But Philip Gordon, who served as a Special Assistant to the President and was the White House coordinator for the Middle East from 2013 to 2015, praised Donald Trump for the strike, saying it will deter further chemical attacks.
Mr Gordon was speaking ahead of a two-day G7 group meeting of Foreign Ministers from the leading nations in Italy today.
Top of the agenda is set to be mounting tensions between the East and West over the conflict in Syria and Russia’s support for President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking on Radio 4, Mr Gordon said all-out war would be the “last resort”, but Vladimir Putin was taking a “gamble” with his continued backing of the Syrian regime.
Philip Gordon warned Vladimir Putin was 'gambling' war with the West
Putin doesn’t believe the West is willing to risk war
He said: “[Vladimir Putin] doesn’t believe the West is willing to risk war with him and so far he has been right.
“Especially in the wake of the lessons in Iraq, in Libya where we have removed dictators and found ourselves with a big mess on our hands.
“There’s not a lot of enthusiasm going down that road militarily, so Putin is making the gamble that we are unlikely to do that and so far he has been proven right.”
Donald Trump authorised a strike on a Syrian airbase last week
Meanwhile, Russia and Iran have threatened the US they will “respond with force” if red lines are crossed in Syria again.
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The alliance, who support the Syrian President, made a statement in retaliation to President Trump’s cruise missile strike.
The Republican authorised the military action after 89 people, including children, were killed in a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week.
In 2013, Mr Obama failed to follow through on his threat to retaliate when a chemical weapon was released on the Syrian people.
Mr Gordon believes Mr Trump’s quick response to last week’s attack will prevent any further use of chemical weapons.
He continued: “I was in the White House in 2013 and I think the President should have gone ahead with the strikes he had planned and ordered.
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Fri, April 7, 2017
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“In that sense, you could say Trump is doing the right thing in making clear that there is a consequence for using chemical weapons.
“The reason I think it was a mistake is if you don’t take some action, and do not impose a cost for using chemical weapons you’re essentially saying: ‘You can use them as much as you like’.
“You can be sure that if nothing was done in the case of last week’s attack, [Assad] would start up the Sarin factories and use it repeatedly.”