The U.S. airstrike launched last night against Syria "certainly was the right move," former Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Friday.
"What is happening is they're putting together a comprehensive strategy and not just look at this as a simple strike and sending a signal: 'more to come, unless you know what the more to come is going to be,'" Cohen said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"I think it's an important statement to make," he continued. "I think certainly it gets the attention of the Russians. By the way, I would seek to bring about a diplomatic solution in this context that it is time to embarrass [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin. He wants respect, that is the one thing he has been barking about as such, I get no respect. He wants respect, we should not give it to him.
"He has enabled [Bashar al] Assad to carry out these heinous crimes. He is equally responsible for that. So I think what we have to do is continue to point out that Russia is now supporting a criminal operation. Being criminal itself in supporting it," Cohen said.
"And denying it any opportunity to claim it needs respect. I think that combination, along with other economic measures, will help bring about at least an ability to negotiate a solution," he added.
When asked by Bob Woodward if he would advise that President Donald Trump order more strikes, on the scale that Cohen and former President Bill Clinton ordered during Operation Desert Fox in 1998.
"I think they have to pause for the moment . . . let's look at the damage that's been done, the reaction that's coming back. If they're going to escalate then we're going to move even more quickly and do much more damage," he replied.
"So I would say be prudent on this. You made your point. We're not walking away from the world because the world is never going to be walking away from us. So I think this is a major step forward. Because the president, to this date, has articulated an isolationist-type policy. Or at least a retrenchment policy."
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