Robert Gates

Non-STARTer
July 08, 2010

Nuclear policy analysts are apoplectic about his "shabby, misleading and … thoroughly ignorant" reasoning, and his arguments have already been rebutted on the merits in a number of places (including here,  here, here, and here). But the question at hand isn't necessarily whether Romney's ghostwriter "has even the vaguest acquaintance with the subject matter." As with the "death panels," Romney's op-ed is an ideological statement, which does not require fealty to facts.

The Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban: Two Heads of the Same Monster
May 05, 2010

This morning’s New York Times piece about the alleged Times Square bomber who may have connections to the Taliban in Pakistan included this tidbit: The Pakistani Taliban is a different organization from the Taliban groups that the United States is battling in Afghanistan. However, at TNR we’ve run several pieces that argue differently.

Another Victory For The Obama Administration: “Hezbollah Has So Many Rockets That They Are At A Point Where They Have More Missiles Than Most Governments In The World”
April 27, 2010

This is Defense Secretary Robert Gates talking, and he is telling the stark truth to Ehud Barak, Israel’s minister of defense, who presumably already knows.  Of course, it did not start with the Obama administration at all. It was one of the sterling achievements of the Bush custodianship of foreign affairs in which Condi Rice hustled, along with Tzipi Livni, to close down the 2006 Lebanon war. Security Council Resolution 1701 was the instrument, and it had a history in the United Nations going back at least to1978.

The Iranian Calamity And The President’s Obsession With A Little Street In Jerusalem
April 24, 2010

Frankly, I do not think that Barack Obama ever really believed that an accommodation with Iran over its nuclear designs was possible. What follows is that he prevaricated about this promising turn in diplomacy and that one, all the while knowing he was going straight down a dead-end street. And going down that street in a quite cavalier fashion so as to keep his critics at bay. Some Americans were even persuaded by the seemingly confident president that he must have something up his sleeve.

The Bomb Squad
April 21, 2010

Imagine for a moment that it is late 2010, perhaps a few weeks after the midterm elections. Barack Obama has scheduled a surprise prime-time televised statement from the Oval Office. Looking grave, even shaken, behind the presidential desk, Obama fixes his gaze into the camera and speaks: When I said that it would be unacceptable for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, I meant it. Over the past several months, it has become clear that neither engagement nor isolation and sanctions have slowed Iran’s determination to build a bomb.

Pencils Down
March 03, 2010

On February 2, at the first Senate hearings on gays in the military since 1993, Admiral Mike Mullen became the only sitting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. He said the “institutional integrity” of the armed forces demands that they stop forcing gay service members to lie in order to serve their country.

Terrorists Without Borders
February 23, 2010

Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field Edited by Antonio Giustozzi (Columbia University Press, 318 pp., $40)   My Life with the Taliban By Abdul Salam Zaeef Edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn (Columbia University Press, 331 pp., $29.95) After several hours of driving down one of the two-lane asphalt roads that wind through Pakistan’s tribal areas, our kidnappers entered the territory of Baitullah Mehsud, the widely feared leader of the Pakistani Taliban. It was the middle of March in 2009.

Obama's World
February 17, 2010

Let’s face it. America’s foreign policy is hardly healthier than its economy. Of course, jobs and taxes still dominate the politics of the day. Republicans will likely be running election campaigns on those matters. But, as foreign policy comes into focus more and more, Democrats may seek refuge from Barack Obama’s grand strategy and its consequences--or lack thereof. For, right now, Obama’s frustrated foreign policy is little more than aimlessness. His biggest decision to date has been Afghanistan.

Proxy War
January 30, 2010

When President Obama launched a massive humanitarian-aid response to Haiti's earthquake last month, not everyone took his magnanimity at face value. Hugo Chavez, for example, accused him of "occupying Haiti undercover" and then upped the ante by saying the earthquake had been caused by an American "tectonic weapon." A minister from France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, complained that the U.S.

Islamabad Boys
January 27, 2010

On August 26, 2008, Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, touched down for a secret meeting on an aircraft carrier stationed in the Indian Ocean. The topic: Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The summit had been arranged the previous month. Mullen had grown anxious about the rising danger from Pakistan’s tribal areas, which Islamic militants were using as a base from which to strike American troops in Afghanistan and to plot terrorist attacks against the United States. He flew to Islamabad to see the country’s army chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

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