- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
Bob Gates also reveals in his book that he thinks that President Clinton’s failures in foreign policy have been insufficiently recognized. "I believed the relationship with Russia had been badly mismanaged after Bush 41 left office in 1993…. When Russia was weak in the 1990s and beyond, we did not take Russian interests seriously."
(Not that he is a Putin-hugger. At one point in a meeting with Russian officials, he passed a note to Condi Rice, then secretary of state: "I’d forgotten how much I really don’t like these guys.")
That said, the other day I had lunch with an old friend who is a Russian specialist. He countered that Russia was weak well before the 1990s, but that there were a lot of people who didn’t see that. He implied that Gates was one of them.
Also, in arguing against a "counterterrorism" strategy in Afghanistan that Biden was advocating, Gates takes another pop at the Clinton administration, quoting from a memo he wrote to President Obama that, "We tried remote-control counterterrorism in the 1990s, and it brought us 9/11."
That said, Hillary Clinton is one top official who is depicted in Gates’s book as solid and reliable.
Speaking of Russia, its ally Ukraine is acting Putin-like creepy, sending out messages to the cell phones of demonstrators that, "Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance." That "dear" is a nice touch!
Meantime, here is me yakking on NPR yesterday about the Gates book.
(Yep, not stopping here.)
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |