Tags: Afghanistan | Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Middle East | Iran | Donald Rumsfeld | military

Rumsfeld: US Going Into Decline Due to 'Weakness' in Military

Image: Rumsfeld: US Going Into Decline Due to 'Weakness' in Military

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 09:51 AM

By Drew MacKenzie and John Bachman

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld condemned President Barack Obama for showing such "weakness" that American adversaries are growing bolder by the day.

Rumsfeld, author of the new book "Rumsfeld's Rules," told John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" that the United States is not spending enough money on the military.

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"The greatest security threat [to America] is the fact that the United States is behaving in a way that is sending a signal of future weakness," he said. "In the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson administrations, we were spending 10 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Today, we're spending less than 4 percent and the entitlements have ballooned."

"There's no way we can keep on spending trillions of dollars we don't have. So that vacuum we're creating is going to be filled, and it'll be filled by countries that don't have our values and clearly are adverse to our interests."

Rumsfeld, who was secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, said Iran's ayatollahs are determined to build a nuclear weapon, which will set off a dangerous Middle East arms race.

"You very likely are going to end up seeing other countries in the region develop nuclear weapons," Rumsfeld said. "And there are other countries that are perfectly capable of it, and there are countries around the world that are willing to assist them with nuclear programs. And that is not a good thing for the world."

Rumsfeld warned that Saudi Arabia and Egypt would soon want to arm themselves with nuclear bombs.

The former defense secretary also attacked the Obama administration for announcing that it was pulling out all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, sending a message to Taliban terrorists that the war-torn country is ripe for another takeover.

"The president never should have said we'll be leaving on a certain date because it tells the Taliban, wait a while and then you can come in and take over," he told Newsmax TV, adding that the country was "on a good path forward and it has been placed in jeopardy unnecessarily."

He also warned of what life could be like in Afghanistan if the Taliban gains power again. "They used the soccer stadiums to cut off people's heads. Women couldn't go out in the street without a male member of their family, they couldn't go to school. They were a vicious government."

Rumsfeld also said the United States should not have offered to give aid to the Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime and then gone back on its promise. "Either you keep your mouth shut, [and] if you say something then by golly you'd better live up to it, and we did exactly the wrong thing."

Syria may be a no-win situation because Iran is helping to fight the rebels by supplying fighters to President Bashar Assad's forces while the Russians are selling them arms, he said. "The implication that, when it was over Assad could still be there, is obviously a deterrent to anyone opposing Assad."

But Rumsfeld said the United States can bounce back and become a world leader once again.

"We do not need to go into decline," he said. "I expect that what we'll see is self-correction taking place because we ought not to leave a vacuum that is filled by people that  fundamentally don't have our values and are against our interests."

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