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Obama’s fmr. Defense Sec. says ‘Trump got it right’ on China; Biden’s ‘gotten a lot wrong’

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One of former President Barack Obama’s secretaries of defense ripped President Joe Biden during an interview that aired Sunday while offering praise for former President Donald Trump in regards to the latter’s foreign policy.

Robert Gates offered his opinions during an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” with co-host Anderson Cooper, in which he said that Biden has “gotten a lot wrong” when it comes to foreign policy throughout his political career spanning decades in the U.S. Senate, then as Obama’s vice president, and now as commander-in-chief.

“He opposed every one of Ronald Reagan’s military programs to contest the Soviet Union,” Gates said. “He opposed the first Gulf War. That list goes on. Now I will say that in the Obama administration, he and I obviously had significant differences over Afghanistan.”

The former SECDEF went on to cite a few areas where he and Biden agreed, but he went on to say that as president, Biden made a huge miscalculation in Afghanistan.


(Video: CBS News)

Asked to offer his perspective on if China made a military move on Taiwan, Gates responded that the Biden administration and Congress should move to strengthen the island nation’s ability to defend itself.

“There are two strategies that we need to focus on. One is deterrence, strengthening our own military presence in the region. And the second piece of the strategy is to strengthen Taiwan’s ability to defend itself,” Gates said.

“I think this is a place where President Trump got it right,” Gates offered. “He basically awakened Americans, and I would say especially the business community, to a China that — the assumptions about which we had gotten wrong.

“And the assumption for 40 years was that a richer China would be a freer China, and that’s clearly not going to happen,” Gates continued.

“But there’s another piece of this puzzle with China, and that is the economic side. Chinese now manage something like three dozen major ports around the world. They are the biggest trading partner of more than half of South America. They are everywhere. And what are we doing in these non-military arenas to compete with the Chinese?” he asked.

Earlier, Cooper asked Gates if he thought that Biden believed he made a mistake over how he withdrew from Afghanistan, a deadly, chaotic affair that stranded Americans in the country after a suicide bombing killed 169 Afghan civilians along with 13 U.S. military personnel.

“I’ve worked for eight presidents, Anderson. I– I’ve never encountered a single one of ’em whoever– whoever said, ‘Well, I really blew that one,'” Gates said, leading Anderson to question him over it.

“No, never,” Gates reiterated. “They just don’t do it. You know, deep in their heart they may know it. But they will never say it.”

In his memoir, released in 2014 shortly after he retired from being secretary of defense, Gates also criticized Biden’s inability to correctly diagnose foreign policy.

While referring to Biden as a “man of integrity,” Gates nevertheless stated: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Jon Dougherty

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