Can This Guy Save the Pentagon?

Instapundit put up notice Gates was replacing Rumsfeld; I walked into class and, as an opening pleasantry, noted that fact. Everyone looked at me blankly. I explained it again – in these lit classes a good half are co-enrolled at the big school. I hadn’t needed to worry they’d try to figure out my position or want to talk politics. The only response was from a guy in the back: Why couldn’t they have taken Coach Fran to Washington instead? (The whole town appears down on him after last Saturday’s game.)

Anyway, suspecting that Chicagoboyz readers have a more mature set of priorities, I am offering a hot-off-the-presses link already woefully out of date. The November Texas Monthlys are hitting the stands with this cover story: “Can This Guy Save the Aggies? Robert Gates to the Rescue.” For those of you not from Aggieland, Paul Burka explains the man and his mission – well his mission until/if he’s confirmed.

Burka, their chief political writer, introduces the article with what now seems remarkable overstatement – after you’ve described Aggieland, what’s left to describe Iraq? But, then, the new chief’s previous tasks were’t small potatoes either.

Robert Gates helped win the cold war as director of the CIA, but that assignment was a walk in the park compared with his current one: bringing Texas A&M university’s unique but not always admired culture into the modern era and remaking the way the world views Aggieland—and the way Aggieland views the world.

Update: For those more serious, Mudville Gazette comments on potentially distracting hearings. He also links to Iran: Time for a New Approach from the committee Gates co-chaired with Zbigeniew Brzezinski for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2004. (Thanks Instapundit.)

Further Update: Gates is a good deal more colorless than Rumsfeld, a good deal more opaque. Some discussion is clearly projection, but which time will tell. Here’s Kaplan, who sees Gates as Clark Clifford. (I think we have surrendered to analogies with Viet Nam – that appears to be the only way people can intellectually deal with Iraq.)

Of course, the last to surrender is likely to be the always tough, Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson has read the Iran report and is not happy. He warns: “And we should remember a few things about the return of “realism” which is really just an academic veneer to the old isolationism.”

Post-Thanksgiving Addendum: Barone on Gates’ book & his sense of continuity.

5 thoughts on “Can This Guy Save the Pentagon?”

  1. This is very bad. Gates is a crony of Jim Baker. Baker is one of the gang who #$%&ed up Iraq by not taking Saddam down in 1991 and who betrayed the Shia. I am very upset by this move.

  2. I have the willies over the Baker/Gates thing. Oh, and Alcee Hastings!

    It’s going to take a while to digest all of the new information.

  3. Henniger voices the worries of Jonathan & Robert Schwatz:

    The opinion of the American people matters, and this week’s election reflected fatigue with Iraq. We may be seeking a “way out,” but if the Iraq Survey Group proposes a solution with the merest whiff of selling out Iraq’s popularly elected Shiites, expect crudely realistic leaders in Russia, China, Nigeria, Venezuela, Bolivia, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to conclude they too can downgrade, or obliterate, their own U.S.-oriented democratic groups. Then we can roll back the real end to notions of democratic possibility to the end of World War II. And with Democratic Party assent.
    George Bush’s foreign policy is at a tipping point. The administration’s thinking on Iran and North Korea looks stalemated. He has taken to talking about the need for “fresh eyes” on Iraq. Looking back over the roster of the Iraq Survey Group, I’d say the eyes focused on his foreign-policy legacy, all essentially retired from public life, are anything but fresh. In response to Tuesday’s election, House Republicans are about to usher in a younger generation of political thinkers. If he really wants to refresh his presidency, Mr. Bush should start looking in the same direction.

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