Former Republican Senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton William Cohen said that the US’ handling of the Syrian Civil War “emboldened” America’s enemies by failing to enforce its red lines in a speech at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday.
Cohen said that as a result of the US’ handling of the Syrian Civil War and the back and forth between the president and Congress was “uncertain,” and “when you draw a red line, you have to enforce the red line, or else you lose credibility. So, we lost credibility…we sent a signal to other adversaries, the Russians, that we’re not serious when we draw red lines. So, we’re paying a penalty for that, and so we have emboldened people to say we’re not really going to contest you in a military or physical way. We’re going to verbally challenge you, we’ll go for sanctions, but we’re not–you don’t have to worry about us, and I think that’s part of the problem we have today in dealing with these particular issues.”
He added “we’re in information war. We’re talking about a propaganda war. They [ISIS] now, are putting out messages to young people who see this as pretty exciting…the people who are putting out an appealing message to these young people who, number one, may not have a job, they may be educated, or not highly educated, but they don’t see a future in which they can participate and have a stake in something, it’s very attractive to them. So, we’ve got to really up our game in terms of putting out information and contesting that, as well as trying to contain the spread of the violence. But, it’s going to be an information war, and a propaganda war if you want to call it more directly what it is, that we’re losing in that regard.”
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