Syrian president Bashar al-Assad issued a stark warning Thursday to Western countries that may be thinking of intervening militarily in the bloody conflict that has devastated the country for nearly 20 months.
“I think the price of this invasion, if it happened, is going too big, more than the whole world can afford,” Assad said in an interview with the Russia Today news channel. “We are the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region and coexistence. . . . It will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and you know the implication on the rest of the world.”
He also added, “I don’t think the West is going in that regard, but if they do so, nobody can tell what’s next.”
A brief video clip and transcript of the interview were posted on the Russia Today Web site Thursday, and the channel will air the full interview Friday.
Three of the country’s most prominent minds on U.S. budgetary problems issued a stark warning to lawmakers today as Congress approaches what many have called a “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts that are set to take effect Jan. 1.
Erskine Bowles, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff, former Sen. Alan Simpson and billionaire investor Warren Buffet all expressed pessimism as to whether Congress and President Obama could reach a compromise to reduce the debt and avoid another fiscal crisis, during an interview with CNBC Thursday morning.
While both Republicans and Democrats have said they do not want to let all the tax cuts expire and plan to stave off the bulk of the spending cuts, Bowles said partisan politics would likely thwart any deal to avoid the looming taxmageddon.
“I think if I had to tell you the probability, I’d say the chances are we are going over the fiscal cliff,” Bowles said. “I hate to say it, but I think that’s probably right.”
Bowles, whom Obama appointed, along with Simpson, to create a bipartisan debt-reduction plan, said today that because debt reduction was “politically painful” and “really tough,” it was not likely Congress and the president would make the tough choices to reform entitlements, cut spending and simplify the tax code, as the Bowles-Simpson plan suggests.