Rumsfeld Puts Obama’s Diplomatic Skills Below ‘Trained Ape’
Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary, had harsh words for President Barack Obama in an interview with Fox News on Monday; specifically on his relations with Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, and on Obama’s failure to procure a status of forces agreement with Karzai. Karzai instead chose to side with Russia in the present conflict over Ukraine’s Crimea, saying, according to The Guardian, that the recent referendum indicated the citizen’s “free will” in choosing their future. He said that Afghanistan “respects the free will of the people of Crimea to decide about their own future.” At present, Afghanistan, Syria, and Venezuela are the only countries so far to have sided with Russia over the Crimean annexation with Russia as well as the presence of Russian troops in the region’s bigger military ports.
“A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement,” said Rumsfeld of Karzai’s decision. “It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship.” Specifically, Rumsfeld feels the Obama administration has been hostile to Karzai to the extent that he could do little else. “They have trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over,” said Rumsfeld, listing Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama as culprits. “They put him in a political box where he really has very little choice,” he said.
“United States diplomacy has been so bad — so embarrassingly bad — that I’m not the least bit surprised that he felt cornered and is feeling he has to defend himself in some way or he’s not president of that country,” added Rumsfeld, noting that during the Bush administration, Karzai had had a “first-rate” relationship with the U.S. government, and that it had all gone “downhill like a toboggan” after Obama was voted into office.
The criticism comes at a time when Obama is already dealing with a storm of criticism from Republicans, though in recent history the criticisms have been that he hasn’t taken a strong enough stance against Russia, and that sanctions aren’t enough or aren’t effective.
Despite the unfortunate result of Karzai’s interaction, some would say that Rumsfeld was too quick to criticize Obama on the grounds of diplomacy, having said “I don’t do diplomacy” in a 2004 interview with ABC. They’ve even made an action figure of him that plays a recording: “I shouldn’t get into this. It’s diplomacy and I don’t do diplomacy.”
Rumsfeld himself has also seen a fair amount of criticism for his international political involvement, including the fallout from the Iraq invasion, which he explained in 2003 by stating “stuff happens,” according to The New York Daily News, adding that “death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war” when discussing the casualties from the Iraq and Afghan wars. Regardless of his history, the criticism was very much in keeping with his tendency to speak his mind in the past, and unsurprising considering his political allegiances and military history with the region.
More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:
- Crimea Votes to Secede: Western Powers and Ukraine Call Move Invalid
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- Is the U.S. Using Oil to Fight Russian Gas Politics in Ukraine?
Follow Anthea Mitchell on Twitter @AntheaWSCS