Richardson: Obama right to wait on ISIS strategy

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said on Sunday that President Obama is right to gather more intelligence and speak with allies in the Middle East in preparing a strateagy to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Richardson said on ABC's "This Week" that he agreed with Obama’s decision not to divulge a strategy on ISIS last week. The president said Thursday “we don't have a strategy yet” on ISIS.


“I think the president probably should have said ‘we’re developing a policy, a new policy,’ ” Richardson said.

“I applaud him too … these are very serious foreign policy issues,” Richardson, who ran for president in 2008, continued.

Richardson said many questions about ISIS remain unanswered, including their power across the Middle East and their ability to attack the United States.

“We need better intelligence about their objectives, about their capabilities,” Richardson said.

But apart from that, the United States probably cannot fight ISIS by itself, he said. “You do have to have a coalition.” 

While the United States has already launched air strikes in Iraq aimed at ISIS, Richardson said Obama should probably strike in Syria as well.

“But let’s do it in a targeted way,” Richardson said, adding that the United States should not help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is also fighting ISIS.

Richardson also advised Obama to work with Congress on ISIS strategy and limit the extent to which he acts unilaterally.

“My point is, let’s do it right,” he said.