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Bush's Defense Secretary Destroys GOP Talking Points Against Obama's Handling Of Crimea | ThinkProgress
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back on Sunday against conservatives who’ve blamed President Obama’s “weak” foreign policy for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Crimea.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Gates dismissed arguments that Obama’s handling of the conflict in Syria or his efforts to trim the defense budget emboldened Putin, arguing that the Russian president also invaded Georgia during the George W. Bush administration.
“My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force,” Gates, who served as Defense Secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama said. “So I think Putin is very opportunistic in these arenas. I think that even if — even if we had launched attacks in Syria, even if we weren’t cutting our defense budget — I think Putin saw an opportunity here in Crimea, and he has seized it.” Earlier this week, Gates told the Washington Post that the GOP lawmakers should “tone down” their criticism and “try to be supportive of the president rather than natter at the president.”
Though most Republicans agree with Obama’s policy for handling the Crimean crisis, some conservatives have argued that Obama’s perceived “weakness” on the global stage has given Putin the space to move Russian troops into Crimea. “We have a weak and indecisive president” and that “invites aggression,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said last week. “Putin is playing chess and I think we’re playing marbles,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee claimed, adding that Russia is “running circles around us.”
During his appearance, Gates also dismissed criticism of Obama’s weekend vacation. “I’ve seen this happen year after year, president after president. President takes a day or two off and plays golf. Doesn’t matter whether it’s President Obama or the first President Bush going fishing. I think you’ve got to give these guys a little time off, you know, mostly they are working 20 hours a day.”
Gates said he does not believe that “Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand.” “I think it’s part of a long-term strategy on Putin’s part to create a Russian sphere of influence, a Russian bloc,” he explained. “I don’t think he will stop in Ukraine until there is essentially a pro-Russian government in Ukraine, in Kiev.”
robertgates  politics  congress  usa  ukraine  military  government  democrats  republicans 
march 2014 by jtyost2
Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally: Jeffrey Goldberg
But it was Robert M. Gates, the now-retired secretary of defense, who seemed most upset with Netanyahu. In a meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee held not long before his retirement this summer, Gates coldly laid out the many steps the administration has taken to guarantee Israel’s security — access to top- quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems, high-level intelligence sharing — and then stated bluntly that the U.S. has received nothing in return, particularly with regard to the peace process.

Senior administration officials told me that Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank. According to these sources, Gates’s analysis met with no resistance from other members of the committee.
robertgates  politics  israel  usa  barackobama  diplomacy  military 
october 2012 by jtyost2
Beginning of the End for NATO? - NYTimes.com
The U.S. defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, knows how to speak his mind. In a speech on Friday in Brussels, his last in Europe before he leaves office, Mr. Gates lambasted NATO.

Mr. Gates warned the Europeans that unless they improved their military capabilities, spent more on defense and pooled resources, NATO faced “the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance.”

The Europeans are used to being berated by Washington. The United States did that even during the Cold War, when the Continent was divided between NATO troops defending Western Europe and Warsaw Pact troops standing at the ready in Eastern Europe.

Then, the Europeans generally obliged. They knew that the threat was real and that they needed U.S. troops to protect them. As late as 1999, after more cajoling, the Europeans helped bomb Serbia in a bid to end almost a decade of civil war and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia that was taking place in Europe’s own backyard.
usa  nato  military  robertgates  europe  politics 
july 2011 by jtyost2
U.S. Won’t Become Isolationist, Gates Tells Worried Asian Leaders
SINGAPORE — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pledged Saturday that the United States would sustain its military presence and diplomatic involvement in Asia, as he sought to calm regional worries about the potential for a new isolationism brought on by fiscal difficulties at home.

In a speech before an audience of Asian defense ministers and military commanders, which included a high-ranking delegation from China, Mr. Gates declared that Washington would not step back from its responsibilities to defend allies, counterbalance regional threats and assist in humanitarian disasters.

He acknowledged the grim economic and political realities facing the American government, saying that “fighting two protracted and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has strained the U.S. military’s ground forces, and worn out the patience and appetite of the American public for similar interventions in the future.”

Even so, he said, “We recognize that the American defense engagement — from our forward deployed forces to exercises with regional partners — will continue to play an indispensable role in the stability of the region.”
robertgates  USA  diplomacy  politics  military  budget  Iraq  Afghanistan  Asia  Japan  from instapaper
july 2011 by jtyost2
BBC News - Obama honours retiring defence secretary Robert Gates
US President Barack Obama has honoured retiring Defence Secretary Robert Gates by presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a president can give a civilian.

At a farewell ceremony, the president said Mr Gates, who steps down on Thursday, had one of the best tenures of any civilian Pentagon chief.

