Former Secretary of Defense was famously kept on the cabinet of President Barack Obama after he faithfully served President George W. Bush. His presence in the cabinet was Obama’s way to emulate Abe Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals.”
There was only one problem with all that – they didn’t work well together and the Obama administration didn’t take advice well. Since leaving office, Gates has shed some serious light into the inner workings of the Obama administration.
While appearing on “Special Report” with Bret Baier this week, Gates said that Obama straight up didn’t listen to any of his military advisors when it came to the Arab Spring – the uprisings in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, etc.
“Literally, the entire national security team recommended unanimously handling Mubarak differently than we did. And the president took the advice of three junior backbenchers in terms of how to treat Mubarak. One of them saying, ‘Mr. President, you gotta be on the right side of the history.’ And I would be sitting there at the table, and I’d say, ‘Yeah, if we could just figure that out, we’d be a long way ahead.’”
Here is a clip of the exchange:
Here’s a great breakdown of what the Arab Spring was from About.com:
The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011. But their purpose, relative success and outcome remain hotly disputed in Arab countries, among foreign observers, and between world powers looking to cash in on the changing map of the Middle East.
The term “Arab Spring” was popularized by the Western media in early 2011, when the successful uprising in Tunisia against former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali emboldened similar anti-government protests in most Arab countries.
The term was a reference to the turmoil in Eastern Europe in 1989, when seemingly impregnable Communist regimes began falling down under pressure from mass popular protests in a domino effect. In a short period of time, most countries in the former Communist bloc adopted democratic political systems with a market economy.
But the events in the Middle East went in a less straightforward direction.
Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen entered an uncertain transition period, Syria and Libya were drawn into a civil conflict, while the wealthy monarchies in the Persian Gulf remained largely unshaken by the events. The use of the term the “Arab Spring” has since been criticized for being inaccurate and simplistic.
Do you believe Gates or do you think he is simply trying to sell books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!