Biden says he predicted Libya instability, putting him at odds with Clinton

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden speak at the end of the Vital Voices Global Awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington on April 2, 2013.

Story highlights

  • That stance put Biden at odds with Hillary Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee
  • Biden said he would remain in the public sphere even after January 2017

Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden suggested in an interview this week he was right and President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were wrong when it came to intervening in Libya.

Speaking with Charlie Rose, Biden said he argued "strongly against going to Libya" ahead of the 2011 U.S. intervention that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi, saying he predicted the instability that has followed.
    "My question was, 'OK, tell me what happens.' He's gone. What happens? Doesn't the country disintegrate? What happens then? Doesn't it become a place where it becomes a Petri dish for the growth of extremism?" Biden said. "And it has."
    That stance put Biden at odds with Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Clinton argued forcefully for intervention in Libya, eventually convincing Obama to take robust action there. She has defended that argument, saying no U.S. troops were put at risk.
    Clinton similarly argued for a more muscular approach in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has ruthlessly clung to power amid a bloody civil war. Biden, however, said in the interview that suggestions the U.S. take out Assad through military force haven't been properly thought through.
    Responding specifically to a letter from dozens of U.S. diplomats advocating the U.S. take out Assad's military capabilities, Biden said he didn't detect enough specifics to make their plan feasible.
    "The President and I, and previous presidents, support the right of any diplomat to have a secure channel to voice a different view," he said. "But there's not a single, solitary recommendation that I saw that is a single solitary answer attached to it -- how to do what they're talking about."
    Last week, the White House said Obama was open to a "robust" discussion about his Syria policy, but steadfast in his view the crisis can't be ended through U.S. military action.
    Despite apparent foreign policy differences, Biden told Rose he looked forward to campaigning for Clinton, saying he was "absolutely committed to what Hillary is trying to do in terms of giving the middle class a leg up, to actually right this ship a little bit."
    He said although he was nearing the end of his own career as an elected official, he would remain in the public sphere even after January 2017.
    "I don't plan on going away. I'm going to stay in politics writ large," he said.