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Flashback: Obama Defense Sec Thought Biden Had 'Issues with the Military'

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As President Joe Biden is scheduled to make his first visit to the Pentagon as commander-in-chief on Wednesday, old concerns regarding his views toward the military are coming to light.

As Fox News reported Tuesday night, a member of the Obama administration who voiced his skepticism that Biden would be able to skillfully handle foreign policy matters was Robert Gates, the former U.S. secretary of defense.

Gates was appointed as secretary of defense by former President George W. Bush in 2006 and was retained by former President Barack Obama until 2011. In chronicling his time as defense secretary, Gates said Biden had been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

“I think I stand by that statement,” Gates told CBS News in a May 2019 interview. “[Biden] and I agreed on some key issues in the Obama administration. We disagreed significantly on Afghanistan and some other issues. I think that the vice president had some issues with the military.”

“So how he would get along with the senior military, and what that relationship would be, I just — I think, it — it would depend on the personalities at the time.”

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But Gates’ criticism of Biden doesn’t end there.

In a 2014 interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Gates said, “The vice president, when he was a senator — a very new senator — voted against the aid package for South Vietnam, and that was part of the deal when we pulled out of South Vietnam to try and help them survive. He said that when the Shah fell in Iran in 1979 that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran.

“He opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense build-up. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on. He voted against the first Gulf War. So on a number of these major issues, I just frankly, over a long period of time, felt that he had been wrong.”

Considering that Biden is now president of the United States, the fact that an official retained by the Obama administration for three years criticized Biden so harshly is alarming.

Do you trust Joe Biden to be strong in foreign policy?

Furthermore, Gates was not some minor official now locked away somewhere — this is someone who has had many conversations and interactions with Biden over the course of many years.

In essence, Gates appears to be echoing the same concerns conservatives had during the election — that Biden, no matter what his personality may be, has serious misconceptions about foreign policy in general, and that these misconceptions could significantly harm American interests both at home and abroad.

Already, we are seeing evidence of Biden’s weakness in action.

On Thursday, Biden issued a statement proclaiming, among other things, “America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.”

But America never left, and President Biden appears intent on continuing the Obama administration’s global apology tour — a move which is presently empowering the Chinese Communist Party.

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According to the Washington Examiner, Biden has “quietly tossed a proposed rule that would have required U.S. universities and K-12 schools with foreign exchange programs to disclose any financial ties or other connections to Chinese state-run Confucius Institutes” — institutes that operate first and foremost as propaganda factories.

I hope, for the sake of the country, that former Secretary Gates is wrong, and that Biden amends his ways to become a strong foreign policy president.

Unfortunately, all the current signs point towards America’s geopolitical decline.

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Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Languages Spoken
English, some Spanish




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