If the U.S. and other nations took military action in Syria it would be "a seismic event" that would be "the greatest blow to Iran in 25 years," Sen. John McCain said Wednesday.
The Arizona Republican told CNBC intervention would remove both Syria and Lebanon from Iranian influence.
"The U.S. does have the ability with other nations to bring this situation to a halt, as we were able to do in Libya," said the 2008 Republican presidential contender.
"All situations are different but the principle is the same. It's the same reason we went into Bosnia, the same reason we went to Kosovo. It’s what America is about when we can do something about it."
He downplayed fears that toppling the Assad government helps Al Qaeda.
"What these people are doing is a direct repudiation of Al Qaeda," he said of Syria's resistance movement. "Al Qaeda believes in acts of terror to change things... I am confident that the people of Syria that are fighting and dying and being massacred as we speak are not Al Qaeda. They are people who want the same things that we fought for a long, long time ago."
McCain also urged Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to drop out of the presidential race and get behind Mitt Romney.
"The Obama campaign is sitting on $85 million in cash," he said of the man who beat him in 2008. "More important, every day that goes by and there's no contest between Mitt Romney and President Obama is a day lost for Mitt Romney."
He doesn't expect Ron Paul to drop out because, as in 2008, "he has his own agenda."