An Obama-era secretary of defense commended Donald Trump’s foreign policies on Oct. 17.
Robert Gates could not speak more highly of the previous president’s approach to handling the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He was particularly impressed by Trump’s positive role in boosting U.S. military presence in Asia and helping democratic Taiwan “defend itself” from CCP military aggression.
“I think this is a place where President Trump got it right,” he said according to CBS News. “He basically awakened Americans and I would say especially the business community to a China that the … assumption for 40 years was that a richer China would be a freer China–and that is clearly not going to happen.”
The 78 year-old is very concerned about the CCP operating about 36 major ports across the world.
“They are the biggest trading partner of more than half of South America, they are everywhere,” he said according to the broadcaster. “What are we doing in these non-military arenas to compete with the Chinese?”
He then criticized Joe Biden’s “very wrong” approach to foreign relations, especially the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops and Afghan allies from Kabul.
“He opposed every one of Ronald Reagan’s military programs to contest the Soviet Union; he opposed the first Gulf War–that list goes on,” he said. “In the Obama administration, he and I obviously had significant differences over Afghanistan.”
Gates spent nearly three decades at the CIA and National Security Council before heading the Pentagon under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He believes military conflict should be a “last resort”
“No matter why and how it starts, no one can predict what will happen,” he said.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby previously said Beijing’s relentless military activities in Taiwan’s air defense zone are meant to “intimidate and pressure” the island. Such behavior is “destabilizing.”
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid, and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the strait and within the region,” he said at the time.
Meanwhile, Trump-era deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger recently expressed concern about Taiwan’s defense policy.
“Taiwan badly neglected its national defense for the first 15 years or so of this century, buying too much expensive equipment that will get destroyed in the first hours of a conflict, and too little in the way of cheaper but lethal systems—antiship missiles, smart sea mines and well-trained reserve and auxiliary forces—that could seriously complicate Beijing’s war plans,” he said.
The CCP insists on seizing Taiwan by force, if necessary, to expand its totalitarian communist rule to the island.