Gates: Putin once told me Iran was Russia’s biggest threat

An otherwise mind-numbing cable recounting a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Herve Morin, his French counterpart — which my colleague Josh Rogin wrote about last week — contains this nugget: Recalling that Russian Prime Minister Putin once told him Iran was Russia’s greatest threat, SecDef noted that Russia could plug into the ...

An otherwise mind-numbing cable recounting a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Herve Morin, his French counterpart -- which my colleague Josh Rogin wrote about last week -- contains this nugget:

Recalling that Russian Prime Minister Putin once told him Iran was Russia's greatest threat, SecDef noted that Russia could plug into the new [missile-defense] system.

There's also this bit, which echoes what Gates has said in public:

An otherwise mind-numbing cable recounting a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Herve Morin, his French counterpart — which my colleague Josh Rogin wrote about last week — contains this nugget:

Recalling that Russian Prime Minister Putin once told him Iran was Russia’s greatest threat, SecDef noted that Russia could plug into the new [missile-defense] system.

There’s also this bit, which echoes what Gates has said in public:

Morin asked SecDef [Gates] if he believed Israel had the capability to strike Iran without U.S. support. SecDef responded that he didn’t know if they would be successful, but that Israel could carry out the operation. SecDef told Morin that he believed a conventional strike by any nation would only delay Iranian plans by one to three years, while unifying the Iranian people to be forever embittered against the attacker.

More from Foreign Policy

Two unidentified military vessels off Taiwan
Two unidentified military vessels off Taiwan

Beijing’s Taiwan Aggression Has Backfired in Tokyo

Military exercises have stiffened Japanese resolve.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

How to Take Down a Tyrant

Three steps for exerting maximum economic pressure on Putin.

A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.
A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.

Why Doesn’t China Invade Taiwan?

Despite Beijing’s rhetoric, a full-scale invasion remains a risky endeavor—and officials think the island can be coerced into reunification.

Crosses, flowers, and photographs mark the graves of victims of the battles for Irpin and Bucha at the cemetery of Irpin, Ukraine, on May 16.
Crosses, flowers, and photographs mark the graves of victims of the battles for Irpin and Bucha at the cemetery of Irpin, Ukraine, on May 16.

Russia’s Brutal Honesty Has Destroyed the West’s Appeasers

Yet plenty of Western intellectuals and politicians still ignore what Moscow is saying loud and clear.