OTR Interviews

Did Putin outsmart Obama on Syria?

Secretary of State Kerry announces new international plan to halt fighting in Syria. But is the strategy a smart one and how will it impact the US mission against ISIS? Lt. Col. Oliver North goes 'On the Record'


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did Russian President Vladimir Putin just outsmart President Obama.

Secretary of State John Kerry announcing an international plan to hold fighting in Syria, but is this plan a smart one? And why did the U.S. agree to this?

Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North is here e to go "On the Record." good evening, sir.

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, (RET) U.S. MARINE CORPS: The reason they agreed .

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a smart one first of all?

NORTH: Is it what?


NORTH: Oh, this is a tragedy for the people of Syria because what we've seen already is incredible Russian air power.

You're going to watch between now and the day this is implemented if it ever is. You're going to see an enormous ramp up in Russian air attacks all over, particularly, to help Assad take back Aleppo.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So why did the U.S. agree to this?

NORTH: It's because diplomats in the words of Ronald Reagan. Well, they all believe in diplomacy and the fact is diplomacy is not backed up by something doesn't work.

And the reality of this, what you've got right now is Russian dominance over the fighting in Syria. Not so much in Iraq.

I had a conversation with one of my Iraqi friends that I was just out there as you know, in Kurdistan. And he called me -- anyway, you've interviewed him, (inaudible). And he's on the way here. He's going to see a couple of our friends. And he said, "This is worst thing that could happen.''


NORTH: And that's because -- it's because the Russians are going to take enormous advantage of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. This is what I don't get about the deal, though. It's Russia, Assad, the U.S. but the people that they're supposed to cease fighting with aren't even part of the deal, the rebels.

NORTH: Well, did you see any Syrians in that press conference? Look, to believe this is going to work ...

VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean like it's, I mean, the rebels who are part of this instrument, they're not even part of the agreement and they're not part of the deal.

NORTH: Neither was Assad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh OK, neither was Assad.

NORTH: I mean, the fact is .

VAN SUSTEREN: So who's going to enforce this?

NORTH: Well, I guess Lavrov is going to tell the Syrians to stop fighting ...

VAN SUSTEREN: The foreign minister for Russia.

NORTH: Yes. He's going to tell them, it's just like the Minsk agreement for the Ukraine. Remember how well that worked. I mean, look, this is a disaster. We've already got over 400,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Syria alone. You've got 14 plus million refugees flooding into Europe.

VAN SUSTEREN: But Ollie, if you want fighting to stop, the people who are fighting have to be part of the agreement.


VAN SUSTEREN: And I mean, and the people here -- the people fighting here, are they part of the agreement?


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's what -- so like how does this possibly be successful? I mean, I'd like to see this successful.

NORTH: It looks like a diplomatic break through. And those are the kinds of words that this administration has consistently used.

Did Lavrov -- the question you asked, did Lavrov and the Russians outsmart the Obama Administration? Of course they did. But the O-Team has been absent without leave for this entire conflict.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does Putin get out of this?

NORTH: Putin gets the idea that he knows his one mission in life and he's given that to all his commanders in Syria, both in Latakia and in Tartus. As you will make sure that Assad does not get thrown out of power and retaking Aleppo is a big part of that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

NORTH: And so what you're going to see is retaking Aleppo.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, also ISIS isn't part of this, right?

NORTH: No. This is absolutely fool-hearted. And the worst part of it, Greta, is a little rule of life in big people, long pants stuff and national security. Unfulfilled expectations are the greatest cause of anger, frustration, and death in the globe. And you've got to have a lot of unfulfilled expectations here. If you believe in this thing, you believe in the Easter Bunny.

VAN SUSTEREN: Colonel, thank you.