Military Review

Bombing and breaking up is a bad policy. Robert Gates warns USA


Robert Gates upon assuming office of Secretary of Defense, 2006

The book of the former US Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) Robert M. Gates, "Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War Period", dedicated to the successes and failures of American foreign policy, is preparing for release in recent decades. An excerpt from this book is published in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, in which the former minister criticizes the foreign policy methods of the American authorities and also offers alternative solutions.

Leadership problem

R. Gates notes that the United States retains the status of the most powerful economically and militarily power. However, there are objective factors that can lead to the loss of world leadership. Such an outcome threatens both the United States and the whole world. In this regard, it is necessary to take measures to maintain the desired position.

The former minister believes that after the end of the Cold War, serious mistakes appeared in Washington’s foreign policy that impeded the achievement of its goals. The main one is the preference for military methods to solve problems to the detriment of others.

As the experience of recent decades shows, the use of military force instead of diplomacy, as well as improper planning of military operations can lead to the most serious consequences. First of all, to the fact that the tasks set remain unresolved, and new challenges complement them. Problems accumulate, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

Planning errors

R. Gates recalls several well-known recent stories in which the United States faced serious problems and were unable to complete the tasks. Similar examples cover the period from the end of the Cold War to our time.

In 1993, the Bill Clinton administration launched a humanitarian operation in Somalia to combat hunger. Then the operation grew into a peacekeeping operation with the parallel building of state structures. The situation was similar in Iraq - they started there by overthrowing Saddam Hussein, after which they had to seize the territory of the country, build a new state and fight the rebels. Finally, in 2011 in Libya, it all started with the protection of civilians, and then grew into a struggle with the regime of Muammar Gaddafi - and plunged the country into chaos.

The first mistake in these situations, according to R. Gates, was due to improper planning. Before starting such an operation, the command should assess the real threat to US interests, as well as set clear and understandable goals. It is also necessary to determine the necessary forces and means, possible consequences and losses. Only then can a decision be made on the use of the army.

The Pentagon is currently the main foreign policy instrument of the United States

It is noted that the allocated forces and means must meet the objectives. In addition, when changing the objectives of the operation, the selected grouping must also change. It is impossible to save or disperse forces, and the actions of the command should not be impulsive or insufficiently active - this is strategically unreasonable and immoral in relation to their own military.

Libyan example

R. Gates examines in detail the situation around Libya and shows why that operation led to the most terrible results. The reason for this was precisely the wrong planning. The former minister notes two major mistakes - the unjustified expansion of the humanitarian mission to a full-fledged military operation and the inability to establish the life of the country after its hostilities.

Initially, within the framework of NATO, it was planned to protect the population and opposition movements of Libya from government forces. The alliance was able to prevent clashes between the army and the rebels, but a decision was made to destroy the government in Tripoli. After the fall of the regime of M. Gaddafi, US assistance was limited and did not cover a number of key areas. Washington did not help with the construction of new state institutions, with the restoration of the army, etc.

As a result, a coalition of NATO and the Arab countries “bombed Libya and went home.” The civilian population, whose defense justified the invasion, was left without help. All this led to well-known consequences. The country is in ruins, and weapon its former army spread across Africa and the Middle East, which became a problem including and for the USA.

Not only the army

The former minister recalls that during the Cold War, the superpowers opposed militarily indirectly, through third countries - and diplomatic structures played a big role in foreign policy. In the newest stories the role of diplomats has declined, but the situation in the world is changing again and demands that this sphere be revived.

With the exception of a short period under President George W. Bush, Congress has allocated insufficient funds to the State Department for many years. The White House often puts the State Department in the background, which also does not contribute to its normal operation. The Foreign Ministry is rightly criticized for bureaucracy and low efficiency, but without it it is impossible to build and strengthen the foreign policy.

After World War II, a developed economy became an important tool for attracting allies for the United States. However, after the Cold War, everything changed, and Washington decided that the economy was needed not only for cooperation, but also for punishing the unwanted. The policy of sanctions does not contribute to the development of good relations with third countries and is able to alienate potential partners.

The central apparatus of the State Department. Office is invited to reform and use more actively

Until 1999, the US News Agency existed and operated. It created representative offices and libraries, distributed various printed materials and supported radio stations. However, it was closed, and the remaining structures were transferred to the State Department. This was a serious blow to "public diplomacy" and to the promotion of American interests in third countries. The Agency for International Development also fell under reductions. It still exists, but is forced to curtail programs due to reduced funding.

