Former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell told Newsmax on Monday that the White House is "behind the eight ball" when it comes to the current flare-up of tensions between the Balkan nations of Serbia and Kosovo.
"The reality is that this conflict was largely being solved by the Trump administration," Grenell said during an appearance on "American Agenda." "It was another one of these regional conflicts that had flared up, and President Trump had it handled.
"We, back in the Trump administration, were talking about decreasing NATO troops and, if you think about that, that saves Americans a lot of money. We have a big debate in this country about whether or not America should be paying for security. Whether it's through the U.N. peacekeeping operations or NATO operations, the American taxpayer pays a whole bunch of money."
"The Biden team came in and basically said America is not going to be involved; we're going to let the Europeans handle this and what sounds like it would be a good idea immediately collapsed," he continued. "Without U.S. leadership, the situation unfolds into a terrible situation.
"So now, we're adding NATO troops to a situation where we wanted to decrease NATO troops. The Brits have announced 600 new troops going into Kosovo. This is a situation that with American leadership absolutely can be solved, and it doesn't mean American boots on the ground."
The former Trump intelligence official said the situation requires the kind of American diplomacy that brokered a historic pact between Serbia and Kosovo in 2020. He said relations between the two rival nations have deteriorated since then to the point where even Democrats are admitting there's a problem.
"I'll add one little piece here: When I was in the region last time, I ran into a Democrat U.S. senator who happened to be in the region as well, and he confided in me and said, 'Gosh, you know, I don't agree with you on much, but this situation is out of control and the White House needs to do more,'" he said. "I came back home after that meeting — that was this summer — and the White House called me and wanted a briefing on what I had been seeing in the region."
"So, I do think they realize that they've really messed this up by not having American leadership and there might be some talk about trying to do something new with a little more American leadership," he continued. "But right now, they're really behind the eight ball.
"They made a mistake these last couple of days by saying Serbia was increasing troops when Serbia was actually decreasing troops at the border. They've got to get their facts straight."
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Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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