WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain -- a leading Republican voice in calls for military action against Syria -- said Tuesday there could be "a very good initial test" of a possible solution to avoid military action.
"That would be for the immediate dispatch of international monitors to these chemical weapons sites" in Syria, he told CNN's "New Day."
He called for the sites to be secured and placed under international control.
"I'm very, very skeptical," he said. "But the fact is, you can't pass up this opportunity -- if it is one."
The solution came about as a surprise -- and it all began with off-the-cuff remarks from Secretary of State John Kerry.
Asked Monday during a stop in London whether there was anything Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government could do or offer that would stop an attack, Kerry said that al-Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week" -- adding, "He isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously."
Russia, Syria's leading ally, quickly urged al-Assad to do just that. And Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who was meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, told reporters that Damascus welcomed the proposal.
"It's certainly a positive development when the Russians and Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons," President Barack Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday. But Obama said the threat of American force would remain, "And we don't want just a stalling or delaying tactic to put off the pressure that we have on there right now."
McCain, on Tuesday, said he is trying to work with Obama and Kerry and others.
But, he added, "There's a degree of incoherence that I have never seen the likes of so far."
He noted that Kerry has said any attack on Syria would be "unbelievably small."
"What does that mean?" McCain asked. "We still haven't determined what the goal of these military strikes are."