While President Obama is chatting with the ladies of the View the Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave yet another speech on leadership: this time in front of the crowd of 45 000 Boy Scouts at their Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va (DoD photo by Cherie Cullen).
“There are too many places in American life today without the Boy Scouting values of self-reliance, self-control, honor, integrity and morality,” Gates said. “From Wall Street to Washington to our hometowns, in all our lives there are people who seek after riches or the many kinds of power without regard to what is right or true or decent.”
The Defense Secretary is bashing Wall Street? Good for him! But why?
May be Robert Gates is considering a Presidential run in 2012? He already stated he may retire from DOD leadership position by the end of 2010, although the final decision is not announced yet. This would be a perfect timing to announce a run for Presidency, especially if the Surge in Afghanistan succeeds. Gates presided over the Surge in Iraq. He has Gen. Petreaus back on the field. All he has to do is wrap the Afghanistan war by the beginning of 2011. If he can accomplish that he will be the hero of the nation.
As Big Bureaucracy noted Robert Gates came up recently with another leadership speech about the dishonesty in Washington DC. Remember the commencement address he gave in Germany?
There are a few basic qualities of leadership that hold true no matter what career you pursue. One of those things is integrity – I’m talking about honesty, telling the truth, being straight with others and yourselves. In the movie The Alamo, John Wayne – one of my favorite philosophers – says: “There’s right and there’s wrong. You’ve got to do one or the other. You do the one, and you’re living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re as dead as a beaver hat.”
So Robert Gates proclaimed John Wayne his favorite philosophers. Is it possible he was mocking Anita Dunn and her famous remark about Mao being her favorite philosopher?
At the time when transparency is the official Obama policy – Gates is emphasizing honesty. At the time when President Obama is looking for any excuse to avoid a simple trip to Indonesia – Robert Gates is traveling around the world in hot spots like South Korea with Secretary Hillary Clinton tagging along.
Gates was even dis-invited from a visit to China – this is the ultimate badge of honor. Robert Gates made China throw a tantrum! Yes! It was so refreshing after watching President Obama bowing tour all around the world.
Some wonder if the massive WikiLeaks documents dump could affect a potential Gates run for President. My personal opinion is that it is naïve to believe that 90 000 pages of top-secrets were leaked from DOD without the knowledge of the Department. The leaks will help the US strategy in the war in Afghanistan. How?
Imagine if the US officials keep screaming that the Pakistani government and military are corrupt – the anti-American sentiment will turn such complaints against the US. Instead the Pakistani corruption is leaked through anti-war sources – the world believes those have weight on the issue. So the Coalition forces can proceed with the hardest part of the Surge in Afghanistan, because the whole world can see – the only partner that can give us a diplomatic solution (Pakistan) is corrupt and playing a double game. So the Surge is the only option the US has left to get rid of Al-Qaida.
OK – this is just a conspiracy theory, but Robert Gates made his career in the CIA, so why not?
He has worked for eight US presidents. What is it that makes it possible for Robert Gates to work efficiently with so many administrations that are so different politically? He worked for Carter and Reagan, for W and Obama.
My first guess is: Gates understands that it is a dangerous world out there and the national security should stay above the personal bickering and political ideology.
Robert Gates seems to have the ability to recognize that the official narrative of any administration is not the most important thing – it is just a side effect of the bureaucracy that needs to be dealt with. All that crap that pundits and campaign gurus are spilling 24/7 is a part of the game. Seems like Robert Gates is a good sport and participates in the theater, because this always gave him the chance to be in the real game.
He was the fly on the wall of the most secret meetings in the modern US history. As Bob Gates says in his book “From the Shadows”:
Secrecy is not a bureaucratic matter – it is a tool.