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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Robert Gates on US action in Iran, Afghanistan and China

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Robert Gates:

I think he’s doing really well.

I think there’s a lot of continuity on several of the really big problems. On China, on Russia, North Korea, I think there’s a lot of continuity with the previous administration, in fact, and I think that the tough line that he has taken has been the appropriate one.

And on North Korea, they have basically said they’re going to try and thread the needle between the strategic patience of President Obama and the maximum pressure of President Trump.

I think, as I write in the book, we have tried — we have been down this road before under four presidents, and it hasn’t yielded much progress. But there’s a lot of continuity there. I think the only area that concerns me is the effort to renew the nuclear agreement with Iran.

I think, first of all, the agreement is half over in terms of its duration. It was supposed to be for 10 years or so. And I was heartened initially by the administration’s references to strengthening and lengthening that agreement. I think our objective ought to be for Iran never to have a nuclear weapon, not just time-limited.

And I think we also need better monitoring or verification of their adherence to the agreement. And, finally, I think we need to do something about their ballistic missile capability. So, just picking up the old agreement where we left off, I think, is probably insufficient.

But in the other areas of — important areas of foreign policy, I think that they’re on a good path.

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