Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Robert Gates: Signaling American disengagement from the Persian Gulf?


It may just come to that.

Robert Gates, the Bush Administation's handpicked candidate to succeed Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defence made a number of interesting statements today during his Senate confirmation hearings that could indicate which way the wind is blowing.

Gates was clear that, if confirmed to succeed Donald Rumsfeld, he would be open to all recommendations for a new direction on Iraq, including those to be presented tomorrow by the Iraq Study Group whom Gates used to be a member of, chaired by the Saudis' own man in Washington James Baker.

"All options are on the table," Gates said Bush had told him.

When asked by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) "Do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?" Gates replied simply, "No, sir."

But he also said the coalition was not losing - "at this point."

Cornered later, Gates clarified that his comment about not winning carried no rebuke to American troops. "Our military wins the battles that we fight," Gates said. "Where we're having our challenges, frankly, are in the areas of stabilization and political developments."

Gates said that Bush "understands that there needs to be a change in our approach in Iraq, that what we are doing now is not working satisfactorily."

No kidding.

In another interesting bit, Gates, when asked if Iraq ws the central front in the war on terror said `it's one of the fronts.' Which would seem to indicate that Iraq's importance is being downgraded.

On Iran and Syria, Gates made some startling admissions that seemed to signal a major change in the US approach to Assad and the mullahs. Urging caution and a preference for diplomacy, Gates said armed conflict with Iran could have "quite dramatic" consequences "because as we have seen in Iraq, once war is unleashed in it becomes unpredictable," and that an attack on Syria would "immensely complicate our relations with virtually every country in the region." He said that Iran could respond to a US attack by closing off the Persian Gulf to oil exports and "unleashing a significant wave of terror" in the Middle East, Europe and the United States itself...He went out of his way to say that an attack on Iran was a last resort.

In response to a question about Iran's threat to destroy Israel, Gates said,"If Iran obtains nuclear weapons no one can promise it would not use them against Israel," but that he felt Iran was only developing nukes as a `deterent'.

Translated this statement pretty much confirms to me that the Bush Administration is considering simply living with a nuclear armed Iran, that the Bush administration will renege on its long-held pledge to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, and that Israel is more or less on its own when it comes to dealing with a nuclear Iran.

Unfortunately for Gates and those who think like him, it won't just stop with Israel.

To say on the one hand that a country like Iran is capable of unleashing a `significant wave of terror' in Europe and America and then to imply that you have no problem with a country with those capabilities developing nuclear weapons because they're `just a deterent' is beyond folly.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

He said that Iran could respond to a US attack by closing off the Persian Gulf to oil exports and "unleashing a significant wave of terror" in the Middle East [...]

Notice he mentioned the part about oil first, then the "significant wave of terror" that somehow to Gates has been absent in Iraq. Now we know where his priorities lie, eh?

Iranian meddling in Iraq, Lebanon and "Palestine" has shown just how pervasive and burgeoning their influence is, and the chaos that they have thus sought to unleash is only tempered by the fact that the US is still in Iraq. If we withdraw, they'll just switch to funding cell groups within America and throughout the world, including nuclear armament.

And if what you say is really true, ff, then I fear for Israel. Perhaps Israel would be freed from political constraints if Gates ever advocates American withdrawal from Israel. Perhaps someone - definitely not Olmert - would take the initiative and lob a nuclear missile or two at Iran to deter them. That's how deterrence works in the Middle East, not blank rhetoric.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Harrison,
Gates is part of the pro-Saudi Jim Baker nexus, and does indeed show where things are headed.

Hey , why do you think someone as
pro-Israel as John Bolton resigned?

Bush probably could have re-appointed him to a second recess appointment without pay, as
the law provides if he'd been willing to play the game.

He wasn't.

As for cell groups, read my post on `Hiding behind a wall'. The Iranians ALREADY have Hezbolah cells in place.

The big stupid is that we have a firm ally in the region in Kurdistan, who would LOVE to have our bases there and think of us as liberators. We could redeploy our troops there, double our effective combat strength by using the well trained Kurdish Pesh Merga without sending another soldier over there and maintain a strategic base for the coming war with Iran. And we could have done it a long time ago, from Day One.

That, of course, won't happen. Gates went out of his way to mention how important an `ally' the Islamist Erdogan government of Turkey is..and both James Baker and another `realist' Brent Scowcroft, are long time lobbyists for the Turkish government as well as the Saudis, who don't want a Kurdistan either.

As for Olmert and Livni, they made the stupid mistake of depending on someone else for Israel's security.

Actually, I don't think Iran will nuke Israel, at least not for some time..Israelhas second strike capability. Besides, Iranhas Hezbollah and the Palestinians to continue the war of attrition while keeping their own hands clean and concentrating on Lebanon and their own nuclear/military buildup.

And on working with al Qaeda and Hezbollah to continue to infiltrate the US.

louielouie said...

i wonder if there is an ostrich in the gates family tree.......
this guy gates is truly a knucklehead. he did everything but come out an say that as a nation and country we, the USA, are afraid of iran. that we really don't want to hurt anyone, or anyone to get hurt if we fight them.
i got a dachshound that would make a better secdef than this guy.
i would advocate a carrot and stick approach with iran. the carrot being we don't beat the crap out of them with the stick.

Kenny said...

I beleive the writting is on the wall. The we will bug out of Iraq in short order (12-18 months).