US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Verges on Being a "Useful Idiot"

  Previous  |  Next  

Saturday June 04, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

What is it about the US Military that so many of them seem to be totally ignorant of US commitments and policies as well as of the history and nature of China. Last week it was Admiral Mullen, now the latest faux pas came from no other than their leader, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Gates claimed knowledge of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)but then he implied that the new US policy would be to make the US commitments subject to the "sensitivities of China."

Say what? Since when has US policy been determined and influenced by the "sensitivities" of any outside country. During the Cold War did anyone ever worry about the "sensitivities" of the USSR? Even in our dealings with the European Union has anyone suggested that we be concerned about the "sensitivities" of the French or Germans? What is it about China that buffaloes so many military and state officials feel it deserves different treatment? Are there some basic history or policy courses that they are missing?

In the recent case, Gates implied that the sale of F-16s to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) would be subject to the People's Republic of China's sensitivities. Admiral Mullen made his China mistake as he got set to retire and Gates will also be retiring shortly, that at least is a hopeful sign. Let's hope that the replacements for both are a little more knowledgeable.

The term "useful idiots" had been introduced in the past to fit those academics who instead of being objective in their analysis of history etc. instead tried to argue China's case for China before the world. It seems now that the term needs to be applied to US military and state officials as well.