Policy: National Security

Robert Gates: Obama told me ‘I’m no peacenik’

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Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering,The Pentagon,Barack Obama,National Security,Terrorism,Analysis,Robert Gates

President Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but, as commander-in-chief, he made sure that his secretary of defense knew where he stood on war.

“I’m no peacenik,” the president said, according to former director of the Central Intelligence Agency Robert Gates. He described the conversation in which Obama made that statement in a recent Popular Mechanics interview.

Gates, who was also secretary of defense under Obama and President George W. Bush, told Popular Mechanics that the continuity of the two administrations on defense helped the country accomplish significant goals in stopping terrorism.

“On issue after issue, including even more aggressively going after Bin Laden and al-Qaida, I found that there was going to be tremendous continuity between the presidents. Including, I would say, for the first year and a half on the defense budget itself,” he said during the interview.

“In fact, when I asked him about going after Bin Laden and al-Qaida, he looked at me and kind of smiled and said ‘I’m no peacenik,’” Gates said.

Like many Americans, Gates exhibits a growing weariness of the government’s inability to deal with difficult problems facing the nation.

“I think the biggest threat to our future sits in Washington, D.C., and not someplace else,” he said. “The rest of the problems of the world wouldn’t worry me if we had a functional government. And if we had a Congress that could begin to address some of the long-term problems that the country has.”

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