Anthony Blinken, the elected president, Secretary of State Joe Biden, acknowledged earlier this year that the Obama administration had “failed” in Syria – although it also swayed the Trump administration for withdrawing completely from the country.
“The last administration should acknowledge that we failed, not because we would have tried, but we failed,” Blinken told CBS News in May. “We failed to prevent a terrible loss of life. We have failed to prevent the internal oppression of people in Syria and, of course, abroad as refugees. And that’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my days.
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During the administration, he served as Deputy Secretary of State Blinken and Deputy National Security Adviser to former President Obama, while Biden was National Security Adviser.
President Obama has struggled to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is embroiled in a civil war with the rebels and will carry out chemical attacks on his own citizens.
Obama famously said that the use of Assad chemical weapons would be a “red line,” but when Assad used saringase, Obama never responded. President Trump will finally launch strikes against military targets in 2017 and 2018 in response to further chemical attacks.
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In his interview, Blinken noted that the Syrian refugee crisis began in 2015 and caused a migration crisis in Europe.
“We have failed to prevent the internal oppression of people in Syria and, of course, abroad as refugees. And that’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my days. It’s something I feel very strongly about, ”he said.
At the same time, the Trump administration has also criticized it for abandoning “leverage” in its more liberal approach to Syria.
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“So, you know, what has unfortunately happened since they made an awful situation arguably worse.” And as much as the U.S. has the remaining capital strength in Syria to try to achieve an even more positive outcome, ”he said. “Unfortunately, the Trump government has more or less reversed that a full Syrian withdrawal will involve significant leverage.”
Blinken was one of several cabinet and other appointments Biden named this week, including officials from several Obama administrations.
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Biden announced Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security and Avril Hains as the first woman to lead the intelligence community. On Monday, he also announced former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Envoy for Climate and will attend the National Security Council.
Fox News Brooke Singman contributed to this report.