Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called President Obama's handling of the Syrian conflict "breathtaking in naivete and a model of near-perfect lack of leadership" in a no-holds-barred interview with Andrew Wilkow on TheBlaze TV Monday.
The author of "Rumsfeld's Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life," Rumsfeld weighed in on whether there is any historical justification for a military strike in defense of "international norms," as president Obama has phrased it, by saying the president is "clearly" using words "that he feels support his position."
"The problem is, his position has been changing, and the position differs depending on who in the administration happens to be talking at any given moment," he added. "It's really discouraging if you think of the aggregation of what's gone on in recent months. We have an administration that's modeling our economy after Europe, which is a failed model, sending a signal out across the globe that we're going to be weak...And then, in terms of Syria and the Middle East, saying things that he then changes within a matter of three, four weeks, or that other people in his administration change within a matter of three or four days."
"I can't remember a time when the leadership of the United States has been so weak, and so, almost mocked in the world," Rumsfeld remarked.
The two also spoke about one of "Rumsfeld's Rules" in relation to the Syrian conflict.
"Nothing proves more persuasive than a clearly stated fact," the rule asserts.
Rumsfeld reflected on a recent speech of the president's, where the president said "ah" roughly 120 times during a single appearance.
"Why is that?" Rumsfeld said. "Because he had not thought through what his mission was, what his goal was, what his priorities were, what he wanted other people to know. And he's reaching, and worrying, and trying to figure it out as he goes along, and you can't help but feel sorry for a person who is in that kind of a situation where he's supposed to be a leader, but he's having a terribly difficult time."
"And of course in our society, or world, you lead by consent, not command. You don't order people around in our political system," he continued. "But you can't get consent unless you're persuasive. And you can't be persuasive unless you're believed. And you can't be believed if things you say change so often."
More from the segment, below:
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This post has been updated.