'Support Requires Clarity' Rumsfeld Criticizes Obama's Syria Policies
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld isn't happy with the job Barack Obama is doing to address the Syrian civil war. He argues the president hasn't explained what he hopes to accomplish in the country.
In an interview to be published in the next issue of SPIEGEL, former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has strongly criticized President Barack Obama's Syria policies.
"I believe the reason he has had difficulty gaining support both in the US and from other countries is because he has not explained what he hopes to do, what the mission would be and what he hopes to accomplish," Rumsfeld said. "To gain support in our Congress and from other nations requires clarity, an acceptable mission and an explicit outcome."
Rumsfeld also voiced scepticism about Russia's offer of placing Syrian chemical weapons under the control of the United Nations. "(M)y recollection is that the Soviets or the Russians gave Syria most of their weapons arsenal," he said. "And it is not clear to me that Russia itself has fully complied with all their obligations with respect to chemical weapons. Therefore, a question would be: Might it possibly amount to putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop?"
Rumsfeld said Obama should not have allowed the situation to get as far as it has. "I think he might have been better off it he had helped some of the non-radical elements among the Syrian rebels early on, not with US troops, but with weapons, intelligence and humanitarian support.
The former defense secretary also shared his opinions on the National Security Agency spying scandal, expressing a surprising amount of sympathy for Europeans who have been outraged by the government organization's surveillance practices.
"My impression is there are a lot of people, Republicans and Democrats, in the US, as well as people overseas, who are concerned about the NSA programs. Should people be concerned about their privacy? You bet. Nobody wants to think that everything they do or say is under surveillance."
The full original English text of the interview will be available on SPIEGEL ONLINE International on Monday.