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Obama’s Defense Secretary: Biden Has ‘Gotten A Lot Wrong,’ ‘Trump Got It Right’ On China

   DailyWire.com
Robert Gates, former U.S. secretary of defense, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. The conference brings together leaders in business, government, technology, philanthropy, academia, and the media to discuss actionable and collaborative solutions to some of the most important questions of our time.
Dania Maxwell / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Robert Gates, former President Barack Obama’s secretary of defense, slammed President Joe Biden during an interview that aired on Sunday, and praised former President Donald Trump when it came to foreign policy.

Gates made the remarks during an interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” with co-host Anderson Cooper, saying Biden has “gotten a lot wrong.”

“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.”

Gates listed a couple of areas on which he and Biden saw eye to eye before saying that Biden made a mistake in Afghanistan.

When asked what would happen if China moved in on Taiwan, Gates said that the U.S. needed to focus on deterrence and strengthening Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.

“I think this is a place where President Trump got it right,” Gates said. “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. 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?”

WATCH:

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA ’60 MINUTES’:

ANDERSON COOPER: You wrote, Joe Biden “is a man of integrity. Still, I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

ROBERT GATES: I think he’s gotten a lot wrong.

COOPER: You’re talking all through the years–

GATES: Yeah–

COOPER: –as vice president and as senator–

GATES: He opposed every one of Ronald Reagan’s military programs to contest the Soviet Union. 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. But he and I did agree in our opposition to the intervention in Libya, and frankly on issues relating to Russia and China.

COOPER: But you think he made a mistake in Afghanistan in the way–

GATES: Yes–

COOPER: –he handled the withdrawal.

GATES: Yes.

COOPER: Do you think he believes he made a mistake?

GATES: I– (LAUGH) 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.”

COOPER: Really? (LAUGH) Is that really true?

GATES: No, never. They just don’t do it. You know, deep in their heart they may know it. But they will–

COOPER: Really?

GATES: –never say it.

COOPER: Do you think it would be better if they did?

GATES: I– yes. I think it would make them more credible.

COOPER: What’s happened in Afghanistan has been devastating for President Biden. Domestically, can Biden recover?

GATES: Oh, I think so. I think that the submarine deal between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, I think is a great strategic move. It sends a powerful message all around the world.

COOPER: To China?

GATES: All around the world, including to China, that the United States still has a lot of arrows in the quiver. And that we will remain a force to be reckoned with in the western Pacific.

COOPER (voice over): That deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines comes as China is increasingly threatening Taiwan.

COOPER: If China moves on Taiwan, is that a field that the U.S. would fight on?

GATES: 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.

COOPER (voice over): Internationally, Gates sees China as the pre-eminent military and economic threat to the United States.

GATES: I think this is a place where President Trump got it right. 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. 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?

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