Denmark's former prime minister and the former secretary general of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said on Thursday that US President Barack Obama's failure to act when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in 2013.
“Obama's decision to draw the infamous red line to Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria and then not follow it up with action was, in my opinion, a disaster,” Rasmussen said in a video message posted to Facebook.
“It created doubts about America's commitment to lead, thus inflaming the enemies of freedom and it left the Syrian population at the mercy of a ruthless dictator,” he continued.
The former PM and Nato head said “our enemies” have taken advantage of “America's reluctance to involve itself in the fight against tyranny and oppression”.
Rasmussen pointed specifically to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the terrorist group Isis as having benefited from “the vacuum” created by “American hesitation and retrenchment”.
“The world needs a policeman and that policeman needs to be the United States of America,” Rasmussen said.
He called on the next president of the US to “lead from the front, not from behind”.
Rasmussen did not mention either candidate for the presidency by name in his video message, but in a Facebook Q&A session, he did seem to give a stamp of approval to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I worked closely with Hillary Clinton during her four years as Secretary of State. I'm sure she has the will to lead,” he wrote.
He was also asked if Republican candidate Donald Trump could fill the “policeman” role that Rasmussen wants.
“Based on Mr. Trumps previous statements: No. To my strong regret he has simply refused to take global leadership.But of course you never know how people would act if they were to get the presidency,” the former Danish PM said.
Rasmussen served as Danish PM from 2001 to 2009 and was Nato head from 2009 to 2014. He now runs a consulting firm.