Though he lost the 2008 United States Presidential election, Arizona senator John McCain is now a name of great importance in determining the future of the Middle East's two most turbulent countries, Iraq and Syria.
The current U.S. policy of minimal involvement while still playing a role in the ongoing battle fields of these two countries has been limited to only conducting airstrikes against ISIS and al-Nusra Front targets in Syria and Iraq.
The current policy has allowed the White House and Obama administration to act in their own accords under the pretense of continuing the over decade old "War on Terror" bill passed through by the succeeded Bush administration, however the current policy and its legal standing has been subject to great scrutiny by senators and congressmen from the opposing Republican Party.
U.S. President Barack Obama was able to begin Operation Inherent Resolve without consulting congress due to the Democratic majority in the Armed Services Committee (ASC) controlling, responsible for control over the Pentagon's activity, in a move which pushed the limits of his presidential power and drew unfavorable responses from both Democrat and Republican camps.
However, with every new year comes change and now the ever so important ASC is now dominated by the Republican Party with Senator John McCain holding the decisive body's chairmanship due to seniority.
McCain, one of the Obama administration's greatest foreign policy critics has remained on his toes remaining cynical of the White House's refusal to get involved in the ouster of Egypt's Mohammad Morsi, the soft action taken against Russia following the annexation of Crimea and most importantly America's minimal role in tackling ISIS and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Iraq.
McCain, a firm believer in greater U.S. involvement in today's greatest military issue is not alone in thinking the Obama Administration's minimal involvement is largely inadequate. The belief remains popular I'm Washington over a month after former Secretary of Defense Gen. Chuck Hagel resigned from his post citing the White House's costly and largely ineffective policy in Syria and Iraq as his reasoning.
The former army veteran now has at his disposal the authority needed to lobby Capital Hill behind him to dictate the much needed change towards the currently stagnant policy.
McCain believes that the Assad regime is just as great a threat to Middle Eastern security as the infamous ISIS insurgency as he argues that the actions of Syria's long-term dynastic autocrat only breeds further descent, further fueling regional radicalization.
He joins French President Francois Hollande in supporting the Turkish proposed buffer and no-fly zone aimed at creating a safe haven for the resettlement of the nearly five million refugees while also serving as a training ground for moderate elements of the Syrian Opposition, so that they may stand a chance of holding their ground and ultimately defeat regime forces, while posing little risk of militant sleeper attack on nations hosting the training programs.
McCain also believes that ISIS, which estimates predict to have a strength of over 40,000 fighters, has succeeded in entrenching itself in key areas under its control and that the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are simply not up to the task. Seeing the emergence of ISIS as a result of the White House's premature withdrawal leaving the hardly prepared Iraqi government to fend for itself, McCain holds the common Republican belief that ground troops are the only solution towards de rooting the insurgent group, a belief further backed by rampant Iraqi military corruption and the al-Abadi administration's ever growing reliance on shady Shiite militias from Iran and Sunni tribesmen continue to refuse take part in assisting the central government.
For the United States the new year brought a shift in the scales of power in Washington as the Republican Party will face little to no difficulty in pushing forward desired legislation as Obama has lost control of both the House and the Senate.
In the scope of the Democratic defeat, the GOP is unlikely to even need presidential approval in tackling the issues in Syria and Iraq as desire for greater involvement also runs through some house and Senate Democrats, a position only further flamed through the Obama Administration's devil may care attitude in consulting America's legislative bodies.
Though Obama promised on Tuesday to consult and work with congress before undertaking crucial decisions regarding Iraq and Syria, it seems as though the promise holds little to no value as the luxury to not stand by his words no longer rests in his hands, but instead in those of prominent House and Senate republicans.
During his State of the Union address, Obama tried one last time to hold the White House's current solitary war powers by urging congress to pass a bill granting him the power to continue to implement his current policy, urging the Republican majority to put aside party politics and have faith in his course of action.
“Tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL,” said Obama.
Urging the his rivals to not drastically change the U.S.' current strategy Obama urged congressmen to “Understand - a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.”