Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that the US lacks “a strategy of pushback from the administration” to deal with how Iran will use money it is given under the nuclear deal “To interfere” in the Middle East” and that “micromanagement out of the White House” was a concern he had due to the fact President Obama “centralized operational activities in the White House” in addition to problems with “execution” on Monday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.
Gates said that the US was “out-negotiated” on the Iran deal. “For example, we — the administration said as late as April — last April ,that they had to have anywhere anytime inspections, and yet that was given up. We insisted for a long time on getting the history of the Iranian nuclear weaponization’s research program, and we didn’t get that. So, I think that there were some — I think it’s clear that we wanted the agreement more than the Iranians. And that’s never a good position to negotiate in. But, I think as you think about the conversations you’ve been having, the real issue, it seems to me, as the Iranians get $150 billion, is the absence of a strategy of pushback from the administration to parallel this nuclear deal. Where is the strategy on how we are going to invest money, how the weapons we are prepared to provide to our allies and friends in the region, what are we prepared to do in terms of military presence, covert action, diplomacy and so on to put back consistently against the Iranians’ use of this money to interfere elsewhere in the region?”
He added, “If you want to limit nuclear weapons, that’s one thing. But also you have to show that you’re prepared to deal with their actions outside of the nuclear arena, wherever they occur.”
Gates then discussed President Obama, stating, “I have two concerns — had two that I’ve written about. One is that he seems to be unwilling to trust subordinates to execute his policies, and so he’s centralized operational activities in the White House. So, under previous administrations that I worked for, there might be 40 or 50 professionals on the National Security Council staff, there are now hundreds, and I once asked the national security adviser, how many people do you have working on Iraq and Afghanistan. He said 25. That was half the size of the Scowcroft NSC, half the size of George W. Bush’s, or about less than — a fraction of — I mean, it’s many times the size of the NSC under George W. bush. So, this micromanagement out of the White House was one concern. The other concern is execution, of being able to make a decision, and/or articulate a vision and then execute it in policy. And a perfect example is the Cairo speech that he gave early in the administration, about here’s what we were going to do in the Middle East and so on. Led to a lot of euphoria, and then nothing. There was no strategy. There was no implementation. And the result was bitterness in the Middle East, because it was just seen as hollow rhetoric.”
Gates also argued the US needs to “be much more careful about when we use military force, and then use it overwhelmingly. And we’ve really only won one war since World War II, and that was the first Gulf War.”
He further stated the US doesn’t have the technological capability to fight wars without having to put troops on the ground. Gates added, “this is why presidents have to be so careful about going to war, because it always…means foot soldiers.”
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