but certainly they are supporting and training those who do this. And so, that would be the natural retaliation,” Kaine said.

Easier said than done, it sounds like, on that.

As far as following the foolish advice of the chicken hawks, Kaine doubled down on the side of hard no.

“I do believe it would be very foolish for the United States to be in another war in the Middle East right now, number one,” said Kaine, who wants the hawks to present their case in Congress, if they want to stand behind what they have to say on what we should do.

“If there are those who think another war in the Middle East is a good idea, let them bring that bill, let’s have a debate and vote about it, whether that be the White House or colleagues of mine. I have colleagues that are encouraging the President to do military strikes inside Iran,” Kaine said. “If you think that’s what should be done, go ahead and introduce that bill saying we should go to war with Iran, and let’s have a debate about it. But we shouldn’t be just kind of sliding our way into this without full congressional debate and through the American public, so the American public can also see what’s at stake.”

If it was Kaine who was president, and there is an alternate universe in which this is the case – remember, he was a finalist to be Barack Obama’s VP in 2008, and then was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, so, he’s been thatclose twice – what would he do?

“I would say the smartest thing we could do right now is to put hostage release (in Gaza) at kind of the center of this discussion, and work to see if we could close a hostage release deal that would lead them to pause and humanitarian relief and de-escalation,” said Kaine, before shifting gears back to the drone attack. “I do expect the President is analyzing the steps to take to make sure that there’s accountability for the death of these Americans, and I expect that we’ll know soon what those are. But the real issue is, what can you do to de-escalate the situation now, that would be in the benefit of everyone in the region. And I think that focusing on a hostage deal is probably the smartest thing that could be done to achieve that goal.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].