Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday sharply criticized tough talk on Iran from senior Trump administration officials determined to ouster regime-backed forces from Syria, osidering that it is a complete folly to think that Trump’s administration is going to threaten the Syrians or the Russians or the Iranians into anything.
“The U.S. doesn’t even control half of Syria. You’ve got 2,000 [U.S.] troops up in the northeast corner. I mean, come on, you’re not going to drive Iranians out of Syria with 2,000 American troops,” Hagel said in an interview with Defense One.
“The Iranians live there,” he continued. “The U.S. doesn’t live in the Middle East. Unless you’re going to somehow eliminate the geopolitical realities of that – well, good luck Mr. Bolton. There is no other way around this, you’re going to have to find some resolution based on the common interests of those countries.”
Hagel also criticized Bolton by saying: “How do you accomplish some stability in Syria?…You’re not going to do that without the Russians, without the Iranians, without the other players in the country, in the region.” So what is U.S. policy in the Middle East?
If you ask Hagel – one of the Senate’s top Republican foreign policy leaders from 1997 to 2009 and later defense secretary for President Barack Obama – there doesn’t appear to be one.
Hagel argued the administration’s recent decision to remove four Patriot missile batteries from key Gulf allies, did not square with the Trump administration’s tough-on-Iran rhetoric..
“The military can’t fix problems alone,” Hagel said. “The military has to be used as a force to help implement and project and protect a strategic foreign policy objective.”
Source: U-News Agency.