Russia has warned the United States against more military strikes in Syria, which didn’t worry former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Panetta served as Obama’s defense secretary and CIA director. He told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday that the U.S. is in a good position of leverage, noting the mounting intelligence reports that show that Syria was involved in this chemical weapons attack, and that the world now knows we’re not hesitant to use military action. There’s more than enough to keep up the pressure on the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who Panetta says needs to step down. We also need to keep up the fight against ISIS.
Concerning the red line that President Obama established, Panetta added that it’s important for presidents to set red lines, but also enforce them, which the Obama administration failed to do.
“I think it’s important when Presidents set red lines when they say we’re going do something, you’ve got to stand by your word. Otherwise, it sends a message of weakness to the world,” he said.
On April 6, the U.S. launched a massive missile strike against Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack in Idlib Province earlier that week, which killed at least 80 people.