Sometimes, Politicians Need to Be Political

Kevin Williamson is being quite unfair to Robert Gates in his editorial piece. Sometimes, an argument from organizational self-interest is the best argument to carry the day on a particular issue, and failing to argue from a standpoint of organizational self-interest means losing the argument on that issue. There are doubtless a significant number of …

There Was Never Any “Team of Rivals” in the Obama Administration

Richard Holbrooke was always one of my favorite Democrats--brilliant, dynamic, a fascinating personality, and a diplomat with actual, substantive accomplishments to his name (unlike a certain former secretary of state who is currently trying to convince us that she should be the next president of the United States). If life were fair, Holbrooke would have …

We Have a Defense Secretary. But Will He Be Allowed to Lead?

I applaud the nomination of Ashton Carter to be secretary of defense. He is hyper-smart, passionate about defense and national security policy, knows the Pentagon like the back of his hand, is tough and assertive, and he will be a forceful participant in debates about foreign, defense and national security policy. He is, in short, …

I Pity the Fool Who Becomes the Next Secretary of Defense

More evidence--as though any were needed--that while Chuck Hagel is leaving the Pentagon, bad governance practices designed and implemented by the Obama White House will remain. And those practices have been around for a while: On a trip to Afghanistan during President Barack Obama's first term, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was stunned to find a …

Inconvenient Former Defense Secretaries

Robert Gates has already spoken out against the Obama administration's policy on combating ISIL, but you would expect those kinds of partisan potshots from a Republican, wouldn't you? I mean, it's not like any Democratic national security grandee would criticize the president's approach, right? Right? Oh: Two defense secretaries who previously served under President Obama are …

Can We Please Have a Reality-Based President?

Barack Obama continues to pretend that there isn't a sand castle's chance in an earthquake that we will need ground troops in Iraq: President Obama doubled down Wednesday on an increasingly questioned pledge: There will be no U.S. ground combat troops back in Iraq. "I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, …

Robert Gates Regards Russia

And unsurprisingly, he has some good advice on how best to counter the aggressive policies of the Putin regime: The only way to counter Mr. Putin's aspirations on Russia's periphery is for the West also to play a strategic long game. That means to take actions that unambiguously demonstrate to Russians that his worldview and goals—and …

The Obama Administration and NSA Reforms

I don't have too much to say about the president's recent speech other than to note that it leaves in place the essentials of the current surveillance program, which the National Security Agency ought to be happy about. Some news is made in the president's announcement that the NSA will no longer be holding bulk metadata, …

Robert Gates Slams the Obama Administration

Five years ago, when former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was seen as making comments that praised Barack Obama and disparaged George W. Bush, port-side bloggers, pundits and outfits cackled and gloated. (Here is just one example.) I presume these same folks are choking and gasping for air after having read this: In a new memoir, …