Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense under President Obama, criticized presidents who lay out a red line and do not follow through when it is crossed, namely the president he served under. Panetta said a message of "weakness" is broadcasted to the world when a president does not take action, particularly to Bashar al-Assad and Russia in Obama's case.
"I always said that when a president puts his credibility on the line with a red line, as President Obama did saying we would not allow them to chemical weapons, I think it was the right step to take, but it was also important to stand by that red line and enforce it," Panetta said to MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell.
"I think when there was hesitancy to do go to Congress for permission, and not take action, I think it sent a message to Assad and Russia as well," the former Obama admin official said. "I think it lines. When you say we will do something, you have to stand by your word. Otherwise, it sends a message of weakness to the world."
Panetta's full appearance:
Andrea Mitchell and Leon Panetta discuss the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the U.S. bombing of an ISIS target in Afghanistan and the threat or more strikes in Syria.