FLASHBACK: One of Obama’s chief advisers, Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-chaired a CFR report with Robert Gates shortly before Gates was appointed Defense Secretary entitled “Iran: Time for a New Approach.” [PDF]
In defiance of traditional party labels, Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, may ask the defence secretary of President George W Bush to stay on if he wins the White House.
Obama’s top foreign policy and national security advisers are pressing the case for keeping Robert Gates at the Pentagon after he won widespread praise for his performance. The move would be in keeping with Obama’s desire to appoint a cabinet of all the talents.
After appealing for unity with former rival Hillary Clinton and her supporters and big donors last week, Obama, 46, is turning his attention to wooing Republicans and independent voters who may be concerned that he lacks the experience to be trusted with America’s defence.Richard Danzig, an adviser to Obama on national security and a former navy secretary, said: “My personal position is Gates is a very good secretary of defence and would be an even better one in an Obama administration.”
The appointment would cause a furore among Democratic party activists but would have the advantage of providing continuity at a time when Iraq appears to be stabilising and demanding more independence from America.
Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution in Washington, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, said: “Robert Gates is one of the best defence secretaries we have had in a long time and it makes a lot of sense to keep him.”