Former White House official Barry Pavel criticized former President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to rain down missiles against the Syrians, as President Donald Trump decided to do earlier in April.
Pavel said in an interview with Fox News recently that President Donald Trump’s go-ahead for U.S. ships in the eastern Mediterranean to fire Tomahawk missiles as part of a “one-off” strike at the al-Shayrat air base in Syria was exactly what Obama administration officials advised years ago.
But in 2013, the last time Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was alleged to have launched a chemical weapons attack, Obama opted to avoid any and all military action, despite the fact that the attack crossed his infamous “red line.”
“I think he left a more dangerous world,” said Pavel, who served as senior director for defense policy and strategy on the National Security Council during the Obama administration.
“In Syria, a major mistake was treating it like a humanitarian crisis, when it was a major national security crisis that has caused destabilization on our closest allies in Europe,” Pavel added. “Syria has been a source of terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States, and future attacks. I worry about that very much.”
For Pavel, Obama’s failure to engage in any military action despite numerous instances of illegal action around the world has emboldened other powers to consider similar moves.
“Because they knew that the Obama administration would never use military force for any purpose, they felt free to conduct their coercive actions in the South China Seas, the Russians went into Iran and Syria and North Korea accelerated their nuclear arms program,” Pavel said.
Another former national security official applauded Trump’s move, as well. Gary Samore, who served as the coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, said that Obama made a crucial error by stating he wanted to go to Congress for authorization.
“I applaud Trump,” Samore told Fox News. “It was the kind of strike that Obama was planning–a limited military attack against the airfields in order to deter Assad from carrying out additional chemical weapons attacks, but he decided not to use it. Obama made a huge mistake by saying he was going to go to Congress for authorization, it turned out he did not have the votes.”
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