Tag Archives: Robert Gates

The Obama Foreign Policy

The recent news is that President Obama is trying to shut up General McChrystal, because McChrystal’s comments imply that our current troop levels in Afghanistan are insufficient.

This is reminiscent of President Bush silencing General Shinsheki. At the time the Democrats in Congress, acting opportunistically, criticized the President. This time, the Democrats in Congress, acting opportunistically, support the President.

Very well. But why is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates supporting the President?

On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations — civilian and military alike — provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately.” He did not mention McChrystal’s name.

Simple: Gates knows that Obama may not care about winning the Afghanistan War.

McChrystal knows his future depends on winning the Afghanistan War. Therefore, he is doing everything he can to get the troop levels needed to win it.

Obama does not care about the Afghanistan War. And not just because liberals think that the Afghanistan War is the bad war. Rather, Obama believes that America should generally act as an offshore balancer... That is, Obama thinks that America should avoid having a firm side in international disputes, and rather ‘go with the flow’ so that American influence will be maximized.

Gates knows this. However, Gates is involved in the bigger effort to transform our military-industrial-‘big war’-complex into a military-industrial-‘small war’-complex.

Gates’ work will continue whether or not Obama allows the Afghanistan War to be lost. Gates’ knows that he has limited political capital. Gates would rather spend that capital making the small-war-complex inevitable than risking it all on the Afghanistan War.

The Hundred Days

Several bloggers have commented on the first hundred days of the Obama Presidency, especially in context of the edited volume Threats in the Age of Obama, to which I contributed a chapter.
threats_in_the_age_of_obama_cropped_cover

I want to give particular attention to posts by Sam Liles, Mark Safranski, , Mike Tanji, as well as ubiwar and Mark Curtis.

The threat I wrote about was the collapse of the military-industrial complex, possibly as a result of financial crisis.

My evaluation of President Obama, with regard to keeping the military-industrial complex strong, is in two parts. First, his foreign policy, and second, his economic policy.

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Obama’s foreign policy has been brilliant. The team of Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates may be unmatched in modern times. A coherent, and frankly brilliant, policy of reaching out to important partners while focusing our defenses in sensible ways has contributed to an astonishingly safer world. An example of this one-two punch is Clinton’s “G-2” meeting with China while Gates pushes kill the F-22 (in spite of corrupt Congressional opposition). This helps incorporate China into the global regime we created, helps establish them as partner, and paves the way for (among other things) Taiwan’s best stock market rally in 19 years.

And when the chance permitted itself, we killed some pirates too. We are clearly signaling who are friends are, who are enemies are, and what we can do about it.

Obama’s foreign policy grade is a high A. Absolutely brilliant.

Part of keeping the military-industrial complex relevant is making sure it is aimed in ways that are not intolerate to future policy makers.

paul_bernake_geithner

Obama’s economic policy has been disastrous. As America’s economy experienced echoing shocks, as the incompetence of New York bankers (many of which were under the jurisdiction of New York Fed President Tim Geithner) were compounded by give-aways and bailouts lobbied for by Tim Geithner (among others), Obama’s choice was inexplicable: he named Tim Geithner as the Secretary of the Treasury.

Geithner’s response have not merely been made in a technical sense: for worse, they have been aimed at destroying the free-market financial system in the United States. Nearly every day brings new of a new scheme by Geithner to prevent banks from experiencing the consequences of their bad bets. The latest conduit for Geithner’s capital-laundering is Chrysler. While Geithner’s Treasury Department extended saved Chrysler from an bankruptcy for a time, they never used secured loan. That means that the “loan” to Chrysler is in fact a gift to Wall Street.

I was ignorant of the depth of Geithner’s belief that bankers should not lose money regardless of the decisions they make. Obama should not have been. Further, when Geithner actually proposed to guarantee all debt in the banking system, Obama should have used all that opportunity to begin nationalizing the zombie banks, taking back the grants we have to Goldman Sachs and other large institutions, and re-establishing a free market.

Obama absolutely as failed at this, and his policy is authoritarian-leftist. Obama’s economic hostiles appear designed to increase governmental control over the economy, destroy the middle class as an independently wealthy sector of the economy, and establish a statist model of economic stasis.

Obama’s economic policy grade is F. It can hardly get worse.

All other things being equal, Obama’s foreign policy brilliantly helps modernize the military-industrial complex that lies ahead.

All other things being equal, Obama’s economic policy is the operationalization of the greatest threat to American power in the Age of Obama.

Gates: Defeat al Qaeda, Shrink the Gap, Embrace the New Core

Secretary Gates, who got his post as head of the U.S. Department of Defense after losing to Nebraska, is my kind of guy (and not just because he acknowledges the eternal supremacy of the Cornhuskers).

Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1 – washingtonpost.com
The strategy document, which has not been released, calls for the military to master “irregular” warfare rather than focusing on conventional conflicts against other nations, though Gates also recommends partnering with China and Russia in order to blunt their rise as potential adversaries. The strategy is a culmination of Gates’s work since he took over the Pentagon in late 2006 and spells out his view that the nation must harness both military assets and “soft power” to defeat a complex, transnational foe.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama should be asked if they will keep on Robert Gates as Defense Secretary.