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Rumsfeld: Kerry 'Dealt a Pretty Bad Hand' on Syria

By Greg Richter   |   Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 05:47 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry has been dealt "a pretty bad hand" by his predecessor Hillary Clinton and his current boss, President Barack Obama, says former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld, speaking to Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto in an interview to be aired at 8 p.m. ET, said decisions made in the past four years have left Kerry in a "complicated situation."

Rumsfeld, who served under presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, said the Obama administration was "mindless" letting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad know it plans to hit the country with missiles in a limited attack in the next few days.

"I can’t imagine what they’re thinking," Rumsfeld said, "why they would want the Assad regime to have crystal clarity, with respect to what they attempt."

"One thing that is very interesting, it seems to me, is that there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation."

Kerry has said the U.S. knows the Syrian government ordered the gassing of civilians last week, killing 1,000. A report in Foreign Policy said an intercepted phone call proved the government's involvement.

That action crossed a "red line" set by Obama in August 2012, prompting many to say he had to follow up on his threat of U.S. action or force a loss of American credibility. But some members of Congress from both parties have expressed concern that taking action just for the sake of it could do more harm that good.

Rumsfeld seemed to fall into that camp. He said the Obama administration has been in a "withdrawal mode, in an apology mode," that tells the world it will not be a major factor in the next few years.

Russia and China are ready to fill in that gap, he said, and neither country shares American values.

"That gives China and Russia an opportunity to do things that are fundamentally, against what we, as a country, and the American people would prefer to have happen," he said.

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