9:41 AM, Mar 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
That is how former secretary of defense, Robert Gates writing in the Wall Street Journal, describes what drives Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukraine, the Baltics, and any other region where he considers Russians interests and international reputation at stake. He is motivated by a massive grievance, which, one suspects, is further stimulated when his nation is dismissed as a “regional power,” as the president did yesterday.
Putin wants Russia’s former power (and what he views as its glory) back and operates from:
… a dramatically different worldview than the leaders of Europe and the U.S. He does not share Western leaders' reverence for international law, the sanctity of borders, which Westerners' believe should only be changed through negotiation, due process and rule of law. He has no concern for human and political rights. Above all, Mr. Putin clings to a zero-sum worldview.
Mr. Gates lays out a forceful case for why Putin must be resisted and what it will take:
… Western investment in Russia should be curtailed; Russia should be expelled from the G-8 and other forums that offer respect and legitimacy; the U.S. defense budget should be restored to the level proposed in the Obama administration's 2014 budget a year ago, and the Pentagon directed to cut overhead drastically, with saved dollars going to enhanced capabilities, such as additional Navy ships; U.S. military withdrawals from Europe should be halted; and the EU should be urged to grant associate agreements with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.
And on the likelihood of that happening, as things now stand, Gates does not, characteristically, dodge the realities. The crisis, he writes, comes:
… at a most unpropitious time for the West. Europe faces a weak economic recovery and significant economic ties with Russia. The U.S. is emerging from more than a dozen years at war and leaders in both parties face growing isolationism among voters, with the prospect of another major challenge abroad cutting across the current political grain. Crimea and Ukraine are far away, and their importance to Europe and America little understood by the public.
Gates is a realist. But not a defeatist. On the question of what can, if anything, be done, he has some thoughts. To appreciate them, read the whole, thing.
2:45 PM, Mar 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
“I think that cutting the defense budget in significant ways right now is a serious mistake. When we’ve cut the budget before at the end of the Cold War, at the end of Vietnam and other times, it’s been because we thought the world was going to be safer place. No one can make that case right now."
That's former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
3:37 PM, Jan 7, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Robert Gates, the former defense secretary under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, writes in a new memoir that both Obama and Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time, told Gates that their 2007 opposition to the surge of troops in Iraq was based on political considerations. Both Obama and Clinton were sitting senators running for the Democratic nomination during the debate over the surge.
12:15 PM, Oct 5, 2012 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense, got considerable attention this week when, speaking in Norfolk, Virginia, he said American officials should make it clear to the government of Israel that "they do not have a blank check to take action that could do grave harm to American vital interests." Strongly objecting to an Israeli or U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear sites, he claimed, "The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world."
4:27 PM, Jun 6, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Robert Gates, the former defense secretary, reportedly blasted the national security team in the Obama White House for blabbing about the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. "Shut the f--- up," Gates told Tom Donilon, who is now Obama's national security adviser, according to a book by New York Times reporter David Sanger.
1:39 PM, Sep 12, 2011 • By LEE SMITH
Jerusalem—Jeffrey Goldberg reported last week that former defense secretary Robert Gates thinks that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “ungrateful” for all that Washington has done for Israel. The purpose of the story, leaked by senior administration officials, is to blame Netanyahu for the rift in U.S.-Israel relations.
4:09 PM, Jun 20, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that President Obama will announce his decision about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan this week—most likely Tuesday or Wednesday.
3:09 PM, May 25, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said yesterday that "Iraq [should] host U.S. troops beyond the end of the year to maintain stability and keep Iran at bay," according to the Wall Street Journal.
"It would be reassuring to the Gulf States. It would not be reassuring to Iran, and that is a good thing," Mr. Gates said....
11:11 AM, May 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned against allowing America's might and military to decline.
1:17 PM, May 13, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
CNN reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is concerned about the security of the Navy SEALs, after the Obama administration credited the elite force with killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan: