Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer strongly criticized President Barack Obama’s statements mean to calm anxious Persian Gulf allies at Camp David on Thursday, calling them a “sellout announcement.” In fact, he said, the gulf nations “should be terrified,” not relieved by what Obama said.
“This was absolutely pathetic. If this was meant to reassure the Gulf states, I’m sure their hair is still standing on end,” Krauthammer said on “Special Report” Thursday.
He continued: “I have never seen a statement with more caveats in it, which would give less confidence to any ally. And Obama, if you noticed was reading that. That wasn’t a bad ad lib, that wasn’t a Jeb answering the wrong question. He was — that was a prepared statement for a summit that is meant to assure the Gulf Arabs that we’re not selling them out. That was a sellout announcement."
The Daily Caller has the transcript of the rest of the exchange on Fox Thursday:
CHRIS WALLACE: I was going to follow up with that. The whole point of the summit was to try to reassure the Sunni, the gulf states, the six nations around the Persian Gulf led by Saudi Arabia that we aren’t going to sell them out with Iran and that they can be sure of their security. Should they be reassured?
KRAUTHAMMER: They should be terrified. In fact, in one with of the other answers he was answering the objection that we’re going to be unleashing billions of dollars into the Iranian treasury, which they will obviously use for the mischief, the destabilization that they are doing in the region, including Yemen, Syria, etc., threatening the gulf Arabs. His answer was, among other things not to worry, is that Iran has a lot of economic needs and they have made a commitment to their people to invest in infrastructure. So, they are not going to spend it, I assume, on Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and all the others. That is preposterous and any gulf Arab who hears that would be triply terrified.
At the close of the rare summit at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Obama said the U.S. would join the Gulf Cooperation Council nations "to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state's territorial integrity." The U.S. pledged to bolster its security cooperation with the Gulf on counterterrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity and ballistic missile defense.
"Let me underscore, the United States keeps our commitments," Obama said at a news conference.
Thursday's meeting at Obama's retreat in the Maryland mountains was aimed at quelling the Gulf's fears of U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran. Gulf states worry that if Iran wins international sanctions relief, the influx of cash would embolden what they see as Tehran's aggression in the region.
The president acknowledged those concerns, but said the U.S. believes Iran's focus would be on shoring up an economy that has struggled under the sanctions pressure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.