Donald Rumsfeld: 'It does not take a genius'
By: Tal Kopan
March 25, 2014 06:13 AM EDT
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is blasting the Obama administration’s handling of Afghanistan, saying a “trained ape” could have done a better job in diplomatic relations with the country.
“We have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,” Rumsfeld said Monday night on “On the Record with Greta van Susteren” on Fox News. “This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.”
The George W. Bush Cabinet official who presided over the beginning of the war in Afghanistan said that relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai were good under Bush, but have gone “downhill like a toboggan” under President Barack Obama.
Rumsfeld said he understands the position Karzai is in, from badmouthing U.S. officials to recently announcing he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin on annexing the Crimean region of Ukraine.
“United States diplomacy has been so bad, so embarrassingly bad, that I’m not the least bit surprised that he felt cornered and is feeling he has to defend himself in some way or he’s not president of that country,” Rumsfeld said. “We have so mismanaged that relationship.”
Rumsfeld called out individual members of the Obama administration, including the president himself, for comments he said “trashed” the Afghan president.
“They have trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over,” Rumsfeld said. “[Richard] Holbrooke, the special enjoy did. Vice President [Joe] Biden did. Secretary Hillary Clinton has. The president has been unpleasant to him. And it seems to me they put him in a political box where he really has very little choice.”
The former secretary said while he does not support Karzai’s position on Crimea, he gets it.
“I personally sympathize with him to some extent,” Rumsfeld said. “Nobody likes to hear a foreign leader side with Putin on the Crimea the way he has. But I really think it’s understandable, given the terrible, terrible diplomacy that the United States has conducted with Afghanistan over the last several years. … I think there is probably not a politician in the world who, dealing with the United States, instead of having the United States deal with him privately through private diplomacy, came out repeatedly, publicly, in an abusive, unpleasant manner.”