The U.S. policy on Syria "is turning in the right direction," former President Bill Clinton said Friday, easing up on his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of the war crisis so far.
"I think the White House has made it clear they want to do more, that they're considering their options," Clinton said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," referring to the White House announcement Thursday that it plans to begin supporting Syrian rebels with weapons and other means of support in their fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Clinton said he was "a little amazed" at the coverage of comments he made during a closed-door event
Thursday with Arizona Sen. John McCain. Answering questions, Clinton said he had urged Obama to take action to aid the rebels now that Assad appears to have gained the upper hand in the war.
But what drew the most attention was his comment that Obama could end up looking like "a total fool" if he failed to take action, regardless of polls
showing that most Americans are opposed to getting involved in the Syrian conflict.
"I think that we should support the rebel groups more vigorously, and the White House announced that they intend to do that," Clinton said on "Morning Joe."
"They are exploring their options and right now they don't want to talk about the details and I don’t blame them, because the less they talk about the details, the more likely their increased assistance is likely to be effective. And like I said, they want to see what our other allies are willing to do. So I think, on balance, this should be seen as a positive story."
The former president also stressed that Obama should seek help from other world leaders who understand what could be at stake if the Syrian conflict spills over into Jordan and other countries. He said the economic summit of G-8 nations next week in Northern Ireland would be the perfect place to raise the issue.
"The president is going to be given the opportunity to talk to a lot of his counterparts at the G-8 meeting. ... Let's see what happens. But I do understand why they don't want to talk in a lot of detail about whatever they decide to do," Clinton added.
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