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Cheney: "Allies No Longer Trust Us... Our Adversaries No Longer Fear Us"

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: It’s a very very dangerous part of the world.. and when I hear that our President uh got Bin Laden, problem solved. Uh that Al Queda is toast, that they are significantly diminished and that we can pivot now because the United States no longer has to be concerned about developments in that part of the world and focus our efforts on Asia, I am on the one-hand appalled.

Secondly, I fear for future developments if in fact they are going to continue to pursue the policy that this administration has pursued and live in accordance with affliction. We have got more territory now in that part of the world when you start to add up all the areas that have come or are coming under the influence of the Muslim brotherhood and the radical Islamists. There is a lot more land and territory there for safe harbors and sanctuaries for terrorists than we ever faced back in the time of 9/11. That entire part of the world appears to be or a good part of it certainly to be moving in the direction that is fundamentally hostile to the long term US interest and yet we are, seem to be unable to influence events in that part of the world partly because we are headed for the exits and everybody knows we are headed for the exits.

We pulled out of Iraq, we didn’t even bother to negotiate the (inaudible) agreement that was traditional in those kind of relationships. We are well on our way out of Afghanistan and um we uh have had a president whose been to Cairo, one of the first things he did to apologize for the US reaction to 9/11 allege that we quote “overreacted and fallen away from our basic traditional values” who was going to deal with the Iranian nuclear treat which I have not mentioned until now, everything I talked about before didn’t mention the Iranian problem. But, he was going to deal with the Iranian problem by basically resetting the relationship, sit down and talk to them, they’ll understand and no longer be a threat to the United States which was also seriously misguided. Part of my frustration with the recent election, and I didn’t come to make a political speech tonight, uh we’ve got very very serious economic problems, I could talk about that for hours and without question, that is a focal point that needs to be and it is absolutely crucial we deal with that appropriately. As we look forward and I’ve considered all that has happened, in the international arena, in the Middle East in particular. Places like the Arabian peninsula and Yemen and Egypt and Libya and now ongoing with the respect to Syria and the prospect that we will see a continued spread of um basic fundamental radical Islamists ideology that fundamentally hates the United States and much of what we stand for.

There has been a source of significant grief certainly for this city and for all Americans on 9/11. Faced with a very real prospect that an area of the world that has spawned terrorists by the thousands some who’ve come to the United States and killed Americans, um is back in business and the United Stated which once used to dominate that part of the world not long ago who had valued allies and basis throughout the area that had been looked to for leadership for example at the times when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and we were able to muster some 36 or 37 nations to gather with us to liberate Kuwait and send Saddam back into Iraq when we got the rest of the world to pay 50 out of the 55 billion dollar cost of the exercise. That day is gone and uh as our friends and we still have some in the part of the world, not only in Israel, which obviously is at the top of the list, but also Saudies, UAE, and many of the other gulf states.

I think certainly in my conversations with many of those people, they no longer believe us, they no longer trust us, they no longer believe they can count of the United States of America to do what we did 20 years ago when we came in and uh set back um Saddam Hussein’s operations and what we’ve done since in Iraq and Afghanistan and in terms of trying to promote democracy, getting rid of regimens that clearly were not supported by their population and um now see us as I said bailing out and heading for the exits. Our allies no longer trust us, or have confidence in us and our adversaries no longer fear us. When the President can make bold statements and bold talk as he did in the past couple of days about developments in Syria, but I don’t think they care. Unless something fundamentally different happens, I have grave doubts that he is prepared to do anything (inaudible) with Syria, except hope that he can get away with as he has up until now saying well I got Bin Laden, problem solved. It’s far from solved if anything the national security threat we face is as serious as is the economic one.

When you add to that the enormous damage that is and is about to be done to the United States military with a trillion dollar cut when you add up what’s already on the budget as well as take out another 500 billion we are doing long term damage to our military capabilities. One of the first things I did after Desert Storm was call Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles… This was right after we finished the operation. I called him and I said “Mr. President, I want to thank-you for all those $600 toilet seats you bought back in the eighties.” (laughter) He didn’t see the humor in it immediately, but the point was what we had to use in the nineties, was what he purchased and the troops that had been trained and recruited and the officers that had been educated and the equipment that had been built back in the early nineties.

So what we are doing today, by way of damaging the US military is going to be a fact of life that future presidents are going to have to deal with. Barack Obama isn’t just dealing with his budget problems; he in fact is restricting the future capabilities of the next president two or three times down the road in terms of our capacity to be able to deal with fundamental threats to the United States and they are out there and we can be absolutely certain that there are people out there tonight planning to do what happened on 9/11 only with deadlier weapons than 19 hijackers armed with airline tickets and box cutters.

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