Obama’s Secretary Of Defense: U.S. Political Leaders Doing Bad Job Educating Country About Importance Of Foreign Policy
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

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under former President Barack Obama, said over the weekend that American political leaders need to do a much better job educating the public about the importance of foreign policy issues and how they impact things in the U.S.

Gates made the remarks during a Sunday interview on CBS News’s “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan when asked how he would explain the significance of foreign policy to the American people.

“I think our leaders need to bring these issues home to the American people in a very direct way,” he said. “So for example, using historical examples about how our delaying taking seriously foreign threats, has ultimately resulted in the deaths of thousands and thousands of Americans – young men and women in conflict. The world isn’t going to ignore us just because we think we can ignore the world.”

“So the first thing is to make clear that if we don’t deal with these problems early, they become very dangerous problems and very costly problems for the United States down the road,” he continued.

He said another factor that needed to be emphasized is the interconnected global economy and how a disruption overseas could have a major impact at home.


“I’ve always thought we made a big mistake in not having data available where you could go into a congressional district and say, ‘Do you realize how much of the economy of your county or your town depends on exports or imports around the world because our economy is so integrated?'” he said. “So it’s both aspects of this and in bringing it home to people in ways that are clear and that may help them understand this really does affect them around their kitchen table.”


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