U.S. foreign policy expert Richard Grenell tells Newsmax that with President Barack Obama in the White House, "our friends don't trust us and our enemies don't fear us."
He also says it's a "scary moment" when the United States fails to fulfill its traditional role of global leadership, and warns that it may be too late for sanctions to dissuade Iran from continuing its nuclear weapons program.
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Grenell, a Fox News contributor, was chief U.S. spokesman at the United Nations during President George W. Bush's administration.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV at the Restoration Weekend gathering in Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday, Grenell offers his take on America's image right now.
"We have the situation where a president of the United States has claimed that he was going to utilize the U.N. but has completely ignored the U.N.," he says. "We can't even lead the Security Council.
"We have allies like Turkey that are frustrated with us. Jordan no longer trusts us. It's well known that Israel has no idea what this president is doing.
"What has really happened is that Barack Obama and the team at the NSA, they really don't have a strategy. They've tried to shoot from the hip when these crises came up and it's been a disaster. The president doesn't have any core values when it comes to how America should approach these issues, and Syria is just the latest.
"You've got a situation where the president during a re-election campaign moment says this very unequivocal statement: If they cross this red line of chemical weapons use, then the United States is going to act. Not only did the United States not act but we then caved in to any idea of trying to solve this problem in Syria."
The administration's policies have made our allies like Saudi Arabia "really upset," Grenell asserts. "And now what we see for the first time in the history of the U.N. the Saudis get a seat on the Security Council and they reject the seat. They actually say because of the United States' hypocrisy and inability to lead, we don't want to be a part of this Security Council because we don't want to be a part of the problem.
"It is a major problem in the Middle East when the Saudis don't trust the United States enough to even be on the Security Council."
Grenell says Obama's promise that the United States would not get involved in a war was a "political statement."
"The idea that the United States, no matter what happens, is going to ignore problems because of some political promise that a president made to the American people of we're tired of war so we're never going to do anything — what kind of message does that send to the terrorists?
"I have more respect for someone who is trying to make the United States safe by looking at problems and trying to get involved before they become crises."
Turning to Iran and efforts to stop their nuclear weapons development program, Grenell observes: "The United States led 15 members of the Security Council in six times passing resolutions demanding that Iran stop enriching uranium. That started in 2006 under Ambassador Bolton. He was the first one to bring the Security Council together.
"The world cried that that was cowboy diplomacy and that we were too tough, but the simple fact is we lead the Security Council into getting an unequivocal resolution that said you must stop enriching uranium. That's what the Security Council resolution said in 2006. It's passed five more times since then.
"The Obama administration has ignored that process at the U.N. They decided that since Iran wasn't complying that they wanted to renegotiate with Iran. They wanted to start the whole process over. So outside of the U.N. system, President Obama, with the P5, the permanent members of the Security Council, the five members plus Germany, they decide to hold separate talks in Geneva.
"It's beyond me why the Geneva talks have gone forward because the talks are undermining the hard work we already did. What the Obama administration policy on Iran should be is, hey, we've already passed six resolutions. Comply. We're not going to talk about dropping sanctions, we're not going to talk about alleviating the pressure until you act.
"Every single time the Americans say you should comply with these resolutions, the Iranians say, oh yeah, let's have a meeting in two months. Meanwhile, for two months, they're enriching uranium. They're now at weapons grade weaponization.
"There are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency who say there's a chance that Iran is one to two months away from actual breakout capacity for a weapon — while we talk in Geneva, while we schedule more talks, only undermining the U.N. process. We're at a very serious point and yet the Obama administration hasn't noticed."
Grenell agrees that while Israel has reserved the right to attack Iran, there is deep concern that they've waited too long, that too much of the weapons program is buried and the centrifuges are scattered.
"And don't forget that the Obama administration has put pressure on the Israelis to not act," he adds. "They have been the ones who have said, wait, we're trying to solve this problem. So the Obama administration is really responsible for what hasn't happened up to this point because they think that they've got it under control."
As for the possibility of Congress imposing additional sanctions on Iran, Grenell tells Newsmax: "I would put on every sanction possible, but again it may be too late. I'm not sure that we have time for sanctions to work anymore because the assessments are that we are very close to a breakout capacity for the Iranians. It's a concerning statement when the president says he's against Iran with a nuclear weapon but then doesn't see the writing on the wall."
Grenell also says: "I sat at the U.N. for eight years and I sat in front of the placard that says 'The United States' and I can tell you that you when you're in a room of a whole bunch of other countries, when a problem comes up, everybody in that room turns and looks at the person who's sitting behind the United States placard.
"It is an incredible responsibility to represent the United States in a multilateral setting. It's humbling. You get very concerned about leadership issues, you want to put forward ideas that will bring people together, and there's no question when there is a lack of leadership behind the United States placard that everyone else comes up with their own ideas and their own agendas and we have no global leadership.
"It's a scary moment and we've seen it with a whole bunch of ideas on Iran from Latin American countries and other countries that have their own agenda. What the United States needs to feel very comfortable with is putting forward an agenda that's right for us. Every other country does it. We're the only ones that get in trouble for doing it."
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