Mr Gates, 67, became defence secretary in 2006 under President George W Bush.

He will be replaced by outgoing CIA chief Leon Panetta on Friday.
barackobama  robertgates  military  usa  politics 
july 2011 by jtyost2
BBC News - Afghanistan drawdown risky, US joint chiefs head says
The top US military officer has said President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is "more aggressive" than he had advised.

Adm Mike Mullen said leaving troops in place was "the safer course", but added he supported the president's decision.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mr Obama had kept a pledge to begin withdrawals by July 2011.

On Wednesday Mr Obama announced the withdrawal of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by September 2012.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed the move, but the Taliban dismissed it as "symbolic" and vowed to continue fighting until all foreign forces left.

In a series of interviews and congressional hearings on Thursday, senior US officials lent their support to Mr Obama's decision to remove about one-third of the US troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that the president had taken account of waning domestic political support when making the decision, AFP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, President Obama visited Fort Drum military base in New York state on Thursday, where he reiterated the messages conveyed in his speech on Wednesday evening.
barackobama  politics  MikeMullen  afghanistan  usa  congress  budget  military  taliban  terrorism  hamidkarzai  robertgates 
june 2011 by jtyost2
Gates Acknowledges Talks with Taliban - NYTimes.com
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged on Sunday that the United States had begun preliminary talks with members of the Taliban as part of an effort to end the war in Afghanistan.
robertgates  politics  diplomacy  afghanistan  taliban  usa 
june 2011 by jtyost2
Gates Sees Iran as a Consideration for U.S. Troops in Iraq - NYTimes.com
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on Tuesday that if some American troops remained in Iraq beyond the scheduled withdrawal of all United States forces by the end of the year, it would be reassuring to Persian Gulf countries, but not to Iran. “And that’s a good thing,” Mr. Gates said.

The defense secretary said that while Iraqi politicians loyal to the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr clearly wanted the Americans to leave, it was debatable “how much of that is the Sadrists and how much of that is the Iranians behind the Sadrists.”

The Sadrists, who the United States says are closely allied with Iran, have long insisted that all American forces must be out of Iraq by the end of December, the deadline agreed to by Iraq and the United States.

Mr. Gates, who is to retire at the end of next month, made his comments at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research institution, in a question-and-answer session after delivering formal remarks on the defense budget. He described it as “my last major policy speech in Washington.”
robertgates  military  iran  iraq  usa  politics  middleeast  diplomacy 
may 2011 by jtyost2
Gates Warns Against Big Cuts in Military Spending - NYTimes.com
In a grim warning about financial priorities during a time of fiscal crisis, the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, said Sunday that budget pressures must not limit Pentagon spending such that the military is unable to defend American interests in an unpredictable world.

Most notable for Mr. Gates — a longtime advocate for diplomacy and development, along with military power, to protect American global interests — was his reminder of the long-term requirement for the United States to sustain an armed force superior to any adversary.

“The problems we as a nation are grappling with are well-known: steep fiscal imbalances and mounting debt, which could develop into a deep crisis for our country,” Mr. Gates told graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame.

He went on: “At the same time, we face a complex and unpredictable international security environment that includes a major war in Afghanistan, winding up the war in Iraq, revolution throughout the Middle East, new rising powers, nuclear proliferation in Iran and Korea, the continued threat of terrorism, and more.”

Even the death of Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of Al Qaeda who was killed in a Navy commando raid in Pakistan, cannot guarantee that the threat of violent extremism has ended, Mr. Gates said.

As the Pentagon’s chief under Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, Mr. Gates has been a leading advocate of expanding non-military efforts to secure America’s national interests abroad. But in his commencement address, he noted the limits of so-called soft power. Mr. Gates is expected to step down next month, after about four and a half years.
robertgates  military  usa  economy  terrorism  politics 
may 2011 by jtyost2
BBC News - US: 'No evidence' Pakistan knew Bin Laden's whereabouts
US officials have said there was no evidence indicating leaders in Islamabad knew Osama Bin Laden had been hiding in Pakistan.

But defence secretary Robert Gates said he believed "somebody" in Pakistan knew the whereabouts of the al-Qaeda chief.

Top military officer Adm Mike Mullen said it might take a while to find out if Bin Laden had Pakistani protectors.

Amid increasing pressure from US lawmakers, both men advised against cutting off aid to Pakistan.

In a joint news conference at the Pentagon, Mr Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Mullen said the US must continue to work with Pakistan and provide aid to the country.

But the officials said Pakistan must take action to eliminate the safe havens where militants are allegedly hiding along the border with Afghanistan.
pakistan  osamabinladen  robertgates  usa  al-qaeda  politics  diplomacy  afghanistan 
may 2011 by jtyost2

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