Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Huffington Post: Gates warns of militarization of US foreign policy

I saw this today in the Washington Post, but the Huffington Post carried the version below. You know, just a thought, and not even an original one (can't remember where I read it), but the next president, regardless of party affiliation, should consider keeping Secretary Gates. He is certainly an ally of the State Department.

Gates warns of militarization of US foreign policy

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military's growing role in rebuilding war-battered nations has fueled concerns about a "creeping militarization" of American foreign policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

As the conflict in Afghanistan shows, coordinating war-fighting with diplomacy, job creation and road-building often doesn't work well, the Pentagon chief said in remarks prepared for delivery at an international policy dinner.

"Getting all these different elements to coordinate operations and share best practices has been a colossal _ and so far an all too often unsuccessful _ undertaking," said Gates.

He added that the increased involvement of the military in jobs that historically were done by civilian agencies has led to concerns of "a creeping militarization of some aspects of America's foreign policy."


Gates has repeatedly said that the State Department and some non-governmental organizations have been underfunded and understaffed for too long. And he has warned that military might alone cannot win wars.

Instead, he has called for more support for so-called soft power, with civilians contributing more in nonmilitary areas such as communication, economic assistance and political development.


Gates on Tuesday was introduced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice _ a choice that reflected their generally strong working relationship and his vocal support for giving her more resources.

"We cannot kill or capture our way to victory," Gates said, adding that military operations should support measures that promote economic and political growth. That effort, he said, must be coordinated with the U.N., NATO, other nations and agencies such as United States Agency for International Development.

"The Foreign Service is not the Foreign Legion, and the U.S. military should never be mistaken for a Peace Corps with guns," said Gates.


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