Real offers

R. Gates offers several measures aimed at strengthening and optimizing foreign policy tools and methods while reducing negative consequences. The existing system, created by the National Security Act of 1947, is outdated and needs to be restructured. For example, departments responsible for foreign economic activity do not participate in it, but can be involved if necessary.

Military power remains an important component of the country's foreign policy capabilities. At the same time, it should be developed, incl. due to proper use and proper planning of operations. Together with the army, diplomacy and economics must be the most important tools. The State Department is proposed to make the main non-military means for interaction with other countries.

R. Gates notes excessive bureaucracy and undue attention to developed countries to the detriment of interaction with developing countries. A restructuring of this structure is necessary, as well as a change in the internal culture of the department. In the structure of the State Department it is necessary to revive a full-fledged Information Agency, dissolved in the past.

Maintain leadership

According to R. Gates, in order to maintain world leadership, all available methods and means are necessary - military, diplomatic and others. The army should retain its role, but it should be applied sparingly and for appropriate reasons. Non-military forces will undertake all other work in peacetime. All these funds need to be developed equally.

As the former minister notes, most Americans want to see not only the economic and military successes of their country. Another important desire is for everyone else to see the United States as a leading country and a freedom fighter. In the foreseeable future, a new multilateral confrontation is planned, and new methods are needed to obtain such results.

Thus, Robert Gates suggests restructuring foreign policy systems and processes, making them as flexible and able to respond to any challenges. But the current US administration is of a different opinion. She maintains the current state of affairs and prefers to solve problems as quickly and roughly as possible. However, sanctions and threats of the use of force do not always help both in solving urgent problems and in the long term. Whether listening to the opinion of Robert Gates is a big question. The same applies to maintaining global leadership in the future.
Photos used:
US Department of Defense, Wikimedia Commons
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  1. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 5 June 2020 04: 48
    In addition, when changing the objectives of the operation, the selected grouping must also change. It is impossible to save or disperse forces, and the actions of the command should not be impulsive or insufficiently active - this is strategically unreasonable and immoral in relation to their own military.
    Clear. More energetic, more powerful .... Dove of peace.
    1. Shurik70
      Shurik70 6 June 2020 00: 08
      a mistake in these situations, according to R. Gates, was connected ...

      If the goal was to create chaos and flood Europe with refugees, then no mistakes.
      Well-planned and completed operations
      1. Starover_Z
        Starover_Z 8 June 2020 13: 17
        Quote: Shurik70
        If the goal was to create chaos and flood Europe with refugees, then no mistakes.

        I think that's not the goal. Chaos, yes, but its consequences are more important for the United States - to "drop" the economy of a united Europe, to lower the euro rate, to force prosperous countries to "get into" the IMF's debt bags.
  2. Hypatius
    Hypatius 5 June 2020 06: 09
    The former realized the truth that the country's strength is based on the trinity: the Armed Forces, economics and diplomacy.
  3. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 5 June 2020 06: 33
    Together with the army, diplomacy and economics must be the most important tools.
    Americans have always had problems with diplomacy, because they believed why to breed polites since there is military force and the cunning CIA. And they learned to press economically by scattering sanctions in all directions, which even falls to the Allies. But these sanctions packages have no effect on changing their policies in some countries. So, the former did not offer anything new, but at least criticized his politicians, military and diplomats a little.
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 5 June 2020 06: 59
    However, there are objective factors that can lead to the loss of world leadership. Such an outcome threatens both the United States and the whole world.

