Bill Clinton 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Steve Marcus)
WASHINGTON - Speaking to a private audience in New York on Wednesday, Bill
Clinton said that US President Barack Obama risks looking like "a total fool" if
he chooses to follow opinion polls on American involvement in Syria too closely
when deciding US policy on the conflict.
Speaking broadly about the
pitfalls of such tactics from the Oval Office, the former president cited his
failures in Bosnia and Kosovo as examples, reported Politico, a political news
publication based in Washington that acquired audio tape of the
During the nadirs of those conflicts, Clinton was extremely
reluctant to engage US troops. But he has repeatedly said in interviews since
leaving office that he regrets his handling of America's response, both to the
wars in Europe and also to the genocide in Rwanda.
"Some people say,
‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake,”
Clinton said. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you
don’t overcommit— like, as long as you don’t make an improvident
Clinton was speaking at an event with John McCain, who
recently visited with rebel forces inside Syria. McCain has consistently chided
Obama for "fiddling" while Syria "burns," calling for a more hands-on effort to
oust Bashar Assad and his government.
“Nobody is asking for American
soldiers in Syria,” Clinton said. “The only question is now that the Russians,
the Iranians and the Hezbollah are in there head over heels, 90 miles to
nothing, should we try to do something to try to slow their gains and rebalance
the power so that these rebel groups have a decent chance, if they’re supported
by a majority of the people, to prevail?” Clinton's comments come as President
Obama is expected to decide this week whether to change course on US policy in
Syria, after a series of rebel losses to Assad in the country's