Allen West, the former Army colonel and congressman, said in an interview Wednesday that America must act decisively to put down hostile foreign actors, from Iran to the Islamic State.
He was skeptical about the trustworthiness of deals made with the rogue nation Iran, convinced that its negotiating posturing belies its pursuit of regional dominance. He stressed that they cannot and must not be trusted, if the president wishes to maintain regional and international security, drawing a parallel to the agreement between Hitler and Chamberlin in World War II.
"There has been no change in the behavior of Iran since 1979 when they took our hostages, 1983 when they bombed the marine boats in Beirut. Currently Iran holds 4 Americans hostages," he said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. "Doing these negotiations, we have seen a 20 percent increase in their uranium enrichment, so, there’s no ‘good faith’ in this deal. What we have, replaying itself, is a 1930’s Chamberlin-Hitler moment, and you know how well that worked out."
He said American policy makers must listen to our enemies and recognize the differences in national interests. The Iranian regime, he said, does not share our value for life.
"You don’t want to see a regime that is focused on the return of the Mahdi, an apocalyptic event, have a nuclear device. There is no such thing as Mutually Assured Destruction Theory with Iran," he said. "When you have a theocratic regime, like Iran, they don’t operate on the same basis."
West also criticized the administration for not taking a firm enough approach to dealing with Putin. The White House needs to make it clear that it will not be put off by their aggression, according to West.
"If he had a positive strategy against Russia, Russia would not be in the Ukraine. Russia would not have taken Crimea. The Baltic States would not be concerned. We keep hearing reports of Russian aircraft that are buzzing our naval vessels in international seas. That’s not the sign of someone who believes that you have a resolute will. That’s the sign of someone who believes that they can intimidate you," West said. "Bullies are always going to pick on weaklings, and that’s what he sees."
He said the United States must keep Russian ambition at bay, in order to uphold international order.
"Ronald Reagan gave hope to the people of Eastern Europe when he said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’ and we need to continue to find ways that we can provide the best support, because Vladimir Putin is looking to re-establish what he called the ‘greatest disappointment of the 20th century,’ that was the collapse of the Soviet Union," he said, "Russia, without Ukraine, is just a country. Russia, with Ukraine, is an empire, and that’s what they want to have."
America’s approach to the Islamic State (IS) demonstrates the largest strategic bungling by Obama, according to West. He is not satisfied with the military tactic, or lack thereof, and said we need more boots on the ground in Iraq, to supplement Iraqi forces.
"If you’re going to have an effective combat strategy, you say that your intent is to degrade, defeat and destroy them, that means you have to have combat boots on the ground," he said. "The fact that ISIS is moving around in Iraq and Syria in broad daylight with flags flying on these vehicles they’ve taken, that’s inconceivable. That shows a complete failure."
He argued that IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) is the product of a lack of American presence in the region following the fall of al Qaeda, and that the United States must assume responsibility for this outcome and continue to assume responsibility throughout the current fight.
"You created this entity called ISIS, which is the reconstitution of al Qaeda in Iraq, which had been defeated, so now you need to take the actions necessary to degrade, defeat and destroy them," he said. "There is a complete obfuscation of any responsibility. We had generals that were recommending a residual force of 10-12, maybe 13,000, and the president refused to take that advice and that council, so basically, this administration made a campaign promise decision, instead of a valid national security strategy decision, and now they are trying to eschew any type of responsibility for the consequences that everyone knew would occur."