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Fmr Clinton NSC Staffer: Obama Admin’s Syria Strategy Is ‘A Failure’ ‘By All Standards’ For Last Four Years

Hillary Mann Leverett, who served on the National Security Council under both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush stated that the deployment of US special forces to Syria isn’t a significant change to the Obama administration’s strategy, which “for the past four years has, I think by all standards really been a failure” on Saturday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry.”

Leverett said, “unfortunately, I think, as the White House spokesman said later in his briefing to the press, it really isn’t much of a change in the Obama administration’s strategy. Which is unfortunate, because the strategy for the past four years has, I think by all standards really been a failure. It’s led to massive death and destruction inside of Syria, the neighboring states, and massive refugee outflows. So, this is really I think, unfortunately, more of the same. In addition to the 50 or so special forces, they’ve also allocated another $100 million to Syrian rebels to increase the fighting, increase the bloodshed in Syria. So, the strategy hasn’t gone well for four years, and this is unfortunately, an indication of more of the same.”

She added, “it seems like there is a bit of disconnect between the diplomatic operation and the military operation. The diplomatic piece is potentially a very significant silver lining to an otherwise failed strategy. We saw Secretary Kerry, with President Obama’s support, lead two years of intense negotiations with Iran that came to this incredibly important deal with Iran. Hopefully, the secretary can do the same thing with Syria, but the military strategy the White House is pursuing, I think, will impede his efforts, rather than support them.”

Leverett concluded “I think it’s a lowest common denominator type of decision, to try to make, if not make everybody happy, at least not make everybody completely unhappy, or have the unhappiness spread across the board. But we’ve seen the slippery slope strategy all over the world. It never works, whether it’s advisers to Vietnam, to the Contras in Nicaragua, to Afghanistan, Syria, the intelligence support we’re giving to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it fails across the board. I think it is very much a product of domestic infighting within, not justthe administration but Congress, the military, the intelligence agencies. And it’s a lowest common denominator approach that does not work. Fortunately, for President Obama, he does have Secretary Kerry, who is dogged in his pursuit of diplomacy. That’s really the only way forward here.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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