Cheney confronts Pence over Trump’s foreign policy: ‘It's a lot more like Obama than Reagan’

The man credited for orchestrating the bloody and costly Iraq War criticised the president for his decision to pull troops from Syria

Sarah Harvard
New York
Tuesday 12 March 2019 21:20 GMT
Dick Cheney unrepentant after CIA torture report

Former Vice President Dick Cheney lambasted Vice President Mike Pence over the president’s decision to remove troops from Syria and his strong-arm stance on NATO.

Mr Cheney reportedly said he fears that the Trump administration’s foreign policy is looking “a lot more like Barack Obama than Ronald Reagan.”

The comments, intended to be off-the-record, were made during a closed-door retreat hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and discovered by the Washington Post through a transcript it obtained.

Mr Cheney also expressed disapproval of Mr Trump’s call to end US military exercises with South Korea, which has been going on for decades, to extend an olive branch to North Korea. He also said he was alarmed by reports alleging Trump “supposedly doesn’t spend that much time with the intel people, or doesn’t agree with them, frequently.”

Mr Cheney’s remarks elicited the current vice president to defend the Trump administration and its foreign policy. Mr Pence argued ending the biannual “war games” in South Korea would “not affect our readiness” in the US. In regards to maintaining NATO allies, Pence said the president could ask allies to increase funding for defence while still keeping a positive relationship with the organisation.

“I think there is a tendency by critics of the president and our administration to conflate the demand that our allies live up to their word and their commitments and an erosion in our commitment to the post-World War II order,” Mr Pence said.

He later added that Mr Trump “is sceptical of foreign deployments, and only wants American forces where they need to be.”

Despite offering his analysis on the Trump administration’s foreign policy, it should be noted that Mr Cheney has been responsible for forging fictitious links between Iraq’s late leader Saddam Hussein’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” to justify a bloody, costly, and endless war in Iraq resulting in the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi civilians and over 4,500 American soldiers. In addition to lying to the American people, Mr Cheney gave approval to the CIA to use waterboarding and other forms of torture as “enhanced interrogation methods” on detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Under his reign as the Bush administration’s vice president, CIA and Army personnel unleashed acts of physical and sexual abuse, torture, rape, sodomy and murder onto detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.

Mr Cheney has been a longtime board member at AEI. Lynne Cheney, his wife, is also a scholar at the Washington, DC based neoconservative think tank.

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A spokesperson for the Vice President confirmed the event and remarks to CNN.

“The Vice President reaffirmed the US’s unwavering commitment to the alliance and also offered an unapologetic defence for requiring our allies to live up to the commitments they made for our collective security,” the spokesperson said.

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