    They sho when leaving, will they "slam the door loudly"? It will become of them. those cheko / Z \ lischa ... and we, who else, take the cabbage, HA, HA tongue
    1. Bad thing
      Bad thing 5 June 2020 07: 12
      And did you manage to gain a lot after them?
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 5 June 2020 07: 28
        Yes, after them, only the stubs remain ... and the young one has not yet grown! the process is not fast, after such an infection of the hoofed ....
        And you didn’t know that such goats \ ly whole territories \ islands gobble up completely?
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 5 June 2020 07: 51
    As the saying goes, clever thinking comes after ... And, interestingly, this applies to all former American politicians. How do they resign, they begin to write a memoir and say, oh, nothing we did, it was different ...
  6. The comment was deleted.
  7. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 5 June 2020 10: 25
    I can’t imagine for the USA any real solutions to the situations this uncle writes about. Everything is simple. Americans know how to bomb and destroy with remote weapons. They know how to do this, and are able (so far) to implement. But with the second problem, there’s just a double ambush!
    Firstly, the Americans have not learned, for the entire time of their country's existence, what diplomacy is at all. But it would also be nothing, but there are also secondly! And here is just a double blow. They do not represent at all how to establish life in any country. And at the same time, they are indestructibly sure that they know!
    Moreover, this "knowledge of how to live" is the cornerstone of both their ideology and their psychology.
    That is, every American is absolutely sure that everyone should "learn the American experience", that is, build their country in the form of a "mini USA", and then everyone will prosper. Since this is completely untrue, in principle it cannot lead to success. And the United States has found, as it seems to them, the perfect solution in a bad situation.
    They "kill tyranny." Then they yell WOW, as the evil tyrant has been destroyed by them! All the generous USA brilliantly fulfilled their "mission"! Now all the bad things that happen on the territory of all sorts of Libyans are completely the fault ... of the pubs ... of the population of these countries. The good USA "liberated" them. And the bad citizens do not want to build a miniUSA! Here they are, all sorts of Iraqis, Libyans and other non-human beings are to blame for blood, hunger, death and chaos! Somewhere I have already seen this approach of the leadership to the population. Rather, I see it every day.
    In order to achieve not only military victories, but successes, the Americans need to completely change the concept. But first of all. And secondly, admitting that they are wrong is tantamount to refusing self-identification. And then you will have to admit countless thousands of victims, rivers of blood and destroyed countries with your guilt! It is simply impossible ...
  8. Evgenijus
    Evgenijus 5 June 2020 10: 30
    About Libya and other countries, this retirement speaks of as colonies of great America. According to his thoughts, everything in the world belongs to the Americans, although there really is no such nation or nationality. There are really descendants of criminals who escaped from Europe to the Middle Ages. Every nation has its own culture. But is there any culture in America among the masses of the people who inhabit it? If there is no common culture or culture of the main population, then there is no nation. Gathered on the moon, to colonize a celestial body ...
  9. vladimirvn
    vladimirvn 5 June 2020 10: 32
    When conducting foreign policy, our leadership should also wave less with a military baton, and more rely on diplomacy, including popular and economic measures. Relying abroad not only on the elite, but also on popular movements. To increase the welfare of their people so that they can travel abroad, see how people live there and show themselves. And then only oligarchs, brothers and their friends in leopard leggings have the opportunity to go there. Hence our authority there is such.
    1. shinobi
      shinobi 9 June 2020 13: 10
      In order to conduct diplomacy, diplomats must have an evil uncle behind them with a set of all sorts of "power arguments."
  10. andrew42
    andrew42 5 June 2020 21: 35
    I am sure that Mr. R. Gates knows perfectly well whose interests are served by the US Army. - Interests of the liquidocratic global elite with a metropolis in the United States and an old reserve site in Britain. The former also knows that American military power is primarily a macroeconomic instrument that works on the principle of "money - war - money is a stroke": suppression of the economy of competitors, clearing territories to plunder resources, replacing national elites in these territories with "their sons of bitches" ( this is a well-known common quote). But what a noble mine with such a game! - The USA wants better, we have to work to make everything work out! The conclusion is appropriate: to strengthen, deepen, and provide "America's great egen". "Pure, gentle revelations" for the naive American sitizens, and the "fifth columns" in the plundered territories - nothing more.
  11. Gato
    Gato 6 June 2020 18: 40
    Hmm ... "Shining Hail on the Hill" actually turned out to be a pile of fluorescent dung wassat
    1. shinobi
      shinobi 9 June 2020 13: 11
      Baaalshoy such a bunch! yes
  12. shinobi
    shinobi 9 June 2020 13: 07
    From the point of view of the concept of the "golden billion" of Bzezhinsky, everything is extremely clear and correct. But the old sinister measured everything with the yardstick of the middle of the last century and completely did not take into account the development of transport systems. It will not be possible to hide behind a big puddle, and before the golden billion becomes a billion, chaos will boomerang to the entertainers themselves in the U.S. With planning, the Yankees have always had a complete ATAS.
  13. NordUral
    NordUral 10 June 2020 22: 00
    Everything they did, they wanted to gouge and gouged.
  14. gsev
    gsev 11 June 2020 16: 04
    In October 1992, Robert Gates, under the sights of television cameras, marched along the Red Square in Moscow. As he stated, it was a solo parade in honor of the victory of the CIA and the USA over the USSR in the Cold War. In the West, this parade is better known and more often broadcast than any other parade on Red Square.