UK

Bill Clinton: Obama Risks Looking 'A Total Fool' And A 'Wuss' Over Syria

13/06/2013 16:07 BST | Updated 13/06/2013 16:12 BST
AP

Bill Clinton has warned Barack Obama that his reluctance to get involved in Syria could make him look like a "total fool" and a "wuss", it has been reported.

The former President said Obama would be unwise to allow public opposition to military intervention to shape his thinking.

Clinton was speaking during a 'closed press' event, where he took questions alongside former Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain.

Recent polls show only 15% of Americans would back military action in Syria

At the same time, Britain is pushing for greater involvement from the West, and on Wednesday William Hague said the world had to "do more" after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Clinton is reported to have warned that it would be unwise to opt against action because “there was a poll in the morning paper that said 80% of you were against it."

"You’d look like a total wuss,” he continued.

“And you would be. I don’t mean that a leader should go out of his way or her way to do the unpopular thing, I simply mean when people are telling you ‘no’ in these situations, very often what they’re doing is flashing a giant yellow light and saying, ‘For God’s sakes, be careful, tell us what you’re doing, think this through, be careful.'”

Clinton went on to say that a poll showing a lack of support wouldn't provide cover for Obama if things got worse down the road.

The president would just be left looking "like a total fool," he said.

He said he did not "think Syria is necessarily Iraq or Afghanistan," and reportedly added: "Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t overcommit..like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.”