Foreign policy expert Richard Grenell tells Newsmax that President Obama hasn’t reacted strongly enough to the death of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and has shown “great timidity in trying to help other countries in their time of need.”
Speaking in an exclusive interview on Tuesday Grenell said that Obama’s statement following the death of Chavez is indicative of his reluctance to export American ideals as demonstrated in Iran and North Korea.
“The U.S. should be immediately pushing for greater capitalism, privatization and greater freedoms in Venezuela, but President Obama, I think, has shown that he thinks American ideals shouldn’t be exported and I’m not sure why,” said Grenell, who was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush to serve as director of communications and public diplomacy for the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. More recently, he served as foreign policy and national security spokesman for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“Either he thinks because it’s none of our business to be exporting these ideals or the ideals aren’t appropriate for some,” Grenell added.
Obama’s statement issued after the death of Chavez said that the South American leader’s death marks a challenging time for Venezuela. He says the U.S. is committed to promoting democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law, which Grenell characterized as typical of the president.
“I’m sure that there are those in Venezuela that are telling the United States, ‘we’ll use this opportunity to provide some greater freedoms or some pivots and so just stay out,’"asserted Grenell. “There’s no question that now is the time we should be exporting American ideals.”
Grenell said that the president demonstrated a similar reluctance to get involved following the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il in 2011.
“There was this moment when this illegal, money-laundering government in North Korea was unstable with a dictator that had just died and yet we sat on the sidelines,” he charged. “The United States did nothing. As a matter of fact, we not only didn’t help the people, actually our own State Department under Hillary Clinton cut a deal for greater food aid if the North Koreans would give up their nuclear weapons, which they’ve promised more than a handful of times, and have broken every promise.”
He said the North Koreans reneged on their promise in a matter of days in the case of their most recent pledge.
Grenell also accuse Obama of failing to step up during Iran’s so-called Green Revolution several years ago when students and other activists took to the streets as Obama watched from the sidelines.
“Across the board in the United States there were Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, everyone in agreement that now is the time for us to stand and shine the beacon of freedom and let those in the streets in Tehran know that we stand with them,” recalled Grenell, who said that a tougher stance from the U.S. could have made a difference.
“We’ve seen time and time again — whether it’s in Eastern Europe or some other place — that when people know that the United States will stand with them, that they are more willing to go out and demonstrate and push for their ideals,” Grenell said.
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